“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) The Letter to the Ephesians (Brad Toy)
2) Carnal or Spiritual? (Wayne Goff)
The Letter to the Ephesians
The letter the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus is truly an amazing letter. It speaks of unity, eternal matters, things that are now revealed that had been hidden for thousands of years, ways of marriage, and even spiritual warfare. And this letter is unique in that Paul does not address any problems or errors that are occurring there. The message is simply one that speaks of profound theological truths and then how to apply those truths to our everyday Christian living (our walk). With all this letter has to offer, consider just one part of this brilliant text.
Paul erupts with this praise statement, “Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (1:3). He then goes on to note at least 15 areas where the Christian is blessed because of being in Christ! Fifteen areas! Here are the list and note these incalculable gifts the child of God has by being “in Christ” (1:4-14):
–just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,–having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,–to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved,–In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,–having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,–that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, in Him.–In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.–In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
This letter is amazing, awe-inspiring and at the same time extremely humbling. Why would God bestow such rich gifts to such unworthy people? Let us be thankful, grateful and praise Him, as Paul did, and live each day in honor of such incredible blessings.
— Via the Fort Logan church of Christ, Stanford, Kentucky, December 14, 2017
Carnal or Spiritual?
The apostle Paul stresses in Romans 8 that those who are “in Christ Jesus” should “not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (v. 1). Every Christian would give lip service to the concept, but perhaps a little self-reflection would be worthwhile for all of us!
“The Things Of The Flesh”
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on things of the flesh…” (Rom. 8:5). Robertson L. Whiteside had this to say on the subject:
“To mind the things of the flesh is to give our time and attention to the things of this life. To do so is to leave God and our eternal welfare out of consideration. We need to be careful, for it is easy for us in our struggles to make a living to forget God and look only to our material interests…” [Commentary on Romans, pp. 171-172].
You see from his comment that one can mind “the things of the flesh” to the neglect of his spiritual well-being, and that constitutes a “carnal person”! I’m afraid that we too often think of someone who is committing those terrible sins of fornication, adultery, drug addiction, etc. as being the carnal ones. In fact, a person who seems to be very good in the eyes of the world, and sometimes in our eyes, could be very carnal!
Remember the parable of a certain rich man in Luke 12:16-21? He was rich, a successful farmer, with a bountiful crop, who wisely(?) chose to store his additional crops in bigger barns and then take his ease and eat, drink and be merry. Do you see anything wrong with this picture? Jesus did and said as much. God took his life that very night and his “soul would be required” of him — then whose will those things be? Jesus’ warning to us: “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (v. 21)! This is the “carnal man” of Romans 8! He is not a bad person in the eyes of the world, but he is spiritually destitute while he takes care of the things of this life only. Americans should take note of this because it is our besetting sin.
“The Things Of The Spirit”
“…But those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:5). Whiteside went on to say this:
“…To mind the things of the spirit is to look to the the things that fit the spirit for acceptable service to God in this life and that will prepare it for the joys of the next life.”
So those who live according to the spirit mind the things that pertain to the Spirit’s instructions in God’s Word, 1 Corinthians 2:9-12. Paul explained in 1 Corinthians that no man knows the things of God except the Spirit of God, Who was given to the apostles for the revelation of the mind of God!
Those who “live according to the Spirit” read, study, understand, and follow these things! Paul even warned in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The “natural man” of this passage is the same as the “carnal” (worldly) man of Romans 8!
Yes, “spiritually-discerned” means a disciple of Christ has taken the time to develop a taste and ability to understand God’s Word. He begins as a babe in Christ who drinks spiritual “milk” (1 Pet. 2:2). As he matures, he eats the meatier things of the Word (Heb. 5:12-14). The Christian who thinks he is “spiritual” should ask himself exactly how much he studies, understands and practices God’s Word? I’m afraid there are too many malnourished believers who have not even considered whether or not they are “spiritual” according to Romans 8. Let this brief article be an “eye-opener” for you.
— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 19, Page 2, May 12, 2019
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)