The Apostle Paul is now thanking the people who helped him get these letters out to churches, while he sits in prison in Rome. What would be your goal, when sitting in prison? Would you want to reach out to people you don’t know, and share the gospel like Paul did? Paul thanks those around him for their part in his ministry with local churches. I spent the week at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey learning about the Art of Transitional Ministry, and in this video teaching I share with the church the teaching I learned. There are many things a church can do, and many things a transitional pastor can do when leading a church.
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See, in our day, as in theirs, it is easy to learn about religion and play all the right games with church. This game is not what Paul had in mind. He was empowering his people to no longer live in the darkness of the world, rather to live in the light of God. Jesus has redeemed us to be light in this dark world, and it has nothing to do with us, it’s all Jesus. This portion of Paul’s letter makes a stand that he wants people to grow up in God, and be joyful in thanksgiving, so that we truly live into our real identity in Christ. Maybe these words are foreign to you, if you don’t understand where your identity lies. Maybe you need to realize that in Jesus, you are a new person; transformed for God’s good work in the world. This is what Paul is talking about.
Paul the Apostle wrote a letter to a group of faith people he didn’t know, in a city where he wouldn’t visit, and wanted to encourage them in their faith. He wanted them to remember their purpose in Jesus, not getting caught up in superstitious practices of mysticism and emotional faith. Paul wants us to know, in our present culture, that we don’t need to fall victim to relativism of truth. Today, everyone’s truth is relative to their social culture and “their perspective” while missing the person of Jesus Christ. This truth comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is displayed in transformation of the soul while bearing fruit in spiritual maturity of faith. Don’t be dismayed by the distractions in the world, the politics that lead us into angry arguments, or taking sides on issues that divide people. Place your faith in Jesus Christ and trust that Jesus is enough for complete salvation. Our purpose is to share this Gospel with others. Don’t forget your purpose.
Sometimes we get caught up thinking that our little bit of faith is not enough to change the world. Sometime we think we need to solve EVERYTHING, so we miss out on being a solution in one small thing. We can even post about things we hear around the world, and yet not even be involved in helping our neighbor. How would you have heard the parable of the Good Samaritan back in the day when Jesus told this lawyer how to love his neighbor? What kind of response does it call out in you? Are you an apathetic person regarding your faith?
Luke 19 in the Gospels, is a description of how Jesus the Messiah walked from the Mount of Olives to the city of Jerusalem with people praising him as God. He rode on a donkey which had never been ridden on, and people worshiped Jesus as God. The religious leaders wanted Jesus to rebuke his followers for singing to him. He refused. Then Jesus told them they missed out on the work of God because they didn’t notice the time of God’s coming. Do you know what time it is? Have you recognized the timing of God, to send Jesus to earth as a ransom for your soul. God has made a way to know himself, through Jesus, His only Son. Don’t miss out on the timing of God in your life. Don’t let pride get in the way of you recognizing God’s salvation.
Paul, the Apostle, teaches people they can have peace with God. When we are anxious, we are to give our anxiety to God through prayer petitions and offerings to God. We can learn to no longer be anxious about anything, but in everything, in every way, give your thoughts to God and He will guard your hearts and minds in God’s understanding of Peace. Wouldn’t it be nice to stop worrying about things we can’t control anyways? Wouldn’t it be something to be able to not fret over money, or time, or upcoming events? There is a way to learn the Peace of God for every situation.
You have more power to change your thinking, than you might realize. The Bible tells us that we are renew our mind daily, on God’s Word for us. Many of us get defeated by our own wayward way of thinking. Many people don’t live a victorious life in God. People tend to believe the lies of satan and don’t end up believing in themselves at all. How do we overcome a negative mindset? One of the tactics of overcoming negative thinking is to identify strongholds in your life, and then replace the strongholds with biblical promises of God. It can be so defeating to live with lies from the enemy, but so freeing to live into the truth of God through the Bible. We need to create a new way of thinking.