January 26, 2014 Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom from God

Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom from God

God wants you to be the best at whatever He has tasked you to do.  He wants you to use the resources He has set aside for you.  He wants to use His great power to help you to accomplish the task.  This is what Paul wrote in Ephesians 1.18-19.  From earlier studies, you know that God’s Holy Spirit leads you (Romans 8.14) to know what you do not know about your work and passionate interests and about what He exemplified for you through Jesus (John 14.26, 5.19, 12.49).  The Holy Spirit knows God’s mind and His thoughts about you performing the task He has assigned (1 Corinthians 2.11).  In Colossians 1.9-12, Paul described an upward spiral of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom that will lead you to ever greater productivity and satisfaction in your daily life.

Aligning your prayers for yourself with God’s prayers for you.

  • Verse 9 expresses Paul’s prayers for Christ-followers in Colossae.  Personalize it as God’s prayer for you, as it was for them.  Notice what God prays for you.
  • Since the day you accepted God’s offer of eternal life and salvation from His wrath to come upon all who do not accept John 14.6, Jesus has not ceased to pray for you (Hebrews 7.25).  That reality should comfort and strengthen you greatly!
  • Jesus prays that you may be filled with the deep and clear knowledge of God’s will, with enlightened understanding leading to His wisdom guiding your daily paths.
  • What is knowledge?  King David taught his son Solomon the beginning point, which Solomon taught his children in Proverbs 1.7-8.  Notice that reverence for God is the first step in knowledge; everything that you could ever know comes from this Source.  And, God wants to impart such knowledge to you (Jeremiah 9.23-24; Proverbs 24.3-4).
  • What is understanding? Understanding is Godly discernment, comprehension, and interpretation of all things.  From the last reference, you see that God also wants you to understand Him (Isaiah 55.8-9, 5.20-21)!  Jeremiah 7.23 gives good reason for this.
  • What is wisdom?  Spiritual wisdom is comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God (Alexander Souter, Pocket Lexicon).  John 14.26 implies that His ways even include your work and passionate interests.  His ways will bring you success (Ephesians 1.19)!
  • Solomon’s desired result for his children and the people he led was Proverbs 1.2-4.  America, in her economic and eduction systems, need leaders with this result in mind!
  • Jesus said to ask, seek, and knock (Matthew 7.7-8) for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom from God!  He also said to believe that you have received it when you ask (Matthew 21.22; Isaiah 7.9b).  Paul reminded believers to be thankful (Philippians 4.6-7) for God’s answers.

So that….

  • You align with God’s prayers for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to impact your daily life and those whose paths you cross, as Paul stated in Colossians 1.10-11.
  • Your daily goal must be to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord (John 17.18, 21).
  • Your goal is to please Him in all things (Psalm 119.11).
  • Your goal is to bear fruit in every good work (John 14.12; Ephesians 3.10).
  • Your goal is to steadily grow and increase in the knowledge of God with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition (Amplified Bible) (2 Peter 3.18).
  • Accomplishing these goals will result in the invigoration of your power according to the might of His glory, leading to…
  • your exercising every kind of endurance and perseverance and forbearance,
  • giving thanks to the Father Who qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints of Light (John 1.5) because of John 14.1-6Isaiah 64.4!

Spiral up your knowledge, understanding, and wisdom from God and live Proverbs 3.13-18!  Notice the same promises in Deuteronomy 28.1-14.

Praise God!!!  Copyrighted (c) by Maurice L. Painter, 2014.  www.sozoclass.com

 

January 19, 2014 The New You

The New You

(a copyrighted study by Maurice L. Painter, 2014.  www.sozoclass.com)

You know that feeling of pride you have when you look in the mirror after loosing several pounds or inches in the waist or at your new hair style of dress or suit or tie you just bought.  You like the new you, until the pounds try to reoccupy lost territory or the clothes are no longer new.  It’s a struggle to just maintain the proper attitude.  One way is to remember the mental picture of yourself before the ‘new you’, in contrast with the mental picture of the improved you.  Fight to preserve the new you!  Notice how Apostle Paul did this for the Colossians who were struggling against the demons of legalism and gnosticism.  Does your spirit struggle this way, too?

Context

  • The gnostic Greek philosophers taught that the body did not matter; only the spirit was important.  Where did they get such nonsense?  Not from the Bible (Luke 24.3-5).  Philosophies develop from the descriptions of a world imagined by people who say, ‘if I were god….’ (Jeremiah 13.10; Proverbs 14.2, 16.25).
  • The Jews assaulted Christ-followers with the requirements of the Law: hand washing, feasts, circumcision, etc.  Change was hard for them, too, but the Law contained no provision or hope of salvation (Hebrews 8.7-13; Galatians 3.21-22).
  • This was the context of Christ-followers to whom Paul wrote.  Notice his salutation in Colossians 1.2 (saints and faithful) and 3.12 (chosen, holy, beloved; Colossians 2.12-14).  Paul addressed believers under attack!
  • Like you, they were caught in the oscillation of the teeter-tooter, from absoluteness to relativism, tolerance, and compromise…depending, perhaps, on the day of the week or the nature of the people in your gathering.  You should read Revelation 3.15-16.
  • God observes your oscillation (2 Chronicles 16.9; Proverbs 20.27) and encourages steadfastness and resolve (James 1.22; Ephesians 6.13; Proverbs 4.23; Isaiah 64.4).

Bad Behaviors of Philosophers

  • The culture of a person or organization is revealed by his/her/its behavior; that is, how one lives out life’s relationships with God and man.
  • Are you your own ‘American Idol’, as described in Colossians 3.5-7?  Notice that these bring God’s wrath upon practitioners.
  • Or, do Colossians 3.8-9 describe your oscillation?  You used to practice them; do you now?  Remember Proverbs 20.27; He knows (Psalm 94.11 and 139.2 and Hebrews 4.12)!
  • Paul had already listed similar aberrant behaviors in Galatians 5.17-21 and 2 Timothy 3.1-7.
  • He summarized such philosophers’ behaviors in the contrasts of Romans 8.5-8.  John does, also, in 1 John 2.15-17.  Philosophies, then, are philosophers attempts to hold onto an imagined world of pride and lusts that cannot survive.  The world will die with satan (Revelation 20.11-15).  What salvation are you holding onto: The Savior or yourself?

The New You

  • Five years earlier, Paul wrote 2 Corinthians 5.17-21 which was now appropriate for the Colossians and continues to be for you.
  • In Colossians 3.1-4, Paul repeated the essence past and future and summarized the present essence in verse 2.
  • How could this be done?  How could Christ-followers in Colossae keep their eyes on the prize above while living in the dirt below?  The disciplines of right behaviors (Isaiah 33.14-16).  Practice; practice; practice!  Accountability; what gets measured gets done.
  • Note the bullets Paul fired in Colossians 3.12-17!  Note, especially, forgiveness (see also Mark 11.22-26), peace (John 14.1; Philippians 4.6-7), word of Christ (John 14.26; 17.17; 18.37), and name ‘Jesus’ (Philippians 2.9-11; John 16.24).
  • Paul even encouraged you to be creative in writing songs storying the effects of Scripture in the events of your daily life.  The Shema comes to mind; Deuteronomy 6.4-9.

Oscillation slows to a stop when you choose life in the spirit, instead of the flesh.  Keep both eyes on Jesus and you won’t sink beneath the waves of philosophy and works-salvation of men (Matthew 14.29-30).

Praise God!!!

Janurary 12, 2014 The Hidden Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge

The Hidden Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge

John 14.26 is an important verse to business and other professionals.  Read it slowly and note the conjunction ‘and’.  You need two types of knowledge and wisdom for success on earth: skillful and Godly.  See Psalm 78.72: integrity and skill.  The Holy Spirit knows both skill and Godly integrity.  This is why James 1.5 gives assurance and encouragement.  Paul wrote Colossians (AD 60) to remind readers that the Creator, Who even formed what is seen from what is not seen (Hebrews 11.3), is the only ‘know-it-all’, despite the opining of contemporary philosophers and legalists.  The philosophies that entice your mind and body, voiced by speakers and writers you respect, are contrasts against, ultimately, the only truth (John 14.6).  Look at how Paul disarmed them.

Colossae

·         Was a city in Phrygia (in Asia; Turkey today) on the Lycus River, a tributary of the Maeander (it literally does).  It was 12 miles above Laodicea and along the commercial route from Ephesus to the Euphrates River.

·         The city fell into decay when a bypass road was built for trade that, then, developed the cities of Laodicea and Hieropolis.

·         The modern Turkish town of Chonas or Chonum is near the site.

·         Paul never visited the city or body of believers there; see Colossians 1.2 and Phileman1.22.  But, Paul may have evangelized this area while he was in Ephesus; Acts 19.10.  Ephesus was about 100 miles west of Colossae, along the coast of the Aegean Sea.

·         The Christian church in Colossae was founded by Epaphras; Colossians 1.7 and 4.12.  He was an associate of Paul’s in Ephesus and traveled the long distance to Rome to discuss the matters Paul wrote about in his letter the Colossians.

Gnostics and Judaizers

·         Colossae’s population included both Greeks and Jews.  This mixed population was earlier described (AD 55), in general, in 1 Corinthians 1.22-25.

·         Perhaps Colossae became like Jesus described Laodicea in Revelation 3.14-22: lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, which made Jesus want to ‘spew you out of My mouth’!  At what point does devotion to things of God devolve into apathy and acceptance of new ideas taught by ‘knowledgable’ people and promoted by society?  (1 Corinthians 10.12 and Hebrews 3.12)  Paul wanted his letter also read in Laodicea (Colossians 4.16, 2.1).

·         The tug of divergent views of man by Gnostic philosophy and by Jewish legalists could have created an atmosphere of political correctness where each tolerated the other but did not discuss such contention (Galatians 5.6, 15; 1 Timothy 6.20).

·         Judiazers forced a legalism on Christ-followers that required strict adherence to permissible food and drink, religious feast days, and circumcision.  Jesus commented on this in Matthew 15.1-9, calling the legalists ‘hypocrites’!  They viewed the body as important for carrying out the physical requirements illustrating their worship.  (Galatians 4.3)

·         Gnostics, on the other hand, fused religion and philosophy that viewed the body as bad and the spirit as good.  They believed in redemption of the human spirit only; thus, discounting Jesus bodily resurrection (Luke 24.5, 39-40).

·         Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Colossians 2.8-17: ‘There is a philosophy which rightly exercises our reasonable faculties; a study of the works of God, which leads us to the knowledge of God, and confirms our faith in him.  But there is a philosophy which is vain and deceitful; and while it pleases men’s fancies, hinders their faith: such are curious speculations about things above us, or no concern to us.  Those who walk in the way of the world, are turned from following Christ.’

·         John MacArthur Study Bible Notes to Colossians 2.8: “’Philosophy’ (literally, ‘love of wisdom’) appears only here in the NT.  The word referred to more than merely the academic discipline, but described any theory about God, the world, or the meaning of life.  Those embracing the Colossian heresy used it to describe the supposed higher knowledge they claimed to have attained…Far from being advanced, profound knowledge, the false teachers’ beliefs were simplistic and immature like all the rest of the speculations, ideologies, philosophies, and psychologies the fallen satanic and human system invents.”

·         Postmodern relativism is just such philosophy today.  The absoluteness of God is disdained to tolerate the lies of satan through many representatives, which he presents as more fair and elevating of man than the Biblical views.

Christ

·         Lies become visible in the light of truth.  Notice how Paul identified the lies of the philosophers in Colossians 2.8-9. 

·         Paul likens philosophers to thieves who have taken the spoil of Christ-followers valuable knowledge and left the empty forms of intellectualism, idle fancies, human traditions, and crude notions.  Today’s examples include environmentalism and homosexuality.  Jesus’ Parable of the Sower discusses substitutions; Matthew 13.1-17.

·         In Colossians 2.9-10, Paul stated the superior value of Christ Jesus: visible expression of God (Hebrews 1.3), the Head of all authority (Matthew 28.18), and completion of every believer (Colossians 1.16, 19-20)!

·         In John 8.31-32, Jesus said that your abiding in His teachings would know truth and be freed from all lies. 

·         And, Christ is in you, as Paul wrote in Colossians 1.27!  You have His mind (1 Corinthians 2.16!

·         In fact, ‘in Him all the treasures of [divine] wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways an purposes of God) and [all the riches of spiritual] knowledge and enlightenment are stored up and lie hidden.’ (Colossians 2.3, Amplified Bible, ( ) are definitions, [ ] are to be read as part of the sentence)

·         This is why John 14.26 is so important for you!  Read this together with Romans 8.14.

·         In Colossians 2.6-7, Paul tells you how to keep from being led away by philosophies and legalism.

Paul’s ministry task was as he discussed in Acts 26.16-18.  Thus, he contrasted darkness by shining light upon it.  You can, too.  Every philosophy has a foundation in the worldview of the founding philosopher and his successors, illustrated by Mormonism and Islam.  God will hold these deceivers accountable, as Paul spoke at Mars Hill in Athens, Greece, to the philosophers there (Acts 17.16-31).  He will hold you accountable for not telling the deceived about Him (Isaiah 55.5).  Thus, I join Paul in praying Colossians 1.9-12.

Praise God!!!  Copyright (c) by Maurice L. Painter, 2014.   www.sozoclass.com

January 5, 2014 A Year Lived for the Glory of God!

A Year Lived for the Glory of God!

Happy New Year!  May you prosper and be in good health this year because your soul prospers (3 John 2)!  With blessings come responsibilities (2 Chronicles 16.9a).  So, how will you know God better at the end of the year than now?  How much better do you want to know Him?  Note His comparisons in Jeremiah 9.23-24 and the rewards for right choices in Hebrews 11.6 and Isaiah 64.4.  This study will help you to make the wise choice.

1 Corinthians 10.31: ‘Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.’

  • ‘Whatever you do’ is underlined for emphasis.
  • For example, Apostle Paul listed your spiritual gift in 1 Corinthians 12.4-11.  You were given your gift for the benefit of the body of Christ, as Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 12.12-31a. Verse 18 says that God purposely gave you a dominant gift you use. Together, all believers form the body of Christ and minister to each other (body of the anointed, for His purposes; 1 Corinthians 14.4 illustrates gifts for self or for others; Ephesians 4.11-13, note the end purpose in verse 13).
  • How do you monetize the gift God has given you?   In what settings – office, factory, schoolroom, etc.?  How do you do this for His glory in these settings?  At home and play?

Colossians 3.23-24: ‘And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.’

  • You resist accountability, like all other people, but you never can escape being accountable to God.  For example, He know truth from lie and records activities that no one else sees.  Paul reminds you of this in your various categories of Colossians 3.18-22.  Paul is referring to the order created and to be judged by God.  Note the contrasting perspectives in verse 22.  You should include those to whom you are accountable who monetize your gift, like Paul wrote.
  • ‘Do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men’ is underlined as the perspective you must have in ‘whatever you do’.
  • John 3.27 adds clarity to Jeremiah 29.11-13 and contrasts John 5.44.
  • Whose praise is more important to you?  Consider Revelation 20.12 and Matthew 10.28 before answering.  Any changes you need to make?

Colossians 3.17: ‘And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.’

  • Focus on the underlined emphasis as you remember the story of shepherd-boy David about to engage giant Goliath in mortal combat.  Stand beside him and hear 1 Samuel 17.45-47; really hear David’s words.
  • This story illustrates Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 1.18-19.  David accepted the task God assigned.  David discovered the resources God had allocated for the task.  God used His great power to sink His chosen rock deep within the giant’s head…mortally wounded!
  • You see, you need the name Jesus to successfully accomplish whatever task you are performing for His glory and as unto Him.  His name also removes obstacles that satan will place in your path; Philippians 2.9-11 and Ephesians 6.10-18.

So, do whatever you do this year in the name Jesus, as unto God and for His glory!

Praise God!!!  Copyright (c) by Maurice L. Painter, 2014.  www.sozoclass.com