Friday, July 14, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Jude- Introduction and Chapter 1


Introduction and Chapter 1



-Introduction: Jude, the half-brother of Jesus Christ, writes a short polemic on the necessity to protect, guard, and contend for the faith in the Savior against certain persons who have crept in unnoticed into the group of believers. They are ungodly persons who turn the grace of God into “licentiousness (aselgeia- unbridled lust, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence)” and deny the only Master and Lord (Jude 1:4). He uses several Old Testament examples of situations where the Lord’s judgment came upon people with these two characteristics and expounds upon the wayward people’s character. By the end, he is exhorting Christians to fulfill their duty to fight for God’s truth in a corrupt-wicked world that causes divisions and is devoid of the Holy Spirit. Jude is written in about 65 A.D. and is giving perspective on the first century Church that has been threatened by heresy and false teaching. The key verse is verse three in this one-chapter book. “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Determine to be a good and faithful soldier in and for Christ as we study this impactful portion of Scripture.



-Chapter 1: Jude was the brother of James, and the half-brother of Jesus Christ. It is interesting to note that he calls himself a servant (doulos, bond-servant, slave) of his Lord and Savior. This reflects the Deity of Christ Jesus and Jude’s place in the pecking order. He writes to those who are called (klatos, the invited), and beloved IN God the Father and KEPT for Jesus Christ (Jude 1:1). He asks the Lord’s favor in the multiplication of mercy, peace, and love upon his recipients in this unknown church (Jude 1:2).

-Jude started out to write about salvation, but as he was carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), the Lord placed it in him to expound on contending for the faith already received that was once and for all time delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3). The issue was false teachers and deceivers that had crept in unnoticed to the church. These ungodly were long ago designated for this condemnation. They pervert the grace of God in sensuality (licentiousness) and deny the only Master, the Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4). By way of reminder, he sets forth the necessity for belief using the children of Israel as a stark depiction of unbelief coming out of Egypt and perishing. He also uses the fallen angels who did not stay in their position of authority, but left their proper dwelling in Heaven out of rebellion (among whom was Lucifer, or Satan, the evil one) to demonstrate the demise of the doomed ones. Their judgment is keeping them in eternal chains under gloomy darkness, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which pursued the same sexual immorality and perversion of unnatural desire. The eternal fire awaits those who stay turned against God and His ways. These false teachers rely on their dreams, rather than the prophetic Word of God; they defile the flesh, reject dominion (authority, people in charge), and blaspheme the glorious ones. The angel Michael is cited as using his authority to correct with rebuke in the proper order under authority. He stated, “The Lord rebuke you,” rather than take matters into his own hands with a spirit of pride. The evil ones blaspheme (blasphēmeō- to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate) what they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they know instinctively as fallen creatures, like unreasoning (unthinking) animals. They have walked in the unbelief of Cain (Genesis 4, Hebrews 11:4), in the error of Balaam (Numbers 22-24; 31:16, 2 Peter 2:15, Revelation 2:14), and in the rebellion of Korah (Numbers 16:5-49). These unrighteous ones are compared to hidden reefs (think about the unseen dangers beneath the ocean waves where sharp and dangerous coral reefs are) at the love feasts (fellowships) of the church. These have no fear of God and feed themselves selfishly. They are waterless clouds swept along by strong winds. They are fruitless trees in late autumn. They are twice dead (physical and spiritual). They are uprooted-wild waves of the sea casting up the foam of their own shame. They are wandering and drifting stars in a vast galaxy without orbit for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever (Jude 1:5-13). God is coming to execute His righteous judgment on these who run from the Lord by their ungodly deeds and harshness. These are grumblers and malcontents, who follow their own sinful desires. They are loud-mouthed boasters. They show favoritism and flatter to gain advantage (Jude 1:14-16). Jude reminds them again that in the last time there will come scoffers with ungodly passions, who cause division. They are people of the world, devoid of the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:17-19).

-*Application* Here we see a long list on things to look for as we “contend” for the faith. Some important things for us to think about in the church: Not everyone is on the up and up spiritually, they are distinguishable by these very clear attributes delineated here by Jude in Scripture, we are not to cower to these people, but we are to be strong in the face of the adversary within the church of the Living God. He will fight for us and execute His justice when evil is present. It is a war, make no mistake about it. Our weapons can be put on and the fight is the Lord’s (Ephesians 6:10-20, 2 Chronicles 32:8).

-In contrast, as believers in the one-true God, Jesus Christ, we must build ourselves up in the most holy faith, and we must pray IN the Holy Spirit. We must keep ourselves IN the love of God, and patiently wait for the mercy of our Savior that leads to eternal life. Christian living includes having mercy ourselves on those who have doubts and fears. We are to be like firefighters who snatch the victims out of the burning flames in a spiritual rescue effort hating the very garments stained by the worldly-fleshly living patterns (Jude 1:20-23). We need to keep looking to Jesus, who IS ABLE to keep us from stumbling and present us blameless before the presence of God in His glory with great joy. To God be this glory, majesty, dominion, and authority from the beginning before all time, to the now (or present), and going forward into forever (Jude 1:24-25). *Application* Keep the big picture in mind. There may be a temporary suffering in this world as we live in Christ, but the end results are worth the price of admission. God’s greatness extends to all who love Him and are called to be His children in Spirit and truth. Receive all He has to offer you and reject the temporary and fleeting pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:24-27).



Verse to Memorize: Jude 1:3

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Philemon- Introduction and Chapter 1


Philemon Bible Study Notes





Introduction: Christ Jesus came to be the great wall remover. He tears down the division and barriers between God and man, as well as man with other men. All ground is level at the cross because God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11, Galatians 2:6, Ephesians 6:9). He does not show favoritism and there is no partiality with Him. His death and resurrection opened the way to eternal life to bring all who believe into the family of God (Ephesians 2:14-18). This letter underscores the power of the gospel for life transformation.



Roman, Greek, and Jewish culture were littered with barriers, as society assigned people to classes and expected them to stay in their place—men and women, slave and free, rich and poor, Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and barbarians, pious and pagan. But, with the message of Christ those dividing walls began to come down with the promotion of no distinctions (Colossians 3:11).



This is a personal letter to a slave owner, Philemon, whom Paul ministered to and was friends with in the Colossian church. It is a plea for a master’s mercy on a run-a-way slave named Onesimus, who had converted to Christianity while in prison with Paul in Rome (1:10). In the brief letter, Paul explains how he is sending Onesimus back to Philemon now as a brother to be accepted in Christ (1:11-12,16). Paul tactfully appeals to Philemon to forgive his new brother (1:10,14-15,20) because the divisions that were once there no longer remained. They were now one in Christ.



This book was written right around 60 A.D., about the same time as Ephesians and Colossians were developed, and serves as a masterpiece of grace and tact with a profound demonstration of the power of Christ and of true Christian fellowship in action. What barriers are in our home, neighborhood, and/or church? What separates us from fellow believers? Is it race? Status? Wealth? Education? Personality? As with Philemon, God calls us to seek relational unity, breaking down those walls and embracing our brothers and sisters in Christ.



Major Themes:



Forgiveness- Philemon was Paul’s friend and the legal owner of the slave Onesimus who had run from him. Paul’s plea was for Philemon to overlook the transgression and accept and restore a new brother in Christ. Can we forgive those who have wronged us?



Barriers- No one is lost to the point God cannot save them. No one is beyond His love. Christian love and fellowship overcome the world’s barriers and segregations as we are all one in Christ as a family. Walls of gender, race, economics, politics are removed in the bond of Christ.



Respect- Paul was a friend to both parties, Philemon and Onesimus. He has authority as an apostle to tell Philemon what to do, yet he chose to appeal to his friend in Christian love rather than dictate what he should do. He gave Philemon proper ownership of the situation. Tactful persuasion accomplishes a great deal more than commands when dealing with people. Remember to exhibit courtesy and respect in all relationships.





Structure:



1.     Paul’s appreciation of Philemon (1:1-7)

2.     Paul’s appeal for Onesimus (1:8-25)- Paul offers to pay the debt of this slave just as Christ paid our debt of sin on the cross. Like Onesimus, we must return to God our Master and serve Him with a humble spirit.



Key Verses:



Philemon 1:15-16  15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good--  16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.”



*Notes from this overview were aided by:



New American Standard Bible: Life Application Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mich.: 1995, pgs. 2153-2154.





-Chapter 1: Paul’s short, succinct letter to the slave owner, Philemon, is from prison (Philemon 1:23). Paul, along with Timothy write not only to Philemon, but Apphia (his sister in the Lord), Archippus (their fellow soldier in the Lord), and the church that congregated in Philemon’s house (Philemon 1:1-2). Paul pronounces his customary grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ upon them (Philemon 1:3).

-*Application* Paul’s salutation offers his relational ministry that we would do well to recognize and incorporate into our own ministries in the Name of the Lord. The greatest gift spiritually speaking is love and we can easily see Paul’s compassion and care in these first few verses here in Philemon. Go and do the same with people who are in this spiritual struggle with you.

-The body of the letter offers thanksgiving of remembrance towards Philemon for his own love and faith that he has demonstrated for the Lord and all the saints. Paul’s prayer is that Philemon’s faith will be shared effectively for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. Paul has been given much joy and comfort through the testimony of Philemon as he has refreshed many in the faith (Philemon 1:4-7).

-*Application* It is always nice to hear complimentary words for edification (building up). We should note Paul’s sincerity in these compliments. He is not just buttering his buddy up to ask for a favor, and neither should we. Instead, be genuine in your praise of people’s good works and make it glorify the Lord always.

-Paul says that as an apostle, he could command this action of Philemon, but for good will and respect he is rather appealing to him in confidence that he will do the right thing in accepting his runaway slave back now as a brother in Christ Jesus. Onesimus, who once was useless and deceptive, is now a believer as a spiritual son of Paul and very useful to the Kingdom of God. Paul is seeking Philemon’s consent for Onesimus’ Kingdom ministry with his owner and possibly in the future with him, “both in the flesh and in the Lord (Philemon 1:8-16).” Onesimus is therefore being sent back with honor and dignity with the hopes of being accepted back into his former home with his earthly master as a Christian brother. Paul asks that Philemon receive Onesimus as he would receive Paul and promises to repay, from his own account, any wrongs or charges. Paul is making a request for refreshment and reconciliation in the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Philemon 1:17-20). Paul writes in confidence that Philemon will do more than he is requesting in his obedience to do what is right in the Spirit of love (Philemon 1:21).

-*Application* Paul can be bold with his request because he knows who is in control of Philemon’s spirit. When the Holy Spirit has control of us, He gives us the power to forgive and restore past sins and grievances with our fellow man. We need to apply this passage in our own life with people who we might have gotten crossways with. Determine to forgive and restore in a spirit of Christian fellowship and relationship. Bitterness will not get us anywhere (2 Samuel 2:24-28, Ephesians 4:31, Hebrews 12:15, James 3:14).

-Paul hopes to be able to come to his friend Philemon in the near future and asks him one more thing, to prepare a guest room for him. He sends greetings and another grace statement from several in his company of fellow prisoners and workers as he ends the letter (Philemon 1:22-25).

-*Application* We can see the generosity of Philemon if we look closely at the text. He is certainly a man of means since he had slaves. But he was welcoming and hospitable as evidenced from the church in his home and Paul’s very natural appeal for a guest room if he can come to him. Make sure you do the same with the resources God has given you. Make your home a base for Kingdom work and do all you can to be hospitable to the saints.



Verses to Memorize- Philemon 1:4, 6, 15-16

Monday, July 10, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Malachi- Chapter 4


Malachi 4



-The prophet under the Spirit of prophecy gives a final admonition here in chapter four. Pay attention! For the day is coming, burning like a furnace, and no arrogant person or evil doer will survive. They will burn like chaff by the day of the LORD that will set them ablaze! Neither root nor branch will be left (Malachi 4:1). However, the ones who fear the LORD and receive Him in faith as the sun of righteousness, (analogy to Light and Illumination in Messiah Jesus) who will rise with healing in Its wings, and the righteous will go forth and celebrate like a calf that is just learning how to walk for the first time, skipping from the stall (Malachi 4:2)! The wicked are promised to be tread down as ashes under foot by the LORD (Malachi 4:3). The final instructions include remembering the Law of Moses, God’s servant, given at Horeb for all of Israel (Malachi 4:4). Elijah is prophesied to be sent before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD when He restores the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers for blessings rather than curses on the land (Malachi 4:5-6).

-*Application* The Bible makes it very clear to be ready and alert for the coming tribulation and return of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:2; 25:1-13, Mark 13:33-37). This day will be a reward for those who have received the righteousness of Christ by their very faith in Him, but it will be a devastating punishment and justice for those who rejected Christ in arrogance and continuing in evil. If you have not done so already, please return to the LORD in humble submission to His commands before it is too late. God’s desire is to return the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers with unity and mutual respect. His will is not to smite the land with a curse, but healing.



Verses to Memorize: Malachi 4:2, 5-6

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Malachi- Chapter 3


Malachi 3



-The LORD is going to send His messenger who will clear the way before Himself. It is at this point that the Lord, whom the people seek, will suddenly (immediately) come to His Temple and fulfill the message of the covenant, which is the delight of the people of God (or the true Israel). He (the Messiah, the anointed, the Lord, Jesus) is coming (Malachi 3:1)! The day of His coming though will be difficult, next to impossible, to endure. He will come (which I take as the second coming of Christ) like a refiner’s fire and fuller’s soap (cleansing, refining, washing, purifying). The priests of God will be purified and refined like gold and silver in that day for the purpose of glorifying the LORD with offerings in righteousness as a pleasing gift as in the days of old in former years (Malachi 3:2-4). It is at this point that the LORD will draw near to His people for judgment, which they will escape. But, the LORD will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, the adulterers, the liars, the cheaters, the oppressors, and those who have no fear of Him (Malachi 3:5). This is all because the LORD is immutable, He does not change. Because of His covenant promises, the people of Jacob are not consumed. His promises are always kept, safe and secure, and His love never fails His people of faith. Even when there is faithlessness on the part of His people, and they have turned aside. The LORD gives them a chance to return to Him so that He can return to them. The great question at the end of this purifying and restoration section is “How?” “How shall we return?” is the question they are asking, and now God will point out their sins for the purpose of returning and restoring to make for Himself a Spirit-filled people in total love with Him (Malachi 3:6-7).

-*Application* God is patient, but His patience as we see here has limits. When it is time for judgment, He will be swift and effective in it. Until that time, He gives us every opportunity to return to Him for forgiveness, peace, and wholeness. Take advantage of the time God gives to get right with Him through repentance, humility, and heart sacrifice. We’ll be glad we did.

-The rhetorical questions continue as this book continues in Malachi 3:8. The people want to know how they are robbing God, and the prophet is forthright in explaining to them that their meager tithes and offerings are an offence to the Almighty. God says that they are cursed because of their taking from the LORD what was rightly His. He tells them plainly, “Bring the whole tithe (tenth of your first fruits) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My House, and test Me now in this, if I will not open for you the windows of Heaven and pour out for you blessing until it overflows (Malachi 3:10).” When this is done, He will rebuke the devourer for them so that their crops will flourish and all will call them blessed as a delightful land (Malachi 3:11-12).

-*Application* How are we doing in bringing God’s church the commanded tithe into His storehouse? We are quick to blame the government for all its expensive programs that tax us to the max, but they are simply having to pick up the slack for where the church of Jesus Christ has failed in its woeful amounts of tithes received to help the hurting and the needy of our society. Obey God and give Him His tenth from our first fruits instead of hording for ourselves in robbery and mockery of His Kingdom. We have to quit making excuses and give God top priority in our wallets.

-Next, the charge of arrogance is levied. The people say, “What have we spoken against You (Malachi 3:13)?” The LORD answers with the fact that they are concluded in their hearts that it is vain and not profitable to serve God and keep His charge. They have had to go through hard times of mourning and have given up on His promises way too soon (Malachi 3:14). They figure that the arrogant are blessed by God because of their expedient wealth and unjust gain. They falsely think that the doers of wickedness are built up and can test God and escape (Malachi 3:15). This, God concludes, is unfaithfulness and giving up on His strength to do things their own way. This arrogance does not produce deliverance from the Almighty because they are relying on their own rationale to make assumptions about how God works in human matters. Instead, they needed to trust and be patient during the difficult questions of life and wait on the LORD to rescue.

-*Application* We too will have a tendency to out run God when we see the crooked and perverse seemingly being blessed in all they do. Our ethics tend to be situational in our world, and we will do anything to get ahead of the materialistic ballgame to “keep up with the Jones’.” This is what God calls arrogance against Him. He is our provider and will care for us to give us what we need. Rely on His justice and don’t worry about those who seem to have great gain because of their unrighteousness.

-Now the chapter takes a turn to the faithful few that were the remnant of the LORD in the fear and esteem of His Name. The LORD gave them attention, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those (Malachi 3:16). These will be His on the day He prepares His own possession and they will be spared as heirs to the Kingdom. This will be the distinction that the LORD makes between the righteous and wicked, between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve Him (Malachi 3:17-18, Romans 12:1-2).

-*Application* The LORD is looking longingly for those who will give Him His rightful place of honor and distinction. He promises all of His good destiny and eternal life to those who fear and esteem Him and take on His righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ serving Him with a whole heart (1 Chronicles 28:9, Matthew 22:36-37). This is God’s desire for all His people.





Verses to Memorize: Malachi 3:1, 8, 18

Friday, July 7, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Malachi- Chapter 2


Malachi 2



-God gives a commandment on listening to the priests as He begins chapter 2 (Malachi 2:1-2). The LORD is after the heart and will bring about a curse upon them and their blessings because of their dull ears. He will rebuke their offspring, spread refuse on their faces, refuse their feasts, and take them away if they will not give honor to His Name from the inner man (Malachi 2:2-3). They will eventually know that it is God who has sent the message through His prophet, so that His covenant will continue through Levi (Malachi 2:4). His covenant, to Levi, was one of life and peace (shalom, wholeness) given as an object of reverence and awe for the Name of the LORD (Malachi 2:5). When the heart was pure, true instruction was in the priest’s mouth and no unrighteousness was found in his lips. He walked with the LORD in peace and uprightness turning many away from iniquity (Malachi 2:6). Priests were designed to be messengers of the LORD of hosts preserving knowledge with attainable instruction from his mouth from the Almighty (Malachi 2:7). However, the priests of Malachi’s time had turned aside from the way causing many to stumble by their false instruction. They corrupted the covenant of Levi according to the Word of the LORD (Malachi 2:8). Therefore, the LORD had made them despised and abased before all the people. In other words they lost respect, courtesy, and reverence from the masses because of their injustice in showing partiality in the instruction. They were playing favorites (Malachi 2:9).

-*Application* Good and Godly leadership is so critical as we see here in this passage. The most important part of leading, as we see in this passage, is listening to the right Voice, which is the Voice of God. What spirit the leader has will be passed down to the populace. God is supporting a top-down philosophy that should increase our awareness and responsibility in every area. This irresponsible leadership is what, more than anything, degraded the Jewish society and drew the LORD’s ire. If you have leadership of any domain, listen with the right heart to God and follow His mandates and directions. He gives blessings, honor, life, and peace when we do.

-Malachi now turns to address the sins, which are in the people of Israel. The prophet asks the rhetorical questions pertaining to the “why” in their treacherous dealings with each other, which profaned the covenant of their fathers and interrupted their unity (Malachi 2:10). They have profaned the sanctuary of the LORD and committed abominations as well by their idolatry in chasing after foreign gods. This has quenched the LORD’s favor with them, and they are now feeling the effects (Malachi 2:11-13). The issue of marital faithfulness first comes up as a plight on their society as God answers their question as to the reason for His consternation. If a person has any bit of the Spirit of God they will not deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. God hates divorce, He tells them, and He detests the one who covers his clothes with wrong (Malachi 2:14-16). The people have wearied God with their empty words. In their audacity they have questioned, “How have we wearied Him?” But, they have said by their actions that, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them,” plus they insulted Him with the mocking, “Where is the God of justice (Malachi 2:17)?”

-*Application* Here we see the slowness to recognition of a wayward people. They simply do not get it. They are making excuses rather than making adjustments in the rebuke that they are receiving. They are trying to justify their position rather than conforming to the image of a holy God. How often do we do that in American society?



Verses to Memorize: Malachi 2:2, 16

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Malachi- Introduction and Chapter 1


Malachi 1



-Introduction: Malachi (My Messenger) is the book most often given credit for bridging the gap between the Old Testament writings and the New Testament period. Malachi is the textually proclaimed author of the work. This is the book that concludes the Old Covenant revelation of God to His people, and it serves the purpose of confronting the Hebrews, and us, with their sins against a perfect Sovereign with the hopes of restoration in fellowship and a pointing to the Messiah. Written around 430 years before Christ came to earth, this book gives example of the post exilic prophets with Haggai and Zechariah and Nehemiah being contemporaries to the time period. It uses a unique literary style employing a dramatic use of questions asked by God and His people with substantial answers in response. Key themes include, not are not limited to: 1) God’s Love for His People, 2) God’s Omniscience, 3) The Sin of the Priests, 4) The Sin of the People, 5) Faithfulness, 6) Grace, 7) Healing, 8) Joy, and 9) The LORD’s Coming. The structure moves from the awareness of the sins of the priests in Israel (Malachi 1:1-2:9), to the sins of the people of Israel (Malachi 2:10-3:15), to God’s faithful remnant (Malachi 3:16-4:6). There is a preview of John the Baptist, who comes in the Spirit of Elijah as the book concludes (Malachi 4:5-6, Matthew 11:14;17:12, Mark 9:13, Luke 1:17). The key verse could be attributed to Malachi 4:2, “But for you who fear My Name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.”



(Ideas extracted from “New American Standard Bible: Life Application Study Bible.” Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, pgs. 1570-1571)



(Ideas also extracted from “Talk Thru the Bible.” Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa. Thomas Nelson, Inc.: Nashville, TN, 1982, pgs. 294-296)





-Chapter 1: Malachi, writing in the post exilic period around 430 years before the coming of the Messiah, relates his burden (or oracle) concerning the chosen people of God’s profaning neglect of the temple worship towards the LORD. He begins with the Word of the LORD assuring His people that He loves them (Malachi 1:2) comparatively to Esau’s desolation and wasted inheritance (Malachi 1:2b-4). This contrast is given so that “The LORD be magnified beyond the border of Israel (Malachi 1:5).”

-*Application* God’s intention is for the whole world to know Him and His mercy, greatness, and salvation. This has been displayed through His workings with Israel, who would bring forth the promise of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. This gospel of the LORD’s goodness was to be extended far beyond the reaches of His chosen people and the border of Israel. This prophet understands this and so should we. Engage in the missionary effort!

-The sins of the priests and false forms of worship are quickly addressed by the prophet Malachi at this point. Defilement was seen in three basic-fundamental areas: 1) Expedience- doing things as cheaply as possible with no real effort or devotion, 2) Neglect- not caring how they carried out God’s Divine commands, and 3) Outright Disobedience- sacrificing their own way rather than the way God had ordained. Their flippant attitudes demonstrated their real heart towards the LORD, and He was not pleased (Malachi 1:6-10, 12-14).

-*Application* What image of God do those around you see in us? Does our character reflect our heart’s intentions in our devotion to God? We have a priest-like duty as a go between to those who do not know the LORD. Be an example of a true Christ follower in thoughts, words, and actions.

-God is great (gadowl- high, greater, loud, mighty, eldest), and His Name to be feared (yare'- fear, afraid, terrible, dreadful, reverence, astonishment, and awe) among all the nations in purity (Malachi 1:11, 14). He wants nothing to profane His Holy Name and detests it when those called by His Name defile what He ordains.

-*Application* Offer the LORD your absolute best, whatever that may be. Our righteousness is based on Christ and that is non-negotiable. Let Him control your life as a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable unto Him (Romans 12:1-2).



Verse to Memorize: Malachi 1:11

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Colossians- Chapter 4


Colossians 4



-The personal instructions continue as the letter comes to its close in this chapter. We have a Master in Heaven; therefore, we are to treat those under us justly and fairly, just like the Lord does (Colossians 4:1). The next teaching pertains to constant prayer. We are to be watchful in it with expectation. We are to be thankful in it. We are to pray for open doors for proclaiming the Word of God to declare the mystery of Christ and His salvation in clarity (Colossians 4:2-4). Paul gives information on interacting in wisdom toward outsiders and making the most of our time and every opportunity. He says to always let speech be gracious, seasoned with salt (this metaphor suggests speaking in an interesting, stimulating, and wise way that will continue to engage leaving open doors, Matthew 5:13), so that you may know how to answer in the right manner (Colossians 4:5-6).

-*Application* To everyone we must give an answer for the hope that is within us as believers in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 4:2). Pray for opportunities; pray that God will help us recognize those opportunities; and pray for courage to address the people that the Lord puts along our path to bring them closer to Him and His Kingdom. Advancing His Kingdom carries individual, as well as corporate, responsibility.

-The closing of this letter has some intriguing ins and outs of their ministry and connectedness in Christ. Paul wants them to fulfill their respective ministries that they have received and stand mature, fully assured, in all the will of God (Colossians 4:7-17). He extends his grace and asks for prayer as he is in prison with his own hand to conclude the letter (Colossians 4:18).

-*Application* It is important for us to recognize the intricate connections within the body of Christ that He has designed and ordained (1 Corinthians 12:18). As each plays his or her part, the Kingdom advances unto His glory!



Verse to Memorize- Colossians 4:5