Encouragement for the Body of Christ

Colossians 1:1-6 ESV

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.”

This is a word of encouragement to the faithful in Christ, to those set apart from the world who are unlike the world in thought and deed because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. We are being made to be like Jesus in character and in deed. But this is a process of a lifetime which will not be completed until Jesus returns for us, his bride, and he takes us to be with him for eternity, which is when our salvation will be complete.

If this is where you are, and if this is what describes you, then this encouragement is for you. But note with me here that the English word “love” can mean so many things, so this is not talking about human love, which is based largely in our feelings, but this love comes from God who is love, so it is based in who he is and in his divine character and will for us, as humans. And he is holy, righteous, pure, honest, and faithful in all he does.

So, when we love others with this kind of love, we consider what is best for them, as God defines best. And if we are loving other followers of Jesus, we will love them as God loves us with a pure love which is centered in the will of God for our lives. So, we will do for them according to the word of God. We will encourage, exhort, counsel, and instruct them in the ways of the Lord as well as we will look to meeting their physical and emotional needs.

And our love for them will be based, too, in our hope laid up for us in heaven, and so we are going to make certain, as much as possible, that those who profess faith in Jesus Christ are of genuine faith in Jesus Christ and that they understand what the Scriptures teach about what constitutes genuine faith in Christ. For if they are believing in a false faith, then they don’t have the hope of eternal life with God, and this is of grave concern.

So, we will share with them that Jesus died on that cross so that we might be crucified with him in death to sin and raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, no longer as slaves to sin, but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness. And we will let them know that the Scriptures teach that we must now walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands (New Covenant) and that daily we are to be putting sin to death in our lives, by the Spirit.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23]

Colossians 1:9-11 ESV

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy..”

How many people in America who profess faith in Jesus Christ do you imagine literally do this? I mean, I see where Christians will pray for one another if someone is sick or if someone is injured or if a family member is ill or has just passed away or for safety for someone traveling, etc., but I see little spiritual interaction among those professing faith in Jesus Christ, at least not in person or even on social media where I know the people.

But the Scriptures teach that we are to encourage and to exhort one another daily so that we will not be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness, and that we are to speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for our spiritual edification, and that we are to speak the truth in love, one to the other, so that we are not led astray by the deceitfulness of men in their cunning and craftiness and so that we grow in Christ to spiritual maturity.

[Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-21; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13]

But how many Christians in America are actually doing this or are being encouraged to do this? I hear so much coming from the institutional church that teaches that we are to “stay in your own lane,” and that we are not to talk with people about sin, repentance, and obedience to the Lord, for that offends people, and we don’t want to offend people. Or they say we should not judge others so we shouldn’t talk with one another about such things.

But this is what we need! This is what the body of Christ was designed for, that we might encourage and help strengthen one another in our walks of faith and that we might exhort with a holy urging our brothers and sisters in Christ to walk in purity of devotion to the Lord Jesus. We need this encouragement so that we do not go astray and so that we do not fall back into sin, not that lack of it would ever be an excuse for continuing in sin.

But this is why we have the body of Christ, and it is why we have been given spiritual gifts of the Spirit of God to be used for the building up of the body of Christ to maturity in Christ, as each one does his part, for we are all necessary to the proper working of the body of Christ. So, we need to not listen to the lies which tell us to stay in our own lane and to mind our own business and to not be judgmental, and we need to start loving like Jesus.

For, contrary to what many preachers are preaching today, we are to find out what pleases our Lord and we are to live to please him in all that we do. We are to walk (in conduct) in a manner worthy (fitting) of the Lord and of our profession of faith in him, according to the truth of the gospel of our salvation. And we are to bear spiritual fruit in EVERY GOOD WORK and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened by his power.

Colossians 1:12-14 ESV

“..giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 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.”

Yes, it is God who qualifies us to share in the inheritance of the saints. We cannot do anything in our own flesh or willpower to be acceptable and approved by God. But this does not mean that we do not have a part we must do. For God has assigned us a responsibility in this, too, but which comes from him and is empowered by him, but we must still yield control over to him, and we must still follow him in his ways and in his truth.

For we can’t be delivered from the domain (control, power) of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of his beloved Son without our cooperation. We must humble ourselves before the Lord, and we must choose to say “Yes” to his plan and purpose for our lives, and we must choose to cooperate with his work in our lives in changing us and in making us to be more like Jesus. For his purpose is that we no longer live as slaves of sin but as slaves of God.

For, if we think all this is automatic and that nothing is required of us at all, then we need to start reading the Scriptures in context, one book and one chapter at a time in the New Testament where we are taught the gospel and the Christian walk. For the Scriptures teach that we are all going to reap what we sow and that if we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. So, please know the truth that will set you free.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Songs in the Night

An Original Work / December 18, 2013

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84

Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.

I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!

Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.

I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!

Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.

Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!

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