JohnSWilson3 Blog

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.”

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.” Matthew 13:44.

“But seek his kingdom…Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” Luke 12:31a,32,34, 13:18-19.

“God…was pleased to reveal his Son in me…Christ lives in me…I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 1:15-16, 2:20, 4:19, 5:25.

“…God, who tests our hearts…the Word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe…May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts…” 1 Thessalonians 2:4,13, 3:12,13.

“…that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11.

“…God has been making it grow…God…makes things grow…the Holy Spirit, who is in you…But God has put the body together…you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it…follow the way of love.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, 6:19, 12:24,27, 14:1.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7.

“…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus…it is God who works in you to will and act in order to fulfill his good purpose…the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” Phlippians 1:6, 2:13, 3:8.

“…if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you…his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:10-11.

“…that you may know him better…that you may know…the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe…God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ…he might show the incomparable riches of his grace…the boundless riches of Christ…I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…” Ephesians 1:17-19, 2:4,5,7, 3:8,16-17.

“…God has chosen to make known…the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory…in Christ you have been brought to fullness…Christ, who is your life” Colossians 1:27, 2:10, 3:4.

” ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’…See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks…we have a clear conscience…” Hebrews 3:15, 12:25, 13:18.

“God’s work…is by faith. The goal…is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith…take hold of the life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 1:4,5, 6:19.

Verses from Today’s New International Version.

A Perspective of the Ekklesias of Galatia and the Hebrews
July 17, 2011, 1:29 pm
Filed under: G Letter to the Galatians, Q - Letter to Hebrews

In the letter to Hebrews chapters 5 and 6 appears to be a generalization of the previous four chapters. The author has described how great Christ Jesus is compared to angels, Moses, David, Joshua, and the high priest. Paul has given some of the greatest writings of the supremacy and centrality of Jesus Christ short of his letters to the church in Colosse and Ephesus. In regards to the Hebrews he has continued to remind the brothers and sisters to stay focused on Christ, in whom is salvation, who is merciful and faithful, in whom we can find “timely help.” Together as they hear and believe Christ, their indwelling Lord, living by His life, following what He says, they will enter His rest.

Because of the constant reminders there is a sense that the Hebrew believers were perhaps drifting back, falling back to the legalism, the religion of Judaism instead of moving forward in their life in Christ. Perhaps Paul is reminded of the problem that had occurred in the Galatian churches where Paul states in rhetorical questions:

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing – if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?”

It is interesting that even though in Galatians Paul does not mention the children of Israel in the desert you can perhaps see the same thing occurring with the ekklesias in Galatia. The people of Israel had seen what God had done for forty years! The Galatians had seen what Christ had done clearly among them. The people of Israel were to hear and believe God. The Galatians had received the Spirit by hearing and believing. But now the Galatian brothers and sisters were falling back to the legalism of the Law versus living by the life of the Spirit of Christ. This appears to be the same issues occurring with the Hebrew believers.

How important it is to fix our “thoughts on Jesus,” to “consider fully the apostle and high priest of our confession – Jesus.” How important it is to be involved in each others lives with Christ as our focus, “encouraging one another daily,” entering His “rest.” Hearing and believing our indwelling Lord together and loving one another is obeying and living by the life of Christ.

Jesus is “a great high priest,” He suffered, was “tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin” and that He can “sympathize with our weaknesses.” Christ has destroyed the devil’s power! The devil’s power is only by his “craftinesses” in deceiving us about our life in Christ. Jesus has taken away the “fear of death” and now calls us brothers and sisters! Christ has come to be our help! He is “merciful and faithful” and has become our life! We can go to Him, when we are tempted, when we are suffering, to “the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Christ is ready to help us! He will be merciful and gracious to us! Let us encourage one another daily to hear Him, believe Him, and follow what He says, loving one another.

Expressions of Christ in us.
May 7, 2011, 4:22 pm
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes, G Letter to the Galatians

Some thoughts shared with a brother:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are expressions of Christ in us. They can be expressed in word or deed. Christ has given each of us a measure of His life which I guess is the same as a measure of His love, since God is love. We love differently, or have a different love language as I have learned see now a’days, we also need to recognize that we are all at different levels of love towards each other and in knowing more of Christ’s love, trust so to speak, e.g. do we trust each other to love one another deeply? Love with faith takes time.

Slaves of Christ
April 3, 2011, 2:07 pm
Filed under: G Letter to the Galatians

Slaves of Christ! Are we really? Paul says that he is and he also says we are to be to one another. Perhaps Paul’s point and emphasis he makes to the churches in Galatia is a point and emphasis that all churches should take heed and warning. I am thinking that when the translators chose the word “servant” instead of the actual word “slave” it lost the true meaning of what Paul was trying to tell the churches. In Christ we are indeed slaves of Christ and to one another.

The word “slave” (doulos) is the actual Greek word for many words but the translators chose the word “servant.” “Doulos” according to Vines means “in bondage.” (1) Galatians 1:10 is a good example. The original rendering is “…of Christ a slave I would not have been” (2) but is translated servant in most translations: “…I would not be a servant of Christ” (NIV). Paul further describes this thought in his letter to the church in Rome, how in Christ we are free from sin and are “enslaved to righteousness” and “enslaved to God” the fruit of which is the manifestation of His life in and through us.

I find it fascinating that in Gal 5:13 our translations say “serve one another in love” but the literal translation is “through love serve ye as slaves one another” and is better translated “be enslaved to one another in love.” (3) While we are slaves of Christ we are at the same time to be enslaved to one another in love. Wow! Paul continues this thought by then saying to the churches in Galatia: “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” This command from the Old Covenant and now the New Covenant has a corporate context. But even more so, in the New Covenant, in Christ, we now have Christ as our life and we are internally motivated by His life to love with His love! And Christ’s love is always sacrificial, always gives away. How we need spiritual sight, a change in how we think of one another, being in Christ and living by His life to be enslaved to one another in love.

I do want to point out that this does not mean being enslaved to the fleshly ideas or motivations of one another, since in Christ we are free from sin since the context is “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature…” Paul also brings this up quite clearly in the analogy of Sarah and Hagar with the New and Old Covenants respectively, the free woman and the slave woman of Abraham and the idea that while we are free from sin and enslaved to Christ and that we are also at the same time sons of God. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” We are free from sin and now a son, given freedom in Christ, but now enslaved and one with the Christ who is our life, and His life always manifests love. Think that this also gives a wonderful sense of the incredible unity that we have together in Christ. We are members of one body, we are one in Christ. In Christ we are called no longer to live our lives for ourselves. I think this gives greater meaning to our understanding of fellowship for sure! Amazing!

There is a main Greek word for “servant” and one for “slave.” In his letter to the Galatians Paul does use the word “diakonos” (in 2:17), often translated minister or deacon, but he uses the word in a negative sense of Christ being a “servant” of sin, which is totally abhorrent! This is in context with the churches misunderstanding of the need to be sin managers, using the law as an outward restraint, which was the object of the Old Covenant, versus sin being crucified, along with ourselves, with Christ who now internally motivates us by His life, which again is the object of the New Covenant. Of course the main emphasis of Paul’s letter with the churches in Galatia was primarily to help these new churches see that moving towards legalism and institutionalism was moving toward a form of slavery and away from Christ.

A point to add. The main problem with how the word servant “diakonos” is translated as “minister” or “deacon” in the other letters in the New Testament is it tends to give an institutional sense to the word versus the natural organic love expressed when one serves another by Christ’s life. Paul was totally against institutionalism and legalism, attempts to make Christ’s life, the life of His body, a thing or a system. No wonder Paul tells the believers in Galatia to “live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature…But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.” So if we camp out on a theology, a doctrine, a way of doing something, make Christ’s life into a thing or system, so that it takes the place of Christ as we gather, we create a law, and have made Christ’s life, who is our life, corrupt. May it not be so!

In Christ, we are free from sin and now slaves of Christ! He is our life. “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. I do not set side the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” Let us so love one another by His life, enslaved to one another in love, that His fruit of love will be manifested to all who see Him in us.

(1) W.E. Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 562.
(2) Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 549.
(3) Ibid, 559.

“…what counts is a new creation.”
August 18, 2009, 12:09 pm
Filed under: G Letter to the Galatians

Reading the Letter to Galatians by Paul I got a sense of balance after having read the Letter of James yesterday. James seemed to focus on the practical experiences of loving your neighbor as yourself while Paul seemed to focus on the freedom Christ has given every believer in His Body to freely express Jesus, His love, towards one another.

Paul was adamant in this letter that faith in Jesus is all that is necessary for salvation, and THAT salvation brings freedom…”It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” and that anything that attempts to take away that freedom as a believer is against this good news of freedom in Jesus. Paul mentions the Jewish law and circumcision a few times so possibly there were Jewish people, perhaps followers of Jesus who were still under the impression that even though they received Jesus Christ as Lord they must still meet all the requirements of the law and traditions. Paul of course said how silly that was because no one can and because the law was only meant to “lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” It is possible that these Jewish people and maybe even Gentile religious people still had not realized that Jesus had set them free from all of the stuff that keeps us from fully focusing on Jesus, keeping them enslaved in their addictions. I know I can be pretty conscientious about things, I like a lot of order most times, but I have realized that when I try to be in control I usually mess things up or the relationships I have suffer. Maybe this is what Paul was referring to?

People who like to control others are not reflecting the reality of the good news of Jesus. He set us free not only from religion but also from distinctions or prejudices that we make, such as what Jesus said about the Gentiles who lord it over others. When the Body of Christ comes together everyone is equal at the foot of the cross, “you are all one in Christ Jesus.” There are no distinctions, so who ever is in the Body of Christ you have freedom to love one another, to serve in love, as Christ loved us! There is no clergy/priest and laity distinctions in the Body of Christ, those were Old Testament law distinctions, everyone has freedom to participate and share. Perhaps Paul was referring to this because those who lord it over others intimidate others, perhaps unintentionally, not allowing the freedom to participate in the Body of Christ. Is this what happens in traditional or contemporary churches today? Do I/you have the freedom in Christ to participate in the Body like is mentioned by Paul in Galatians?

Paul said the only thing that counts in the Body of Christ “is faith expressing itself through love” and being “a new creation.” That new creation, you and I who are followers of Jesus, have freedom to live a life of love, living “by the Spirit” and keeping “in step with the Spirit” not the works “of the sinful nature.” “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. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.”

Lord help me/us live by Your life so that we may “do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Live in me, through me, to Your Body in freedom, You are the Head, be in control, be glorified!