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.

“…your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
September 26, 2009, 1:39 pm
Filed under: K Second Letter to the Corinthians

After more than week now I have been reading and re-reading chapters 10 to 13 in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. I really have to say that this is really an incredible section of Scripture. I get a sense of Paul’s urgency and frustration mixed with his love and patience for the church their. This being his last letter to this church, that we know of.

After describing all of his credentials to lay at rest the false boastings of those in Corinth who seem to be trying to pull the church towards false teachings Paul describes what he has gone through, the tortures and trials of sharing the gospel, and concludes his list with his most trying and cross bearing moments: “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?” Are there men and women out in our world today who could say this of themselves!? Where are they? Man, what anxiety Paul must have gone through for years, especially in this church in Corinth. If I were a Christian in Corith after having read this I would be under major guilt for my petty little complaints. Paul had so much desire to see this church become who they already were in Jesus – “a new creation” where “the old has gone, the new has come!”

Many in this church just hadn’t gotten their identity right. They were measuring “themselves by themselves” and comparing “themselves with themselves” instead of being wise and realizing that their identity was Christ’s! When God sees them He sees only Jesus, not themselves! Because Jesus “died for all” we “should no longer live” for ourselves “but for him who died for them and was raised again”! Paul’s hope was to help them see who they were in Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to truly express Jesus through them that enabled the strengthening of the body of Christ. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” What an incredible statement of spiritual maturity, of spiritual fatherhood and spiritual motherhood. May it be that every body of Christ meeting in homes and the workplace everywhere could have spiritual fathers and mothers whose life is marked by a “sincere and pure devotion to Christ” that lives by Jesus resurrected power and allows Jesus to use them to “demolish strongholds” whatever and wherever they may be that keeps people from knowing and loving Jesus and therefore knowing and loving one another.

Like a wedding bride Paul describes the church being “promised…to one husband, to Christ, so that (he) might present you as a pure virgin to him.” Do I have that desire? Does His body everywhere have that desire? Could we as followers of Jesus desire that when we meet together in our homes we could look at ourselves as Jesus bride, “a pure virgin” who has a “sincere and pure devotion to Christ”? Could we instead of comparing ourselves with ourselves focus on having a sincere and pure devotion to Jesus instead? Instead of focusing on everything else instead of Jesus could we make Jesus the Head of His body when we meet together? Could we refrain from our self boasting or taking control of the meetings so that “no one will think more of (you) than is warranted by what (you) do or say”? Can we humble ourselves to follow Jesus simple command to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him? What do I need to die to? What do we need to die to? Our extrovert or introvert personality? Our gifts? Our neediness? Our heritage? Our doctrines? Could we think of others instead of ourselves? Could “everything we do (be done) for (each others) strengthening”? “He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him to serve you.” Only through crucifixion will we find a life of resurrection power.

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?” If we are in Christ we are a new creation, we do not need to live like we use to, Jesus lives in us, our identity is Jesus! We CAN live by the life of Jesus, we CAN love, but it comes only through the cross! Thank you Lord that you will help me bear the cross and through it find your resurrected power! Jesus must be made Lord, Head of His Body! When we assemble together in the name of the Lord Jesus then His power will truly be revealed in our midst!

“Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints send their greetings. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Amen!

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
September 19, 2009, 10:01 am
Filed under: K Second Letter to the Corinthians

As I have read and re-read chapters 8 and 9 in 2 Corinthians I am amazed at this statement that Paul makes: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” The words “all” and “every” just jump out at you! This seems to be the results of a follower of Christ who is focused on Christ.

Paul had talked to the Corinthians about how they were given “freedom” because of “the Spirit of the Lord” who has given them “life,” they were “jars of clay” meant “to show that this all-surpassing power is from God,” to “live by faith, not by sight,” “a new creation” and “the temple of the living God” and after having gone through “sorrow” they had grown in their affection for Paul and for one another. This affection for one another was now being practically shown in giving, in “rich generosity.”

A concern for the welfare of Christians in Jerusalem apparently sparked the idea in some churches in Macedonia and now Achaia is to give back to these Christians whom God used first to share the good news of Jesus Christ, whom they had benefited from. Paul’s concern though, knowing the Corinthians, was the need to encourage the Corinthians to keep their commitments they had previously made in this area. Paul mentions “the grace that God has given” and to me this speaks that while we may have concern for others, it really is a grace that Jesus gives us to meet the needs of others, when we make a choice by faith to do the right thing, it is Jesus who is moving, desiring, to express Himself through us by the Holy Spirit to give, because God loves, and His desire is to express that love through us to others. We are compelled to love because of His desire to love!

Paul mentions “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” An amazing statement! How is my sincerity when it comes to loving others? How is the church’s sincerity when it comes to loving one another? Is it because of a genuine love for others, is it a sincere love for others, or is it motivated by something else?

Paul mentions that “at the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality…” This reminds me of the very beginning of the Christian life at the birth of the church in Acts chapter 2 where it says that “all the believers were together and had everything in common…they gave to anyone as he had need” and also in chapter 5 “all the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had…There were no needy persons among them.” Is it possible that when we practically meet the needs of our fellow believers in Christ the issue is not so much as meeting each other’s needs as it really is about growing closer together in our relationship with Jesus? As Jesus prayed “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” It is about unity in the body of Christ. It is about Jesus desire to build His body so that it can express itself through love to others and so draw others into a relationship with Himself.

So gifts that we give to others, should be of “rich generosity,” it is “the privilege of sharing,” an “act of grace,” to “excel in this grace of giving,” a “test” of “the sincerity of your love,” an “eager willingness,” a “liberal gift,” “the proof of your love,” “your eagerness to help,” “ready to give,” “the generous gift,” “he has decided in his heart to give,” “cheerful giver,” and “supplying the needs of God’s people.” The results bring “thanksgiving to God” and “overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God,” and “men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ,” “and in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.”

We are being a light to the world, so that others will praise God! The results brings not just God’s grace, but “all grace abound to you.” “God is able”! “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift”! Lord help me and your body to “excel in this grace of giving.”

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
September 16, 2009, 1:54 am
Filed under: K Second Letter to the Corinthians

I have been reading and re-reading Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth now this week, chapters 5-8 specifically. It seems God continues to reveal to me things about this passage. One day it’s one thing, then another day God brings up something else. Can’t get out of it! Perhaps finally sharing my thoughts God will release me to finish the letter!

What an incredible letter this is that describes in practical terms how an organic church, one that focuses on Jesus completely in a shared life together in the everyday circumstances of life, can express Jesus love to one another, friends, and others we meet. In fact the world cannot truly recognize the difference that Jesus makes in our life unless they first see us as “jars of clay” so that Jesus can “show (his) … all-surpassing power is from God.” Our bodies are only “jars of clay” and an “earthly tent” that was never meant to die, but because of sin Jesus had to come to die “for all” you and I so we wouldn’t have to!

Having a relationship with Jesus means that “we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” so that we long for our “heavenly dwelling.” Why do I feel like this? Because “God…made us for this very purpose” to desire nothing but Jesus forever! And it’s guaranteed! I know it’s a guarantee because He “has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come”! As a result, like Paul says “we are always confident”! Are you confident of your place in heaven because of Jesus? Paul says “we live by faith, not by sight.” Faith in Jesus. This is a cursed world that causes us to “groan” for “our heavenly dwelling.” Didn’t I feel it today at work! But even though we live in this world, we are not of it. We have the Holy Spirit in us and we know where we are going! Jesus has secured a place for me in heaven that cannot be taken away!

“So we make it our goal to please him” because one day “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord.” Jesus’ love compels me to love others so that they too can know Jesus love for them! I can love like Jesus did because I am no longer my old self. Jesus took it all away on the cross! I am “a new creation”! My life is no longer my own, like Paul said in his first letter, therefore I can bear fruit of the Spirit, love – “the old has gone, the new has come”! “All this is from God”! God has done this for us so that we can share that love with others! Because Jesus took all my sin on that cross, my sin is no longer counted “against” me! I am clean! I have “become the righteousness of God”! When God sees me He only sees Jesus! Because of “these promises” I do not have to do what is wrong anymore! “We are the temple of the living God”! A temple that is the place where God desires to dwell richly and fully! As the body of Christ Jesus desires to express Himself to everyone we meet.

Everyone needs Jesus! As a result we must learn to let Jesus open “wide” our “hearts,” to “make room for” other followers of Jesus in our “hearts.” Because Jesus lives in them! To not open wide my heart or make room in my heart for other believers means to not open my heart or make room in my heart for Jesus!!! How could I do that! Paul describes a situation when he was “harassed at every turn – conflict on the outside, fears within” and “downcast,” how, after not finding Titus, one of his co-workers for some time, and then finally meeting him, God comforted him and his other companions. And Paul was even more comforted after finding out how the church in Corinth had taken the words he had written from his former letter. Titus mentions the Corinthians to Paul “about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.” I can only imagine the joy Paul must have had after all the junk the church there was going through, working through the specific problems, and then to find out how they took his words in the right way must have been a relief – they got it!

How important it is to let the crucifixion of our lives occur, the denying of self and the bearing of the cross, because it leads to a resurrected life, a life of Jesus’ resurrection power! “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” Not only did Titus bring encouragement to Paul and his church planting team, but he mentioned how “we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.”

I pray I and my family and our other brothers and sisters in Christ will grow closer to each other, where we can truly take off the masks and learn and grow through the hurts of our lives. Only in this way will our “affection for” one another become “all the greater when” we remember how we were obedient to the teachings of the Lord Jesus. The results will lead to Jesus’ resurrected power set loose our lives, through our “jars of clay,” so others can see Jesus live through us! Be glorified Lord Jesus!

“…the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
September 11, 2009, 2:16 am
Filed under: K Second Letter to the Corinthians

As I read the first four chapters of Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, and ”all the saints throughout Achaia” I can sense Paul describing more and more the desire for Jesus to flow and express Himself through us to one another. These first four chapters seems to bring the themes of suffering and comfort together and describes how they relate to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

God comforts us through His Spirit as we comfort one another. And not only comfort for a particular “trouble” but “all our troubles”! Paul even describes his trouble as having “felt the sentence of death” (what worse trouble could any of us ever have!) but Paul didn’t look at his trouble as something to complain about but as an opportunity for God to do His work allowing Paul to so rely on God, because he knew God “raises the dead.” Paul’s life was a series of crucifixions and resurrections! Constantly dieing to himself and being raised to newness of life. All for “the glory of God.” Could we desire the same thing?

How could Paul say these things? Because “it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ” and that “He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” Man, Paul had hope and because of “such a hope, we are very bold”! “God is faithful” and Paul knew the faithfulness of God!

Paul then relates this to the relationships within the body of Christ, his own with the church and within the body itself. Jesus desires to express Himself through us to one another in loving relationships! Paul pointed out to the church that as an apostle he was a servant, not a leader. If anyone decides to “lord it over your faith” then they are not being a servant of the church, because servants “work with” the church “for your joy.” He even describes his “depth” of love for the church how what he wrote from his first letter to the church was done “out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears.” May I and every follower of Christ always in great prayer and thoughtfulness, with God’s power and words, speak honestly with one another. How important confession and forgiveness to one another is! If we do not forgive then Jesus is not expressing Himself through me/us. Jesus, the one who forgave us of all our sins!

Paul says that “through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him…To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life”! The Christian life is about dieing and living. My life as a follower of Jesus is about denying myself, thinking of others instead of myself, dieing to self, taking up my cross, and following Jesus in His resurrection life, living in His power, through His Spirit. It is “the Spirit (that) gives life” and through us, our human bodies, weak as they are, “jars of clay,” the Spirit is God’s “treasure” in us, our weak bodies, “to show that his all-surpassing power is from God.” Am I worn out from what I do for God? Then is God really at work through me or am I doing all the work? How much of God’s glory is really shining through His body? Do others praise God or do they praise the programs?

Through crucifixion and resurrection God desires we “reflect the Lord’s glory…being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit”! My life as a follower of Jesus then is one that is in transformation, that comes from Jesus living His life of love through me to one another! Jesus expressing Himself through me to others, finding a home in which to dwell, to live fully, so that lives can be changed and transformed, where people can truly find hope and life! Lord be glorified in your church and in Christ Jesus, forever and ever, Amen!