Faith and its substance

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Scripture reference ( Hebrews 11:1-6)

Illustration: Imagine for a moment you are standing on the seashore, gazing at a large ocean liner. The sun is shining, there is no wind and the sea is calm. Suddenly, to your amazement, about 30 people dive off the end of the ship and cling to a lifeboat.

You shake your head in disbelief at their foolishness. Then, without warning, that great ocean-liner strikes an iceberg and suddenly sinks, taking with it all on board.

Those who looked like fools in abandoning the ship were actually wise, and those who seemed wise by staying on board, were in truth, fools!

We don’t have to have to much perception to see that this great ocean liner, mother earth, is slowly sinking. Economically, politically, and industrially, she is reeling to and fro. We have enough major problems to sink a ship—inflation, unemployment, starvation, violence, corruption, population explosion, drug addiction, etc.

The first words from the “captain of our salvation” in Mark 1:15 are to abandon ship (repent and believe the gospel), before judgement falls. In that day, those who have obeyed His word (exercised faith) will be seen by the world to be wise, and those who refused to obey the command will —sadly—–but surely—- perish.

11 Now faith is the certainty of things [a]hoped for, a [b]proof of things not seen. For by it the people of old [c]gained approval.

By faith we understand that the [d]world has been created by the word of God so that what is seen has not been made out of things that are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he was attested to be righteous, God testifying [e]about his gifts, and through [f]faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for before he was taken up, he was attested to have been pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for the one who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him.

Those words in Hebrews tell us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for. The conviction of things not seen. They tell us it is impossible to please God or be saved by God without faith. Faith it seems, is very important, not just in this life, but the one to come. So, let’s take some time and look into what the word of God says about faith and how it applies to us.

FOCUS ONE: The nature of faith 

 Genesis 15:1-6 (Abraham and the promise)

Almost ten years had passed since the original promises were given. Neither Lot his nephew nor Eliezer his steward could fulfill the promise. Who then is going to be his heir? That’s the 50 million dollar question on Abrams mind.

Questions abound, but here we see God graciously revealing Himself as the Lord of the covenant. God, more explicitly, makes the promise clearer to Abram. The heir would be his very own son who was yet to be born. Greater than that the Lord tells him that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens. God reaffirms His oath to Abram and Abram believed! His faith, we read, was “accounted to him as righteousness,” that is, a God righteousness, not a works righteousness.

Abraham exercised great faith, and that is amazing considering the lack of evidence for those promises being fulfilled. So, it appears that there is a vital difference between knowledge and faith, so, lets explore that a bit further.

FOCUS TWO: Hebrews 11:1-3 (faith the substance)

Here we can quickly gauge that there is a difference between (knowledge) and (faith). Knowledge is based on experience while faith is based on testimony. We exercise faith ever day in our society. For example, a check is accepted by faith (the issuer promised that he has the money in his account). one commentator explains: “Gospel faith rises above this everyday type of faith in one major essential: belief in the divine testimony. We have never seen God, heaven, angels, etc. The divine word, however, testifies to their existence. FAITH takes this divine testimony and acts upon it. Faith appropriates all the promises of God and proceeds on the basis of those promises. Faith gives substance to things that are not yet seen. By faith we apprehend the presently invisible and gain greater assurance of its reality.”Faith is taking almighty God at His word, asking no questions. That is what Abraham did and that is what all these people in the hall of faith recorded here did!

But faith also has many benefits.

  1. Jeremiah 17:7-8 (Blessings of)

These words remind me of Psalm one, they are almost identical. Here as in Psalm one the writer is describing the blessedness which comes to the person who trusts in the Lord. The basic idea here in a life of faith is stability (like a tree planted).

“The tree that has found a source of sustenance by putting down deep roots also yields its fruit in season, even though drought surrounds it. The roots of the life of the blessed man are found in God, in whom is his trust. Such a life, such faith, produces holiness and righteous deeds.”

  • Philippians 1:6 (God will complete what He started)

Another wonderful benefit and great encouragement is found in these words. God is the originator of our faith in Him, He is also the completer of this walk of faith (cr. Rom. 8:28-30). But faith in check writers or governments no matter how trustworthy, can never save us from our sins. That is why:

3. John 20:27-31 (Faith in Jesus is essential)

Thomas struggled with believing the Lord rose again. He did not believe the testimony of his fellow disciples and he made the statement that he would not believe unless he could See His hands and place his finger in them(look at verse 25).

8 days later the Lord appears again and Thomas is with them. The Lord gives him the opportunity to “touch and see,” but he doesn’t, he cries out “my Lord and my God.” Please take notice to what Jesus says in verse 29. “Because you have seen me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

Faith in the word of God saves. And that is even more blessed, according to Jesus, for those who do not have the opportunity to touch Him and walk with Him!

God’s word tells us how to be right with Him. It tells us how we can be forgiven and reconciled to Him. One place we see this is in John 3:16-18, 36:

God so loved the world

He gave His only Son

The one believing

Should not perish BUT have everlasting life!!

The one who believes (trusts in His promise) is born again, forgiven, justified.

The one who does not trust in His promise will not be forgiven or justified and will suffer the wrath of God for all eternity. I hope each one of us here today are trusting in His promise of salvation through Christ Jesus.

If you could imagine a place on earth that never saw the sun. Day in, day out, it is covered with a thick cloud. From the time a person was born, until the time he died, he never saw even a tiny glimpse of the sun.

Now, suppose you visited this place and tried to convince the inhabitants of the reality, beauty, and power of the sun. “where I come from,” you say, “a huge yellow ball rises up over the sea each day and floats across the sky, no strings attached, giving warmth and light to those upon the earth.”

“The reason you don’t experience it, is because you are cut off from it by the clouds.”

Although the thought may seem fantastic to those people, the fact that they don’t believe in it, does not change the reality that it exists.

Friends, each of us are born separated from the reality of God’s love by our sins. The cloud of sin cuts us off from the warmth and light of God’s love. The love of the unseen God may seem somewhat unbelievable to us, nevertheless, it is a reality.

Let us look to Christ who saves us by faith Let us walk in this life by faith not sight And one day our faith will be made sight!

Illustrations by Ray comfort

NEW BOOK REVIEW

WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM FOR KIDS

I recently began going through Spurgeon’s Catechism with my son when my wife, who does most of our homeschooling, told me about this book. There are two books (Workbook One, which covers the first ten questions, and Workbook Two, which covers questions 11-20).

What more significant conversations can we have with our children than those regarding their creator, the entrance of evil into the world, and the suffering and misery that comes from it? The Bible does not shy away from such conversations, and neither should we. It reveals the world as it truly is, and despite the seemingly endless “vanity” of it all, there is hope, and His name is JESUS! These workbooks are easy to read and VERY helpful for parents who struggle with having more in-depth conversations with their children regarding more profound subject matter.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism interestingly introduces the story of redemption. In the first book, questions 1-10, Caroline Weerstra and Thomas Trouwborst, expand the topic of each question posed in the catechism by bringing in two or three “lessons” about the question asked. The workbook helps us expand and penetrate the thinking of our children so they can think through each question logically and biblically. They also help us as parents explain and develop the truth in scripture by using other scriptures that help give us a complete picture of God’s character, nature, and purpose in history.

Each question is asked, and an answer is given, just like in the Shorter catechism itself. Then the authors provide three lessons that go along with the question posed. The lessons are short but helpful, often with a brief review. Your child can write their answers directly in the book – they provide “fill in the blanks” for that purpose. Or, they can write their answers in a notebook, but you can also walk through it together verbally if that suits your style of teaching better!

I enjoyed how they bring in other scriptures to shed greater light on the particular question being answered and sometimes have comparisons, such as what Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1 compared with what Isaiah wrote In Isaiah 65.

There is also a “Let’s think” section that get’s your child reflecting on your discussion on a more personal level; LOVE THAT!

I appreciate their motivation for this project: “We believe that our rich Reformed heritage should be carried on to the next generation. However, memorization is NOT enough. Children learn best when they UNDERSTAND. . . This workbook series introduces children to the Westminster Shorter catechism and promotes memorization, while also providing clearand concise explanations of vocabulary and theological concepts.

Workbook one covers (Who is God?) the first ten questions of the Shorter Catechism. “It begins with a basic discussion of the purpose of man and the nature of God and moves on to introduce a biblical view of creation.”The second workbook “teaches primarily about the fall of mankind,” and God’s provision of a redeemer. The marvelous message (good news) of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ!

I included a picture of these books. I imagine you can find them many places, but just in case, their website is www.commonlifepress.com

THE SECRET OF CONTENTMENT (pt.2)

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BRIEF INTRO: In our previous study, Paul was rejoicing in the Philippians revived ministry to him. For various reasons, they could not support him financially or even send anyone physically to “share in the cause of the gospel” with him. But now Epaphroditus had arrived, and Paul is greatly encouraged by their great benevolence towards him for the sake of the gospel.

In this study, we will be focused on some essential lessons that Paul had learned during this time in his apostolic ministry.

11 Not that I speak [a]from need, for I have learned to be [b]content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things [c]through Him who strengthens me.

 FOCUS ONE: The value of learning (4:11-13)

At first glance, it is self-evident in our reading of this part of the letter that Paul “wasn’t all that and a bag of chips,” as an apostle. He was a man, redeemed by grace, like all repentant sinners, and in his Christian walk and ministry experiences, he had to be taught some things. Contentment in life’s circumstances is not innate within us; it is a character trait that has to be learned and honed in the day-to-day experiences we face.

Paul shared with the Corinthians precisely what the life of an apostle looked like daily. He wrote to them of the ever-changing circumstances that he faced in his effort to proclaim Christ crucified and risen (2 Corinthians 11:23-33)! 

23 Are they servants of Christ?—I am speaking as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, [a]beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent adrift at sea.26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and [b]exposure.28 Apart from such [c]external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is [d]led into sin [e]without my intense concern?

30 If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, 33 and I was let down in a basket through a window [f]in the wall, and so escaped his hands.

Through such things as these, Paul matured in his faith and learned what it means to be content in “any and all circumstances.” We do not like adversity; we would rather not experience danger and hardships in our lives. To truly be hungry is an experience that we have not had to endure in our western culture. Honestly, how many if any of these terrible things have we had to endure in our lifetimes?

I believe that our western Christianity in general suffers, and our personal growth in Christ is impeded because we are so blessed in America. Currently, we are not being hunted down and stoned or experiencing starvation. We have warm homes and comfortable beds to sleep in, and the vast majority of us are not experiencing sleepless nights because of our constant journeys around the globe.

But even so, we all experience troubling circumstances in our lives that are “God’ ordained,” things that are “granted” (1:29) for Christ’s sake in our lives to grow us and conform us more and more into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ!

It is through these experiences that Paul learned contentment (autarkes). The philosophical sense of the word among the Stoics was that of self-sufficiency. “Man up,” we say these days, but in the NT, we find this word is given a new dimension as part of godliness (1 Timothy 6:6). Paul finds its ultimate defining quality NOT in himself but in “the One who strengthens me” (4:13).

FOCUS TWO: 

Paul progressed in His Christian walk by moving 

A. From wondering to knowing

We begin our walk of faith with a sense of optimism and excitement. We may even believe, at first, that blessing upon blessing is coming our way now that we are in Christ and that no evil thing will hurt us. God is love, right? And a loving Father will certainly not allow hardship and persecution to befall us.

Saul, now Paul, went from persecutor to persecuted (Acts 9). From social and religious privilege to understanding all of that was “rubbish” and not helpful in “gaining Christ” (Phil3:8). He “grew up” in his knowledge and application of faith in Christ, no matter what circumstances he found himself in. 

B. From concern to contentment

God in His kindness, allowed Paul to experience such things. He learned that no matter what trial and tribulations he faced, no matter what hardships he had to endure, no matter what benefits he had to forgo, and no matter who would betray him, he could be content. Paul could still move forward serving His God, strong in his faith, and accomplish things independent of perceived necessities because his satisfaction was not found in men but in God! Paul’s satisfaction and sufficiency were in Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 4:13).

C. Anxiety over circumstances to confidence in Christ

“Paul has such strength as long as Christ keeps pouring the power into him. A living Christ on the inside is more than sufficient to endure the circumstances on the outside. What Christ wants Paul to do, Christ enables Paul to do. Where the finger of God points, the hand of God provides the way.”

This is the” secret” to contentment. It has to be learned in the school of life, not in any self-help books or talk shows.

D. The value of giving goes beyond the gift and extends to profit or fruit, evidenced growing in a believer’s life (v.17).

Based on Paul’s previous statements (4:11-13), his interest in the Philippians was not merely what he could gain from them, rather the profit (fruit) which would grow in their account. 

Paul has been using the language of financing throughout this section, and that language continues. In other words, Paul speaks of their faithful generosity as something that will provide interest growing in their “spiritual” account. Their spiritual growth was Paul’s constant concern, and he knew that God keeps good records! The “heavenly” deposits, if you will, that God “the good bookkeeper” will add to their account.

So, he concludes this epistle with much rejoicing in his heart and encouragement to these believers to continue trusting their Heavenly Father (v. 19,20).

FOCUS THREE: Benediction: (4:20-23)

From verse 10 forward, Paul wrote in the indicative (Explication verbi dei), simply stating facts and explaining what was going on in his life and mind—reminding them of past events. In verse 20, he moves into the exclamation mood because he is expressing an element of emotion. It is like he Pauses in his thinking for a moment and praises God!

But in verse 21, interestingly, he uses the imperative mood when he tells them to “greet every saint in Christ Jesus.” It is a command. It is in the aorist middle, which relates to their action only, not timing. 

The apostle wanted all the saints at Philippi to receive his greeting without partiality. Timothy and Epaphroditus, who were with him and others serving in the cause of the gospel in Rome, would be included in the “brethren who are with me.”

Those in Caesar’s household most likely refers to a significant amount of people, not just Caesars’ immediate family (cooks, food tasters, princes, soldiers, etc.).

Paul concludes this epistle as he begins, desiring the grace of God be upon them!

I hope you enjoyed this study as much as I did. I am thinking about doing a study through the gospel of Mark, and so I am in need of some time for study and preparation. I will post some random studies for a brief time and then go through Mark with you. God bless.

HEAVEN

There will be no unemployment
In that land beyond the sky;
There will be no wage reduction
In that sweet, bye and bye.

There will be no breadlines forming
On that morning bright and fair;
When the saints of earth are gathered
To a better home up there.

There will be no big depressions
For there’ll be no greed for gain;
Every soul will have a blessing
Every heart be freed from pain.

There will be no strikes or lockouts
Earthquakes, warfare, sin, or shame;
For we’ll gather with our Savior
Singing glory to His name!

Author unknown

GRATITUDE AFFECTS ATTITUDE

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Philippians 2:1-4

BRIEF INTRO:  

In preparing for this post, I read about a church that split, and that split began over an argument at a potluck supper when a lady brought a congealed salad she made with Cool Whip instead of real whipping cream. Can you believe it? 

In googling further, you can find where churches have split over whether the pianist should sit to the right or the left side of the podium; over whether the Lord’s Supper is served from the front to the back or the back to the front. Even over trying to decide whether a kitchen should be a part of the church building or not! 

We chuckle at these things but more googling revealed a story about a church that split over who was the actual pastor. They had two pastors. Two groups thought they each had their guy, and both of them got up to lead a service on Sunday. Both led the singing. Both groups tried to out-sing each other. Then both pastors started preaching, trying to out-preach each other. Finally, it just broke out into fistfights, and the police had to come in and break it up.  

That’s outrageous. And it just goes to show how “intentional” we must be at building and preserving unity among ourselves. These examples reinforce just how important our daily walk with Christ is. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to walk in holiness, love, and unity.  

BRIEF RECAP:

After Paul shared the fantastic work that the Lord was accomplishing in his imprisonment for “the greater progress of the gospel” (back in 1:11-26), He turned his attention off himself. He directed it towards them, the Philippian church.  

We saw in Chapter one, verse twenty-seven, that Paul was concerned about their conduct, that they, as regenerated sinners, now “in Christ” through His substitutionary atoning work, would conduct themselves or behave as citizens of Heaven should behave themselves. He exhorted them to live out their new salvation, in his words: “in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” And that is to be done even amidst conflict and suffering (1:29-30). 

I want to point something out here as we prepare to examine Philippians 2. This congregation of Christians at Philippi was a good church, and as Paul thought about them and even as he wrote to them, his thoughts and feelings were positive. The Philippians had a special place in his heart and he in their hearts. We see that throughout the letter.   

For example, in chapter 1, verse 3, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.” “Every time I think about you I’m thankful.” Verse 4, “Every time I pray for you it is with joy.” Verse 5, “Grateful for your participation in the gospel, from the first day until now – consistency, endurance.” And then you’ll also notice in verse 8, he says, “I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” There was genuine love between the apostle and this church. 

Chapter 1, verse 19, Commends them for their prayers. He mentions his fond memories of them. In chapter 2, verse 12, he says, “You have always obeyed, and I want you to continue to obey.” And he commends them for their obedience. They had a pattern of obedience. When he was there, they obeyed, and he wanted them to continue doing it even in his absence. 

Chapter 4 verse 16 he says, “It not the first time you sent me an offering; even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.” (generosity) 

All of his thoughts about this church were positive; his feelings toward them were warm. In 1:5, when he affirms their participation in the gospel, he notes that they were genuine believers. Verse 7 speaks of their great courage because even in Paul’s imprisonment and “defense and confirmation of the gospel,” they stood with him as “partakers of grace.” Add to all this what John Macarthur points out: “There is a very obvious lack of doctrinal exhortation in this epistle because there was apparently no doctrinal deviation. They had not gone astray in terms of theology. They didn’t need to be corrected. There is no immorality in the congregation which is confronted in the epistle. So generally, this is a quality group of people. This is really a devoted, consistent, doctrinally true church.” 

But, despite all of that, there is lurking in that church a deadly snake with venom. And that deadly snake is the snake of disunity, discord, and conflict, which has poisoned many churches. 

I mention all of that because I think we are prone to assume that disunity and conflict wouldn’t be a problem in a strong church. That is not necessarily the case. One commentator made this point:  

“There is a sense in which this is the danger of every healthy church. You see, it is when people are really in earnest, when their beliefs really matter to them, when they are eager to carry out their own plans and their own schemes that they are most apt to get up against each other. The greater their enthusiasm, the greater the danger that they may collide,” (William Barclay)  

And that is why Paul’s writing to these believers is so helpful to us today. We do not want to be deceived into thinking disunity and discord cannot happen among us. 

We need to recognize the danger and be reminded of how we can promote unity and combat discord among ourselves as individuals and a church body. 

So, open up your bibles with me, and let’s read Philippians 2:1-4 together. 

2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in Spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

FOCUS ONE:

The first thing I want us to take notice of is this:  

1. Redemption changes us (1)  

Paul is writing these words in verse one, continuing his appeal in verses 27-30. He is building upon the theme of unity. Remember, he used the terms “standing firm in one spirit,” “with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”  

In 2:2, he uses the same language. He says: “be of the same mind, maintain the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”  

Paul wants these believers he loves dearly to express (live-out) the power, influence, and fellowship of the Spirit (benefits of the gospel) they received at salvation within their local fellowship. Paul is very aware of the situation between Euodia and Syntyche, and he addresses it later (4:2). 

Listen to how two other translations read in verse one:    

Barclay: “If the fact that you are in Christ has any power to influence you, if love has any persuasive power to move you, if you really are sharing in the Holy Spirit, if you can feel compassion and pity,” 

Phillips: “Now if your experience of Christ’s encouragement and love means anything to you, if you have known something of the fellowship of his Spirit, and all that it means in kindness and deep sympathy.”  

Do you get the sense of what Paul is doing here? Notice Paul’s approach with the Philippians. He’s not only warm and pastoral, but he’s also quick to first mention the blessings of the gospel before giving specific exhortations to help them understand the importance of striving for unity within their church. 

Often we have that backward and see little results. We can learn from Paul’s example. 

But, we need to grasp the point Paul is making and the way he is making it. The “if” in these statements refers to certainties, not possibilities, and could be translated “since.” 

FOCUS TWO:

Let’s look at each one: 

The first reminder (Blessing) is that there is encouragement in Christ. We have the blessing of knowing Christ (Philippians 3:10) and being found in Him (Philippians 3:9). We have been given the gift of faith (Philippians 1:29). Does anything lift our spirits more than knowing we are in Christ? In any trial and suffering we go through, we find encouragement in our relationship with Jesus.  

Second, we have the consolation of love. This is presumably a reference to the love of Christ that comforts us. He is ours, and we are His. What comfort! It may also reference mutual love for one another that flows from this relationship with Jesus. This connection was made in Philippians 1:7-8. Paul loves the church “with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:8). We know God’s love, and His love makes us love others.  

Third, we’re reminded that we share in the fellowship of the Spirit. The Greek word translated “fellowship” (koinonia) is the same word as in Philippians 1:5. The Spirit unites us as brothers and sisters (Philippians 1:27), partners in the gospel, and the Spirit helps in our weaknesses (Romans 8:26). Later Paul says that Christians worship God “by the Spirit” (Philippians 3:3). Paul is aware that disunity threatened the Philippian congregation, so he reminds them of the Spirit-produced fellowship they share.  

Fourth, we share affection and mercy. This affection (cf. Philippians 1:8) or “tenderness” (NIV) flows from our union with Christ. Christ has loved us with amazing tenderness. He has shown us infinite affection. Mercy or “sympathy” (ESV) or “compassion” (NIV) has also come to us from the source of all compassion- our great God (see Psalm 103; Romans 12:1; 2 Corinthians 1:3). We share in a common experience of being the objects of God’s compassion. This tender care should cause us to look out for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4) and serve sacrificially as illustrated by the life of Epaphroditus (Philippians Php 2:25-30; 4:18).  

So, Paul, so concerned for their unity, their love for one another, and an unhindered gospel witness from them reminds them, and in a way, I think, challenges them, to unselfishly share these benefits of the gospel with others. Freely they have been given, so freely give!

Applications: 

  1. Dear Christian, because of your being “in” Christ, you too share in these blessings (encouragement in Christ, comfort of love, fellowship in the Spirit, mercy, and compassion).
  2. How are they equipping you and aiding you in your daily walk? 
  3. Freely, by His grace, they have been given to you. Are you unselfishly sharing these benefits with your brothers and sisters in Christ? 
  4. Perhaps you are reading this today and do not know Jesus as your Lord and savior. You are not enjoying these blessings we are talking about. Your life may be in shambles, depression your only friend, why not look to Jesus? He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He can take the mess of your life and make beauty from the ashes. What keeps you from Him? 

Paul’s appeal to these folks seems to be this: “If life in Christ has changed you at all, and you are experiencing these blessings in your own life because of Jesus, Make my joy complete…”

A VOICE

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Tomorrow, he faithfully promised
tomorrow for revival I’ll pray,
tomorrow I’ll plead as I ought to,
I’m too busy today.

Tomorrow I’ll spend in my closet,
Tomorrow I’ll humbly bow,
Yet ever a voice was whispering,
“But the church is languishing now.”

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow,
The delay e’er repeated went on,
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow,
Till the years and the Voice were gone.

Till the church its God had forgotten,
Till the land was covered with sin,
till millions had hopelessly perished,
And eternity was ushered in.

Oh members of the body of Christ,
Oh ye church of the living God,
Oh editors, and leaders, and pastors,
Oh saints, where our fathers trod.

The Voice still insistently whispers,
Answer not, “tomorrow I’ll pray,”
The Voice is one of authority,
The church needs reviving today.

Author unknown