THE GREAT BELIEFS OF THE TRUE CHRISTIAN
Today's lesson aim is to encourage you to firmly root your life in the great beliefs of Christianity. We live in a world where many Christians lack an understanding of the great doctrines of the Bible. I hope this lesson will encourage you along a life long pursuit of learning what the Bible says.
You've heard the expression that a picture is worth a thousand words. That may be true in many instances, but in the Bible, a few words are worth a thousand pictures! No one could ever pack so much in so little space as the Word of God. This is one of the proofs of the inspiration of Scripture. These two single verses which begin the Book of Colossians are a prime example. In just a few words, the great beliefs of a true believer are covered.
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
1. Life has one basic profession: the will of God - vs. 1.
Paul stressed the fact that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. Paul did not dare choose his life's work without the direction of God; for he knew he could make a mistake, and he did not want to waste his life. He did not want to come to the end of his life and be counted a failure because he had missed God's will. To Paul, there was only one work for him: the ministry God wanted him to do. The profession he wanted did not matter; only God's will for his life mattered. Are you aware of God's will for your life? Are you taking steps to insure you are obeying God's will?
2. Life has some essential relationships: one is that of brotherhood - vs. 1.
All of life's relationships are important and have their place in the welfare of society, but Paul mentions a relationship that is essential: that of brotherhood. A person does not walk as a solitary figure upon this earth. He walks among people, people just like himself. Thus, a person who walks alone does not understand that brotherly relationships are essential in life. Paul knew this: wherever he went, he initiated and nourished relationships. Here he calls Timothy brother and the Colossian brothers. One of the most valuable qualities in all the world is knowing how to properly relate to others.
3. Life has two levels of spiritual maturity: a carnal person or a faithful believer - vs. 2.
There are two possibilities which exist among believers. It is possible that a believer is living his life in a carnal fashion, while there are others living their lives as faithful believers who are spiritual (See 1 Corinthians 3:1). Every church congregation has believers who are carnal and those who are spiritual.
Carnal Christians are those who in the past had set their lives apart to follow the Lord, but are now living under the dominance of the flesh. The word "carnal" in 1 Corinthians 3:1 refers to that which is fleshly. This believing person is one who has allowed the flesh to have a ruling influence in his life. It is shamefully possible for a believer to not follow the Lord as he should.
There are, however, those who are faithful brethren in the church. This verse refers to those who had set their lives apart to Christ (saints) and who had continued on. They were loyal and steadfast in their allegiance, and they held firm against the attacks of worldliness and false teaching. They were not shaken by the temptations of the devil nor by the urges of the flesh. They were faithful against all foes. Are you a carnal Christian, or a faithful saint?
4. Life has two dimensions of being: physical and spiritual - vs. 2.
Notice that believers are said to be both in Christ and at Colossee. Every believer is a citizen of the city or place where he happens to live on earth, but he is also a citizen of the kingdom of Christ, that is of heaven. William Barclay gives an excellent description of this point:
"[Paul] writes to the Christians who are in Colosse and who are in Christ. A Christian always moves in two spheres. He is in the town, the place, the society where he happens to stay in this world; but he is also in Christ. The Christian lives in two dimensions. He lives in this world, and he does not take the duties and relationships of this world lightly; he fulfills his every obligation to the world in which he lives. But above and beyond that he lives in Christ. In this world he may move from place to place, so that now he is in one place and now in another; but wherever he is, he is in Christ. That is why outward circumstances will make very little difference to the Christian; his happiness and his peace and his joy are not dependent on them; these things can change, but the fact that he is in Christ can never change. That is why the Christian will do any job and any task with all his heart. It may be menial; it may be unpleasant; it may be painful; it may be far less distinguished than he might expect to have; its rewards may be small, and its praise may be non-existent; nevertheless the Christian does it diligently, uncomplainingly and cheerfully, for he is in Christ and does all things as to the Lord. We are all in our own Colosse, wherever that Colosse may be, but we are all in Christ, and it is Christ who sets the tone of our life and our living." The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians "Daily Bible Study" page 125
5. Life has two basic spiritual needs: grace and peace - vs. 2.
A person may wish a man wealth, pleasure, fame, or even health. But there is really only one necessary blessing, the blessing of God's grace and peace. If a person possesses God's grace and peace, he possesses all the inner strength and confidence that are needed to overcome and to walk joyfully in the world, regardless of circumstances.
Grace is the undeserved favor and blessings of God. The word "undeserved" is the key to understanding grace. Man does not deserve God's favor; he cannot earn God's approval and blessings. God is too high and man is too low to deserve anything from God.
Peace means to be bound and joined together with God and with others. It means to be confident and secure in the love and care God gives to us.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. What are some professions where you can honor God and God can use you?
2. What are some professions which dishonor God?
3. Are you in the profession God has chosen for you? Or are you trying to work God into the profession you have chosen for yourself?
4. Do you initiate and nourish relationships or do you avoid involvement to protect your time and privacy?
5. In which category do you fall - a faithful saint or a carnal believer? What kinds of things can you do in order to mature in your spiritual growth and relationship with the Lord?
6. Why is it important for you to live in Christ as well as in your community?
7. Do you ever miss out on the peace offered by Christ when you take matters into your own hands? Think of a recent example.
8. How would you explain the grace of God to a non-believer? What important things need to be considered so they can understand what you share?
Have a great day walking in the will of God!!!
Your Friend and HIS,