JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him…”
June 30, 2010, 3:31 pm
Filed under: N Letter to the Colossians

Paul has been describing some wonderful things about Jesus Christ in the first chapter of his letter to the church in Colosse! He has described the awesome glory and “otherness” of Jesus Christ making a beeline to the grandest mystery of all: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Paul’s struggle in proclaiming Jesus Christ has its impetus and motivation in that same thought, where God was pleased to reveal His “Son in me.” How we need to see “the Son he loves” in us!

In chapter 2 Paul goes back to his original prayer to the Colossian Christians. This time he expounds on his prayer and the importance that what he has just proclaimed about Jesus Christ determines their battle against the things of this world. Perhaps a precursor to what he writes later at the end of his general letter to the churches in Ephesians.

Paul’s struggle, being in prison and his life, is for one sole purpose, it is for the growth of the church, for all of God’s people who gather everywhere around the world. Paul even says that “For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit.” Not to sound too metaphysical, but there is a sense that because we are “born of the Spirit,” that our life is Christ, who is in us, we are all connected spiritually. When the body of Christ gathers, it is not only those who are physically in the room who are their, but each person who knows Jesus Christ as Lord is there spiritually. Jesus Christ cannot be separated into different parts. He is fully with and in us and we are fully with and in Him. Therefore when the body of Christ meets, it is the body of Christ. While we may gather in churches in towns and cities around the world, the body of Christ is “one body!” That should give us thought to our attitude towards Jesus Christ and to His people when we gather together, daily and from house to house.

Paul’s purpose for what he has just written “is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” As a follower of Jesus Christ we find ourselves up against many things, and when we meet organically together we face a lot of stuff in peoples lives. Some will be hurtful things, some will be adverse things, some will be just junk that people are trying to find freedom from. If you haven’t seen it yet, you will! Paul says what he did, so that when the church would read these words the Holy Spirit would bring freedom to their thinking about themselves and others. That all the stuff of life has been dealt with already by Jesus Christ on the cross! And that self same Jesus now lives in us by His Spirit, and is in fact our life! That should bring comfort to our hearts, encouragement to our souls! But not just comfort but it should bring the church together in a profound sacrificial loving way. When the church comes together in face-to-face community and allow Jesus Christ to comfort and join us together with His love, it is then we begin to see the fullness of Christ come into the body of Christ. We will begin to see the “full riches of complete understanding” in knowing Christ! This knowing Jesus Christ is something that is progressive as we meet together and forever with Him in glory. Every time we gather we should be expecting to see more of Jesus! Not more of something else, just Jesus! This brings confidence and assurance in our faith as we seek Him and know Him more “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”!

Paul continues and concludes this same thought by giving a wonderful general statement of life in Christ. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” The Christian life is initial and progressive and is founded on “Christ Jesus as Lord.” The life of the church is summed up with this definitive statement: “Christ Jesus as Lord.” Is what we do or say reflect that? Did we understand what Paul said about all that Jesus did for us, and not us but for all of creation? Let us truly get to know our Lord Jesus Christ and put Him at the center of life, for He is our life!

“Just as (we) received Christ Jesus as Lord” we should therefore walk it out, live it out, but it is walking and living “in him.” He has a path for us to follow, it’s Him! He is the way! We are to “live by His Spirit” and in so doing we will see “the fruit of the Spirit.” As Paul told the Galatian churches a few years earlier: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another.” Remember the words of Jesus from John’s gospel: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.” Let us deny ourselves, count those things of the flesh crucified in Christ, those things that bring death spiritually. How we need to listen to the Spirit, who is our life and follow the way of life.

Interestingly after Paul says to “walk in him” he says “having been rooted and being built up in him” (literal translation). (1) J.B. Lightfoot sees these as metaphors of “the path, the tree, the building.” (2) Doesn’t Scripture speak of Jesus as the way, the vine, and the house (or body)? Our Christian life in Christ in the body of Christ is meant to be walked out together following Jesus leading, founded on His lordship over us, and built up by Him. It is all about Jesus! Being “in him.” How much of life is about so many other things! We walk by the Spirit, we are rooted by the Spirit, and we are built by the Spirit. Again in John’s gospel Jesus makes the analogy of the vine to describe life in him: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” As a plant grows so does its roots. You can tell how large the roots go out by how large the canopy of the tree is. To the church in Corinth Paul also says that “no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Jesus is our life. “You are not your own; you were bought at a price” – Jesus “blood, shed on the cross.” For “he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” See yourselves, see the body of Christ as the Lord sees us! That is how we are rooted in him! This brings a solid faith in Christ!

This walking “in him” and “having been rooted…in him” is about “being built up in him,” or abiding in him! If we are not being built up “in him” we will not get very far in our life in Christ. Jesus Christ desires to enlarge Himself within us, within His body! He wants to express Himself, His glory to His creation! He is “the binding element” (3) the mortar and cement! Even the bricks of the building are Jesus, as Paul says: it is “only God, who makes things grow.” Strength in life is found in Jesus Christ! And this building “up in him” is “strengthened in the faith.” How is our faith strengthened? By knowing and knowing more of Jesus Christ, and it is worked out in the gathering of the church, when Jesus is “head of the body!” “You yourselves are God’s temple.”

Jesus said: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you…They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
Paul told the Corinthians: “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.”

This is what church planters taught in Paul’s day, this is what we are supposed to have been taught! How we have drifted as the body of Christ. “You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow slave, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.” This was Paul’s continuation of his prayer to the Christians in Colosse. How we need to pray the same today: “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

(1) Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 589, 591.
(2) Lightfoot, J.B., “St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon: J.B. Lightfoot’s Commentary on the Epistles of St. Paul, Third Printing, Hendrickson Publishers, 1995, 176.
(3) Ibid., 177.

Thoughts on Elders and Deacons in Organic Church
June 29, 2010, 2:39 pm
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes

I posted this from a discussion page on facebook, but thought I would post on my blog and elaborate more on these two words: elder and deacon.

There is nothing more controversial than how the body of Christ thinks about leadership and the structure for leadership in the church. These controversies have led to the split of the church in numerous denominations. How our Lord must grieve over the church’s misunderstandings of a few words.

Having come from a Southern Baptist background I have been shaded with a view towards these two terms. In fact “elder” is almost a curse word in some of these churches while “deacon” is the key “position” in a baptist church with a “deacon board” who think they are controlling the church for the good of the church and for Jesus Christ. Pastors then become spokespersons who are paid by the church for his services and if they don’t care for his services anymore they fire him and hire another one. How many of God’s people have been hurt emotionally, spiritually, even physically by those who do not have Jesus as Lord, who have usurped Jesus headship over the body of Christ! I also received Christ Jesus as Lord later as an adult, so my opinion on the matter is not necessarily left in a box (praise God!). I would like to think that I think outside the box, looking at other perspectives and see how best each aligns with Scripture. I was also a part of a church that attempted to transition to a cell church (unsuccessfully I might add) which envisions numerous layers of leadership and for each layer a new title (from the Bible to make it biblical, such as the “Jethro model”) is injected within the system. A note on the Jethro model: This was a model for a national identity and for a system to maintain order for a huge nation and for physical military power by the nation of Israel. Most nations, military’s and companies around the world follow this system, because they are huge organizations. God never intended for us, His people, the church, to be a nation, we are a spiritual nation within nations and we live differently, completely “other” than this world.

Then God led me to something called house church and house church networks and my thinking began to change in regards to what Scripture has to say about “leadership.” This then set me on a journey of living in organic church life that sees leadership more as a liquid as Milt Rodriguez says in his excellent book, “The Community Life of God”:

“Life flows within God like a liquid, like a river. Everything about God is contained within the water of this river. The liquid is His life. It’s who He is and what He does. Authority and leadership is just another part of His life. It flows like the rest of His life flows…Leadership with Him is not a ‘set in stone’ type of thing. It changes and adapts to need and situation. God places His Spirit on different people at different times and in different situations to lead.”

Church life is meant to be lived organically, it is an organism that lives by the divine life, the spiritual life of God, who is a corporate God, the Triune God of the Three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who have lived and will live eternally in mutual, loving corporate relationship. The church lives by the Triune life of God. Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in the Son mutually living by the Spirit. If we have Christ, we live by His Spirit. In fact the church lives by His very life! We are in Christ, Christ is in us.

Jesus “is the head of the body, the church” (Col. 1:18). As Milt says: “This headship is a shared headship, just like every other activity within the Triune God. We need to realize that God does everything within the context of community…leadership is always shared. It is always corporate…leadership was liquid. It was always adaptable and fluid. Leadership was never setup as a rigid, hierarchal system.”

Given this there are some terms that are used in the New Testament that speak of some who have a function that helps the body stay focused on Jesus Christ as head of the body.

The word “elder” refers to a mature believer, and is NOT an office. This is someone who has been growing in the life of Christ with the body of Christ in an organic way, they are therefore spiritually older. The life of Jesus was being expressed in their life. They also had a concern for the care (pastoring function) of the body, in that every member functioned in the body and they helped to guide (the word used for lead in the Bible) the body of Christ to keep Jesus as Head over the body. This indicates that they were careful observers of what God was doing in the life of the body. Not judging others, but seeing what God was doing and following Him. This is what the word “overseer” refers to, another misused word. This also indicates, from Acts 20 that while observing how the body was functioning they were to also keeping watch over (oversee) how they were living by Christ’s life. How often we look at others living by Christ and forget our own functioning, or become over functioning, within the body and deceive ourselves. It became obvious to the body of Christ who had a passion for keeping Jesus as head, these were seen as elders and confirmed later by church planters as such. Remember that while the term may be used of certain mature believers, those who helped “guide” the body, all should be maturing and therefore all can guide (lead) and care for (pastor) and watch over (oversee) the body at different times and in different ways based on the flow of the Spirit.

The word “pastor” is only used in Ephesians alongside the word “teachers.” Pastor is one word used in describing the function of those who were also “elder” and “overseer” and we can see that from Paul’s address to those who were guiding the body of Christ in Ephesus in the Acts. The words are interchangeable. Those who help guide the body to keeping the focus on Jesus do so because they care for the body. Teaching function in the body is meant to be done organically and by any in the body of Christ, for the same purpose – to focus the body on Jesus Christ. The reason for the body of Christ is to know Christ and him crucified and out of knowing Christ, by living by His life, we are “rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Col. 2:6-7). The Lord wants to be expressed by His people, He desires fruit from our lives, but we do not know this fullness of Christ without living organically in the body of Christ.

The word “deacon,” I think we all know, means servant. Someone who serves in the body of Christ in an organic way. The only indication we have from Scripture of “deacon” specifically in its function was helping in specific tasks of service. In Acts 6 it was more of the Apostles helping the body solve their problem of not taking care of some widows and learn how to help the body serve one another, than forming a deacon team. The body of Christ was complaining and arguing and therefore the body was not living by Jesus’ life, they had lost His headship in their life with Him together. The word “servant” is used of many people in Scripture and was used as a function, not as a title. The word servant is mentioned throughout the Scripture. Why? Because Jesus said that He came to serve not to be served. Service is a function within the body as enabled by the Holy Spirit’s life within His people. All are called to serve as the Lord leads organically within His people.

A note about apostles, prophets, evangelists. There are no titles or offices in the body of Christ! Titles are used to puff up people and create a professional class of Christians that God never intended. That being said Paul did describe himself as an apostle and there were certain “prophets” noted also, and Philip was also called “the evangelist” but these were certain members of the body of Christ who traveled from church to church and meant to help the body of Christ either by proclaiming Jesus Christ to the forming of a community of believers, laying a foundation of Jesus Christ with that community, and then later visiting them to help them move forward in the Lord. They were servants of the church not the other way around. They also lived organically in the body of Christ, they were not THE voice or spokesperson for the church. When Paul was in a home, or Agabus, or Phillip, they shared their lives with the body of Christ and they allowed everyone to function in the gatherings. And let me also say that, as Frank Viola so aptly states, that when an organic church truly lives by Jesus’ life all of the spiritual gifts are present and will emerge organically as the Lord desires. I really like Frank’s thoughts on the “five fold” ministry:

We are too quick to set a precedent about things. When something seems to have the blessing of God we do only those things, and those things become an idol. Or if something doesn’t work we do not wait on the Lord and seek Him but bring in something from the world, some tradition or thing to resolve the matter. How often I have done this to my shame. We are too quick to bring in worldly systems into the body of Christ which in turn replaces Jesus as head of His church. We are too much like the people of Israel seeking to be like the world around us who have president’s, chief executives, chairman, chief operating officers, group leaders, etc. who lead by human strength and in human wisdom, whether we say we follow the Lord or not. The affect is the same, whether we say it or not, we remove Jesus from His place as head of the church, and the rest of the body is not able to function organically. The people look to the head for vision and guidance, let it be Jesus Christ! We drift too quickly to the ways of the world, especially for those of us who have been in the institutional church for some time and because of lack of patience we begin to do what we know, the institutional church. We have to remember that every church in the New Testament was an organic church, but like any church can, they began to drift from the headship of Jesus Christ, many started becoming institutional. If you are one who is maturing in Christ in an organic way with the body of Christ, living under the lordship of Jesus Christ, you have a responsibility to care for the body by helping it to keep its focus on Jesus, on knowing Jesus Christ! Do not be silent, but speak the truth in love. Look at all of the letters that are written in the New Testament. They speak of living by the life of Jesus, under His lordship or headship. The letters also speak emphatically about there drifting away from Jesus and the reason for those things that were of the flesh and not of the Spirit.

It is about functioning in the body of Christ in an organic way so that He is Head of the body and the body living by His life for His praise and glory! Let God orchestrate the body of Christ by His fluid, creative, and dynamic life in us!

“…I will build my church…” (Matthew 16: 13-20)
June 28, 2010, 4:55 pm
Filed under: A Gospel According to Matthew, N Letter to the Colossians

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, Some say John the Baptist; others say Ellijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

The question “who do people say the Son of Man is?” that Jesus asked the disciples points to something important for each of us. Many people can have many ideas about who Jesus is. Many people can say a lot about Jesus. Many are confused about Jesus even today. But those who make these confusing statements about Jesus are statements based on their ignorance of a personal revelation of Jesus.

So Jesus cuts to the chase. “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” That is the question each person on earth must answer, you and I and the body of Christ, and we must get it right. Everything hangs in the balance on our getting that question right. I’m not talking about a rote quoting of Peter’s statement, but a personal revelation of who Jesus is. Only the Father can reveal the Son and that by the Holy Spirit. We can say “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” all day long but what does that reveal to you and us about Jesus? Do we really know Jesus?

Jesus described Himself as “the Son of Man.” It is an Old Testament reference which I think Peter recognizes but I think there is something more here. The disciples also heard Jesus refer to Himself also as the “Son of God.” As I check through my concordance I find that the word “Son” itself is used constantly through the gospels. Jesus Christ occupies something more than just a human being, more than just a man. As T. Austin Sparks would say, Jesus Christ was completely “other” than any other person on earth. The reason? Because He is the “Son of Man” and “Son of God.” We’re not talking about two distinct things, but the One and Only, Jesus Christ. It indicates Jesus identifying Himself with man in His humanity, but also His unique divine relationship. The rest of the New Testament interprets these words and the gospels as Jesus being fully God (Son of God) and fully man (Son of Man). But is knowing about Jesus as both 100% God and 100% man as a doctrine, whatever our human mind can understand or conceive of that fact, really bring us to an understanding of who Jesus really is? “Flesh and blood,” doctrines of man, while they can help us know more about Him, cannot bring revelation of Jesus, only the Father. Even this blog while making some attempt to describe this statement is little more than describing something about Jesus. You/we must each have a personal revelation of who Jesus is by His Holy Spirit!

Peter says: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus desires that we know Him personally, not know about Him. “Christ” is another word for “messiah” or “anointed” in the Hebrew. This one word means a lot within the prophetic stream of God’s progressive revelation and purpose in the Old Testament. In Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, all of the shadows and types described in the Old Testament find their fulfillment. He is the One everything in Scripture points to! How we need to know Jesus!

Anointing in the Old Testament was done for the tabernacle, sacrifices, priests and kings. And it signified approval by God, acceptable to God, or headship. Each shows a picture or shadow of Jesus Christ in type or function. The Scriptures also refer to a specific “Anointed One” to prophetically describe a coming Anointed Person completely different and “other” from anyone mentioned in Scripture. Additionally, where the word “son” is used in the Old Testament it seems to designate a special relationship to the LORD God. Isaiah probably gives one of the best descriptions of Jesus, the Son of God:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”

Son in this passage is connected to a kingly function. He has a government, a government that is described as increasing, with “peace,” and “no end.” Government refers to lordship or headship over a people. But this kingdom is different from what we see today because it is of God. It is a kingdom that He has brought peace to. The Son refers to a unique relationship to the LORD Almighty: He is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty, God, Everlasting, Father, Prince, Peace. Truly Jesus is not just a man! Jesus has a kingly realm and is a king! But Jesus is more than a king! He is King of kings!

If we read the words of Isaiah correctly we can only conclude one thing – Jesus is one with the Father and one with the Holy Spirit (the Counselor). But God is One, here then we have a mystery, hidden from the beginning of time. Jesus is the Son of the living God! He is God the Son! God in Three Persons: Father, Son, and Spirit each a part of the Godhead, the Trinity as it has been described. One of Paul’s statements that interprets this is: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Col. 1:19-20).

If we understand the words of Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” we must conclude then it is about recognizing the Headship (anointed) and Relationship (Son) and His Deity or divine life (of the living God). But these words must be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit to guide us into seeing Jesus Christ as real to make Him known to us in a personal and spiritual way. It is about knowing Jesus Christ as Lord, knowing Him personally, knowing Him in relationship with the body of Christ by His life.

But then Jesus makes an interesting statement. He tells Peter that the statement he made was “this rock” that He would “build” His “church.” How then does Jesus build His church? It is by His headship over us, His relationship with us, and His divine life in us. The New Testament describes those who personally know Jesus as those who have “received Christ Jesus as Lord” and not just receive Him as Lord, but they are then called to live or walk in him in an ever growing relationship, under His headship (anointing) and not just each person, but the body of Christ, each person living together with Him (relationship) by His divine life (the living God) by faith. Jesus Christ desires to be revealed to us and through us to others! That is the rock bottom statement of how Jesus builds His church. Everything else in the New Testament describes this statement.

As I went and did my stretching exercises, push ups, sit ups, and two mile run this morning the thought occurred to me: We need all of the physical parts of our body to function properly in order to have an overall healthy body so to the church, as the body of Christ, in her gatherings, allow each of the different parts to freely function, by the Spirit, under the Headship of Jesus Christ for the health of the whole body of Christ. In so doing we show forth to the world His headship, His relationship, and His divine life.

Isn’t this what Jesus meant when He said: “I will build my church”?

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness…For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Col. 2:6-7).

Necessary Workings in the Body of Christ in an Organic Way
June 27, 2010, 11:34 pm
Filed under: 1- Discovering Organic Church Life Testimony

We had a wonderful time in the Lord with the brothers and sisters today! Our organic church gathering started around 10:30 or so with some brothers and sisters helping the host home with getting prepared for the rest of the church. We enjoyed serving and helping each other get ready! As preparations were made we shared time together waiting for those who were traveling from further away. God brought a young brother to our organic gathering and he came early, bringing some donuts for the fellowship. Me and another brother shared time with our new younger brother and got to know each other. As the rest of the brothers and sisters began to arrive we all spent time greeting each other with a hug welcoming each other and enjoying getting together again in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Kids from the families began to meet together and started in playing games together in the other rooms.

We spent time eating and sharing together. A new family joined our gathering and so the sisters spent some time getting to know her and her children. Some were sharing in smaller groups in the kitchen, some in parts of the living room. After a while one group felt led to sing together. Later a brother felt led to pray for the body of Christ. Others had fun laughing at themselves. Some other sisters handed out the groups song books. The group spent a good time singing songs, hymns and spiritual songs to the Lord, each song led by a different member in the body of Christ. The Lord led many to focus on songs that were meditative and reflected on His wonderful love for us and ours for Him. Many felt comfortable laughing at themselves if they made a mistake in singing! 🙂 We sang songs either with a keyboard that another brother brings to the meetings or a cappella. Another sister read from Philippians 3:7-14. Another song was sung and then we spent more time at this gathering learning about each other, especially our new couples. Each person shared a little about themselves and their hobbies. It was a lot of fun sharing! Later a sister shared a dream that reflected the need to be able to participate in the body of Christ. Others shared their thoughts as it related to them. A brother shared from 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 and the importance in the gatherings for everyone to participate, to function. No function is more important than any other, all are important for seeing the fullness of Christ in the meetings. The brothers felt led to provide financially for a sister and did so in the gathering, blessing her tremendously. The sister was prayed for by the body. We spent some time again sharing with one another, eating (again), and enjoying time together, letting the Lord lead the group. Had some excellent red beans and rice!

We are still detoxing and so issues related to church life and practice seem to get brought up as we gather together, tension has been good in helping the body come together in unity and spiritual growth. Jesus Christ is enlarging His lordship over His body! We discussed who would like to host the church at their home the next time we met so everyone would know. The host family sends out an e-mail later in the week to the body of Christ to remind the brothers and sisters of their address and phone numbers. We spent some time helping clean up.

After some of the families left from the gathering some of our newer families and a couple of families that have been together longer shared about what is organic church life and what is the purpose of the church. We had a great dialogue! Each person shared their hearts openly. Confessions were made as the Lord leaded. Keeping God out of a box of our expectations was felt to be important. The need for building relationships became apparent, both with the Lord and one another, to enable freedom in sharing together and praying for one another. How important it is to spend time together to really know how to encourage, pray for, and love one another! We read Milt Rodriguez’s booklet: The Organic Church ( and because of how succinct it speaks about the nature and freedom of organic church life, the Holy Spirit helped to bring understanding to everyone. We recognized that the early church spent time together daily and from house to house, while we have still generally only been meeting once a week and so try to do everything during our time together.

Later some of the guys spent some time sharing and encouraging a brother whose wife is due this week to give birth to their first baby. The father’s shared testimonies of the wonder of seeing their children born and bringing up their children! The ladies spent time in the kitchen sharing with one another. We talked about meeting at a chinese seafood restaurant on Fri this week and look forward to getting together again! The last of us hugged one another and blessed each other as we left our brother and sister’s home.

We are in process, Jesus is fitting us together! Jesus Christ is revealing Himself more and more and enlarging His life in His body! Lord Jesus Christ move us forward in living by Your life! Praise God.

“…this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
June 26, 2010, 1:26 pm
Filed under: N Letter to the Colossians

After describing the wonderful supremacy of Jesus Christ “in everything,” Paul begins now to describe, by using himself as a model, that knowing Jesus Christ in all of His glory, affects everything else about our lives together in the body of Christ!

We were “once alienated from God and were enemies in (our) minds because of (our) evil behavior,” “but now He has reconciled (us) by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.” This good news is meant to “continue” in our lives. This is not a one time thing, this is not a one time prayer, this is something that “sticks” that remains as part of an experience that continues to grow throughout our physical life on this earth! We are to “continue in (our) faith, established and firm, not removed from the hope held out in the gospel.” We must continue to set our hearts on Him, set our minds on Him, see Him, know Him, our glorious Jesus Christ! Why? Because He is our very life! That is why Paul continues to say:

“This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.”

Paul describes in general the fulfilling of the promise that Jesus Christ gave him back on that Damascus road and the life in Christ Paul has lived up to now. In Acts 9 Ananias was instructed by the Lord to tell Paul, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Because Christ lives in His body, the church, Paul therefore is a servant of the church in every city, wherever they gather. But how Paul has suffered both by the hands of non-Christians and so called Christians. When God’s people suffer, Christ suffers. How much do we need to see that truth, how many times do we haphazardly cause needless pain towards others in the body of Christ, and outside the body of Christ, because of our selfishness and not realize that we are afflicting Jesus that selfsame pain and causing His name to be diminished in the eyes of the world. “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” as he mentioned to the church in Corinth, where many Christians hurt one another on many occasion. But Paul also realizes that being in Christ means to suffer. Perhaps Paul is reflecting back to what he told the Philippians: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” We truly do not know Jesus Christ very well without “the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings.” Not that we go looking for it, but it comes to us when we are living by the Holy Spirit, in an organic way.

Paul rejoices in his sufferings because it was “for the sake of his body, which is the church.” Paul was the church’s servant not the other way around. Paul never controlled a church, he was only a guide, a servant. Even before Paul was beaten in the crowd in Jerusalem, almost killed by a conspiracy, and left in prison for years in Caesarea, then ship wrecked on his way to Rome, and bitten by a poisonous snake (and lived by the way!) he said to the Corinthians in his second letter, years earlier: “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn.” We have nothing to boast.

After Paul was visited by the Lord on the Damascus road, not that that wasn’t awesome enough, Paul told the Galatian Christians, something even more wonderful: “But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace,” Paul tells them God “was pleased to reveal his Son in me.” Can we get a hold of that brothers and sisters! Lord help me get a hold of that – the “Son in me”! Paul was captivated by His glorious Lord Jesus Christ, who lived in him, and was so captivated that nothing was more important than following the Lord, and fulfilling the message given to him by Jesus, the message to “preach him among the Gentiles.”

The message given to Paul, in God’s timing, was not to change peoples lives, not to make better families, not to make earthly societies care for the poor and needy, not to make nations live with each other in peace. The message was that God wants to give us, everyone, Jew and Gentile alike, male and female, poor or rich, all the nations of this world, His life! God wants to get rid of everything, the old person, the sterotypes, the prejudices, and give us a new Person, His Son, Jesus Christ! He wants a new creation! A people that have received Him, who is “other” than us (as T. Austin-Sparks would say). This world is “the dominion of darkness” and must be removed! We must be transferred into a whole other realm, “the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” We are a new kind of people, a nation within nations, wholly different and peculiar. Only Jesus’ life in us can do that.

The full gospel is not some thing, not some gift, not some this or that, the full gospel is the realization that not only has Jesus died and rose again for me and saved me and brought me into a relationship with Himself, but also in every follower of Jesus Christ, HE DWELLS! He lives in me and us and all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we have truly meditated on “the Son he loves,” “the image of the invisible God,” the Creator of “all things,” who was “before all things, and in him all things hold together,” who shed His blood “on the cross,” made us fit to share His life “in the kingdom of light,” “reconciled” by His “physical body through death” and made us “holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation,” all for us so that He could live in me and you, and be “the head of the body” then He changes us from the inside and He manifests His life through us to others. If we could reflect and know the supremacy of Jesus Christ “in everything,” and all that He has done for us, that should do something in us! Oh may we say with Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” How we need to know Jesus and Him crucified!

“…God has arranged the parts in the body…”
June 25, 2010, 2:04 pm
Filed under: J First Letter to the Corinthians

Allow God to use your individual function in the body of Christ, don’t assert that everyone else in the body must have the same function as you.

“But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” 1 Cor. 12:18

Let us see the wonderful colors of our Lord as we meet together in face to face community and praise Him for what He is doing through each of us as He shows Himself creatively and differently through all of the body of Christ, as each one functions to the glory of God!

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” 1 Cor. 12:4-7.

Jesus the Christ, our Lord and God!
June 22, 2010, 1:06 pm
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes

A sampling of New Testament Passages of Jesus the Christ, our Lord and God!
(Passages from New American Standard Bible)

He was from Eternity:

John 1:1-5;
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

His Miraculous Birth:

John 1:14;
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Matthew 1:18-23;
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”

Luke 1:35-38;
The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:47-55;
And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM. He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered {those who were} proud in the thoughts of their heart. “He has brought down rulers from {their} thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. “HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; And sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.”

His Amazing Youth:

Luke 2:47-50;
And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.”
And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s {house?}”
But they did not understand the statement which He had made to them.

His Wonderful Witnesses:

Luke 2:10-14;
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This {will be} a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

Luke 2:26-32;
And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.”

Matthew 2:9-11;
After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over {the place} where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Luke 1:13-17;
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go {as a forerunner} before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

John 1:15-18;
John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ ” For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained {Him.}

Matthew 3:3, 11-12;
For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’ ”
“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

John 1:23;

John 1:29-31;
The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.”

Mark 15:32;
“Let {this} Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him.

Matthew 27:54;
Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

His Incredible Death:

Luke 23:42-46;
And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”
And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” Having said this, He breathed His last.

Matthew 27:50-53;
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

John 19:28-37;
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon {a branch} {of} hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and {that} they might be taken away. So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.” And again another Scripture says, “THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED.”

His Awesome Resurrection:

Matthew 28:2-7;
And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

Luke 24:24-27;
“Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.”
And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

Luke 24:36-48;
While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be to you.” But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.
And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still could not believe {it} because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate {it} before them. Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

John 20:26-31;
After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace {be} with you.”
Then He *said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus *said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed {are} they who did not see, and {yet} believed.”
Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

His Glorious Ascension and the Good News:

Acts 2:36;
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Acts 3:14-21:
“But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, {the one} whom God raised from the dead, {a fact} to which we are witnesses. And on the basis of faith in His name, {it is} the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which {comes} through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until {the} period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

Acts 4:8-12;
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this {name} this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, {but} WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER {stone.} And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 9:22;
But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this {Jesus} is the Christ.

Acts 10:36-43;
“The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)–you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. {You know of} Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and {how} He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, {that is,} to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

Galatians 3:13-14;
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”– in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Galatians 4:4-7;
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

Galatians 6:14;
But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24;
For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 2;2;
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

Philippians 2:5-11;
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, {and} being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Romans 1:1-4;
the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,

Romans 5:6-10;
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath {of God} through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Romans 6:3-4, 8-11;
Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:9-11;
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 10:9-13;
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus {as} Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same {Lord} is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

Romans 14:7-9;
For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Colossians 1:13-27;
For He rescued 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. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, {both} in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the {Father’s} good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, {I say,} whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, {engaged} in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach–if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. Of {this church} I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the {preaching of} the word of God, {that is,} the mystery which has been hidden from the {past} ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 2:6-12;
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, {so} walk in Him, having been firmly rooted {and now} being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, {and} overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Ephesians 1:3-23;
Blessed {be} the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly {places} in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, {that is,} the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of {God’s own} possession, to the praise of His glory. For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which {exists} among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention {of you} in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. {I pray that} the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. {These are} in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly {places,} far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Hebrews 1:1-4;
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

Hebrews 2:14-15;
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

Hebrews 9:11-15;
But when Christ appeared {as} a high priest of the good things to come, {He entered} through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were {committed} under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

1 Peter 1:17-21;
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay {on earth;} knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, {the blood} of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

1 Peter 2:21-24;
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting {Himself} to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

1 Peter 4:1-2, 12-14;
Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God…Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

Jude 24-25;
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, {be} glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

1 Timothy 2:5-6;
For there is one God, {and} one mediator also between God and men, {the} man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony {given} at the proper time.

Titus 2:11-14;
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Titus 3:4-7;
But when the kindness of God our Savior and {His} love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to {the} hope of eternal life.

2 Timothy 2:8-13;
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus {and} with {it} eternal glory. It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

1 John 1:1-7;
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life–and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us–what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and {yet} walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 2:22-25;
Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.

1 John 4:2-4;
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the {spirit} of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

1 John 4:9-15;
By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son {to be} the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son {to be} the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

1 John 5:10-13;
The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Revelation 1:4-8;
John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood–and He has made us {to be} a kingdom, priests to His God and Father–to Him {be} the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Revelation 4:6-11;
And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

Revelation 5:11-14;
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, {be} blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.