The purpose of Ephesians is to show the Church who and what they are to be in this world; to show the Church we have received all we need to live victoriously, and it is possible to live in the heavenly dimension. We are exhorted to stop playing church and be the Church. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how all that you are, by the grace of God, makes you an integral part of the Church of Jesus Christ.
The book of Ephesians teaches us how to apply the principals of Christianity in the most difficult of all the arenas, the home. Paul tells us we must take off the rags of the old man and put on the new mans robes and walk in the Spirit, in love, especially in the home. In the fifth chapter, Paul gives Gods plan for families and that the father and husband is to love as Christ loves the Church.
In this lesson we begin studying Pauls eloquent thank you note to the church at Phillipi; the one he pointed to as an example for others to follow. Phillip was focused on reaching the lost. We are introduced to what is called an inside-out church, which was faithful in its witness. The true church is made up of people who are followers of Christ because they have heard the Holy Spirit calling them to fellowship with Jesus Christ.
The theme of Philippians is Living in Christ through fellowship. Let this mind be in you. Paul emphasizes the importance of humility in the fellowship of believers and to consider others higher than ourselves. He teaches that we can and should know and fulfill Gods good and perfect will for our lives. Paul also said, This one thing I do, I forget the things that are behind and I reach forward to those things which are ahead.
Do you have the continuous peace of God? If not, that should not surprise or disillusion you if you are not meeting Gods conditions. In Philippians 4 Paul teaches us twelve conditions for the peace of God: Do not worry, pray about everything, think on good things, do the right thing, be thankful, have a reputation for gentleness, be patient, accept your circumstances, look up, delight in Him, value the approval of God, and rest your heart and mind in Christ.
The Book of Colossians is Paul's masterpiece on the Christ of the church: Who Christ is, what Christ has done, and His all-sufficiency. The church at Colosse had 3 major problems: a philosophical attack upon the deity and person of Jesus Christ, an intellectual attack upon the faith of the people, and there were Jews imposing legalism upon the church. Paul emphasizes that Christ was Very God. Paul challenges believers to pray earnestly, with thanksgiving.
The theme of Pauls first letter to the Thessalonians is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is important to understand that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is not one event but a series of events. We will note how Paul encourages the Thessalonians with the coming rapture and physical second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul writes that the first thing to happen when the rapture of the church takes place is the dead in Christ shall rise first.
In Thessalonians Paul says the Lord Jesus is coming back and we are to be busy while we watch and wait for His return; pray without ceasing, and always give thanks. Although we cannot know when Jesus will return, He said there are signs of the times to watch for. In Second Thessalonians, Paul explains about the Day of the Lord that will come once Satan is given free reign over the earth before the millennial rule of Jesus Christ.
As we survey the Books of First Timothy, Second Timothy and Titus, we are entering into the "Pastoral Epistles." The Paul/Timothy relationship has been a model for hundreds of thousands of senior pastors and junior pastors throughout church history. II Timothy 2:2, focuses for us a kind of education that will never be replace: teach reliable men who are also capable to teach other men. Paul emphasized the character that the men should have who are going to lead in church.
Paul profiles the Gospel: there is only One Mediator between God and man. In the same sense that Christ oversees the Church and shepherds the Church, a man should shepherd and oversee his wife and family, and men should oversee or shepherd the church. The Bible clearly gives the man the responsibility to be the leader of the home and the church. Paul lists the qualifications for spiritual leaders. Paul teaches us to measure your life by the Word of God.
The first four books of the New Testament are called gospels, which means good news. They are central to revealing Gods eternal plan: to redeem and save lost mankind. They are often referred to as biographies: Through them we gain a comprehensive insight into the life of a Man who only lived for 33 years, but who impacted the history of our world more than anyone who ever lived. The gospels declare Jesus the Christ, Gods greatest revelation of truth.
We live in a competitive world. Sometimes our relationship with competitors, or adversaries, becomes hostile, and they are determined to sue us or even put us in prison. Disciples who are peacemakers do not get angry or try to get even with their enemies. Instead, they determine never to be the source of conflict with adversarial people. Jesus also taught us how to relate to the opposite sex. As with other sins, Jesus goes to the source: our hearts. If we really want to be part of the solution as salt and light, we must learn how to control our sexual desires.
The Sermon on the Mount is one of the key teachings of the Bible. Jesus preached this sermon on a mountaintop in Galilee when He challenged people who professed to be His disciples to be strategically placed between the love of God and the pain of the hurting people in the world. He challenged His disciples to partner with Him and be conduits of His love. He concluded His sermon with a call to commitment. It changed the lives of many who heard it.
The word mercy means unconditional love. When David writes in Psalm 23:6 that mercy will follow him all the days of his life, the word he uses for follow actually means pursue. Gods unconditional love will pursue David all of his life. This is the kind of love for others that we must have too, if we are to be like God.
Salt is a preservative that keeps meat from spoiling, and Christians with the attitudes of Jesus are like salt to the world. When disciples with Christ-like attitudes are rubbed into the people of the world as salt is rubbed into meat, their influence will keep the world from total corruption. They become a valuable commodity Jesus uses to revolutionize the culture. The second metaphor indicates that Christians are the only source of light for multitudes living in darkness. As with the first metaphor, Jesus words literally mean that you and you alone are salt and light. If His disciples do not fulfill their role as salt and light, no one else is left to fulfill it. The people who have Jesus attitudes are sent into the world as Gods solution in order to shine for all to see.