Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Colossians 4:2-6

Colossians 4:3 (ESV)

[3] At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—

Two thoughts stood out to me this morning as I read through Colossians 4:1-6. The first is found in the above verse. When we know of someone who is wrongly imprisoned for their faith our first prayer is for their protection and release. Paul doesn't ask for his release. He asks for open doors to share the gospel and for clarity of speech when those opportunities arise. This reveals to us something of Paul's heart. When you know that this life is temporary, that your hope goes beyond this life, and that those around you have no hope, your perspective changes. The most important thing in life is no longer to survive and thrive. It is to reveal the truth of Christ wherever you find yourself. What if our prayers were less about getting out of uncomfortable situations and more about open doors for the gospel in those uncomfortable situations? What difference would that make in us and in those around us?

 

Second, Colossians 4:5 says, "Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time." Notice that it does not say, "Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, being very careful not to be tainted by their sin." It does not say, "… making sure you don't look like them." It does not say, "Walk in wisdom … being wary." It says, "… making the best use of the time." That statement is followed by a call for gracious speech and the need for wisdom to know how to answer a person." This is about evangelism. This is about being the light of Christ in a dark world. This is about sharing the truth of Christ. When we are more concerned about not being tainted than we are about sharing Christ we never impact our world with the gospel. When we are more concerned about who might see me and what they might think than we are about lost souls we will never be the witnesses we were called to be. Yes, we need to guard ourselves against sin. There are certain places that we should probably not go. A redeemed alcoholic should probably not be doing bar evangelism. But we must be more concerned about being a witness than about being tainted.

 

He left the splendor of Heaven

Knowing his destiny

Was the lonely hill of Golgotha

There to lay down his life for me.

 

We are called to love as Jesus loved. We are called to emulate the one the world called a Friend of Sinners. We are to be witnesses to the one who became tainted for us so that we might become untainted. We are to walk in the steps of the one who sat at the well and chatted with a woman the religious people of the day considered unclean. Are we willing to go there for the sake of the gospel?

 

Father, I confess that too often I am more motivated by my desire for personal peace and affluence than I am by the lost condition of the world in which I live. Forgive me. Today let me see the world through your eyes. Let me be the presence of Christ in a lost and broken world. Let me be more concerned about the spiritual condition of others than about my own comfort.

 

By His grace,

Rick Weinert

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Luke 2:29

Luk 2:29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word" (ESV)

What is the one thing that you feel you need to do before you die? When I was young I would hear people say that they were ready for the Lord to return any time, or they were ready to go to Heaven. I would think, "I know Heaven is a great place, but there are some things I want to see, or do, or experience before I go there."

For Simeon there was just one thing he wanted to see, the "consolation of Israel." That consolation, or comfort, came in the person of an 8 day old baby, Jesus. When he saw Jesus he had seen everything he needed to see. When he held Jesus he had done everything he needed to do. He was ready to go.

The things on our "bucket list" say a lot about what we value. Maybe we need to rethink the things we need to see and do before we "kick the bucket." Maybe seeing our neighbor come to faith in Christ is more important than seeing a lion in the wild or visiting an historic sight we always wanted to see. Maybe giving to the needy, or serving in the name of Jesus, or taking the gospel to someone I've never met is more important than taking my dream vacation. What do my priorities say about my values? What do they teach my children?

Father, may I be as single minded as Simeon. May my values and priorities be set by your Word and your Spirit.

By His grace,
Rick Weinert

Friday, April 4, 2014

Luke 2:22

Luke 2:22 (ESV)

[22] And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord

 

As Jesus parents are bringing him to the temple Simeon recognized who he was and praised God. There is a clue in these verses that makes this an incredible event. If Simeon was looking for the consolation of Israel, as the passage indicates, then he was looking for Messiah. Messiah is the future King of Israel in the line of David. One would expect then that he would be born into a relatively wealthy family. Verse 24 indicates that the offering Joseph and Mary are bringing is in compliance with the Law which requires "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons." Leviticus 8 specifies that the correct offering is a lamb, but if the family cannot afford one then the turtledoves or pigeons are acceptable. This seems to indicate that Jesus family is too poor to pay for a lamb.

 

Why would Simeon give this poor family a second look? Verses 25-26 hold the key. They tell us that "the Holy Spirit was upon him. 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." Here was a man who was used to listening to the leading of the Spirit. It was not external conditions and experiences that he relied on for truth and understanding, but the Spirit. Hebrews 5:14 says that those who are spiritually mature "have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil." Maybe part of the reason that we find ourselves lacking discernment and not hearing the promptings of the Holy Spirit is because we are not used to listening.

 

Simeon, a man described as "righteous and devout," had his powers of discernment trained to hear the Holy Spirit and when an infant, the child of a poor Jewish family, was carried into the temple he immediately recognized Messiah. Father, may my powers of discernment be trained to hear you as well.

 

By His grace,

Rick Weinert

Isaiah 50

Isaiah 50:4-7 (ESV) The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him w...