CHRISTIAN LIFE and WORSHIP
Impartiality, the Imprisoned, Independence, Infinite depth of Christ, Ingratitude, Insincerity, Intellectualism, Jealousy, Joy on earth, Judging others; Law, order and justice, Laziness, Leading others astray, Listening, the Lonely, the Lord's Supper, Love - its preeminence, Lust, Lying ........
1 Timothy 5:21 - Timothy, I solemnly charge you in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the holy angels to follow these orders with the strictest impartiality and to have no favourites.
Matthew 25:34-40 - Excerpts from the parable of the sheep and the goats:
"Then the king will say .... I was in prison and you came to see me there."
Then the true men will answer him, '.... When did we see you .... in prison and go to see you?' "And the king will reply, 'I assure you that whatever you did for the humblest of my brothers you did for me.'
Hebrews 13:3a - Think constantly of those in prison as if you were prisoners at their side.
John 5:41,44 - "Men's approval or disapproval means nothing to me .... (Verse 44 ....) How on earth can you believe (in me - Jesus) while you are for ever looking for each other's approval and not for the glory that comes from the one God? "
John 12:43 - They (those who would not admit they believed Jesus) were more concerned to have the approval of men than to have the approval of God.
Romans 2:29 - The true Jew (or converted Christian) is one who belongs to God in heart, a man whose circumcision (or conversion) is not just an outward physical affair but is a God-made sign upon the heart and soul, and results in a life lived not for the approval of man, but for the approval of God.
1 Corinthians 4:3-4 - .... it matters very little to me (Paul) what you, or any man, thinks of me - I don't even value my opinion of myself - but that doesn't justify me before God. My only true judge is God himself.
Galatians 6:4 - Let every man learn to assess properly the value of his own work and he can then be glad when he has done something worth doing without dependence on the approval of others.
INFINITE DEPTH OF CHRIST
John 21:25 - Of course, there are many other things which Jesus did, and I suppose that if each one were written down in detail, there would not be room in the whole world for all the books that would have to be written.
Luke 17:12b-18 - .... ten lepers met him. They kept their distance but shouted out, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When Jesus saw them, he said, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And it happened that as they went on their way they were cured. One of their number, when he saw that he was cured, turned round and praised God at the top of his voice, and then fell on his face before Jesus and thanked him. This man was a Samaritan. And at this Jesus remarked, "Weren't there ten men healed? Where are the other nine? Is nobody going to turn and praise God for what he has done, except this stranger?"
Romans 12:9a - Let us have no imitation Christian love.
Colossians 2:8 - Be careful that nobody spoils your faith through intellectualism or high-sounding nonsense. Such stuff is at best founded on men's ideas of the nature of the world and disregards Christ!
Romans 13:13 - Let us live cleanly, as in the daylight, not in ....... jealousies.
JOY ON EARTH
Romans 5:3-5a - This (.... a glorious future) doesn't mean .... we have only a hope of future joys (in heaven) - we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us.
Matthew 7:1-5 - "Don't criticise people, and you will not be criticised. For you will be judged by the way you criticise others, and the measure you give will be the measure you receive." "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and fail to notice the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me get the speck out of your eye', when there is a plank in your own? You fraud! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you can see clearly enough to remove your brother's speck of dust."
Romans 2:1-3 - Now if you feel inclined to set yourself up as a judge of those who sin, let me assure you, whoever you are, that you are in no position to do so. For at whatever point you condemn others you automatically condemn yourself, since you, the judge, commit the same sins. God's judgement, we know, is utterly impartial in its action against such evil-doers. What makes you think that you who so readily judge the sins of others, can consider yourself beyond the judgement of God?
Romans 14:13 - Let us ..... stop turning critical eyes on one another. If we must be critical, let us be critical of our own conduct and see that we do nothing to make a brother stumble or fall.
James 4:11-12 - Never pull each other to pieces, my brothers. If you do you are judging your brother and setting yourself up in the place of God's Law; you have become in fact a critic of the Law. Yet if you start to criticise the Law instead of obeying it you are setting yourself up as judge, and there is only one judge, the one who gave the Law, to whom belongs absolute power of life and death. How can you then be so silly as to imagine that you are your neighbour's judge?
LAW, ORDER, and JUSTICE
John 7:50-51 - .... Nicodemus (the Pharisee who had previously been to see Jesus), remarked to them (other Pharisees, about Jesus), "But surely our Law does not condemn the accused without hearing what he has to say, and finding out what he has done?"
Romans 13:3-7 - The honest citizen has no need to fear the keepers of law and order, but the dishonest man will always be nervous of them. If you want to avoid this anxiety just lead a law-abiding life, and all that can come your way is a word of approval. The officer is God's servant for your protection. But if you are leading a wicked life you have reason to be alarmed. The "power of the law" which is vested in every legitimate officer, is no empty phrase. He is, in fact, divinely appointed to inflict God's punishment upon evil-doers. You should, therefore, obey the authorities, not simply because it is the safest, but because it is the right thing to do. Give everyone his legitimate due, whether it be rates, or taxes, or reverence, or respect!
Romans 12:11 - Let us not allow slackness to spoil our work and let us keep the fires of the spirit burning, as we do our work for God.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 - When we were actually with you (Paul and his companions in Thessalonica) we gave you this principle to work on: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." Now we hear that you have some among you living quite undisciplined lives, never doing a stroke of work, and busy only in other people's affairs. Our order to such men, indeed our appeal by the Lord Jesus Christ, is to settle down to work and eat the food they have earned themselves.
Titus 3:14 - ... our people should learn to earn what they require by leading an honest life and so be self-supporting.
LEADING OTHERS ASTRAY
Matthew 18:6-7 - "... if anyone leads astray one of these little children who believe in me (Jesus) he would be better off thrown into the depths of the sea with a mill-stone hung round his neck! Alas for the world with its pitfalls! In the nature of things there must be pitfalls. yet alas for the man who is responsible for them!
James 1:19a - .... let every man be quick to listen but slow to use his tongue........
Matthew 25:34-40 - Excerpts from the parable of the sheep and the goats:
"Then the king will say .... I was lonely and you made me welcome. ...."
"Then the true men will answer him, ..... 'When did we see you lonely and make you welcome ....?' "And the king will reply, 'I assure you that whatever you did for the humblest of my brothers you did for me.'
the LORD'S SUPPER
Matthew 26:26-28 - In the middle of the meal Jesus took a loaf and after blessing it he broke it into pieces and gave it to the disciples. "Take and eat this," he said, "it is my body." Then he took a cup and after thanking God, he gave it to them with the words, "Drink this, all of you, for it is my blood, the blood of the new agreement shed to set many free from their sins."
Mark 14:22-24 - And while they were still eating Jesus took a loaf, blessed it and broke it and gave it to them with the words, "Take this, it is my body." Then he took a cup, and after thanking God, he gave it to them, and they drank from it, and he said to them "This is my blood which is shed for many in the new agreement."
Luke 22:19-20 - ... he (Jesus) took a loaf and after thanking God he broke it and gave it to them, with these words, "This is my body which is given for you: do this in remembrance of me." So too, he gave them a cup after supper with the words, "This cup is the new agreement made in my own blood which is shed for you."
John 6:53-56 - ".. Jesus said to them (the Jews listening to Jesus about the bread of life), "Unless you do eat the body of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you are not really living at all. The man who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up when the last day comes. For my body is real food and my blood is real drink. The man who eats my body and drinks my blood shares my life and I share his."
1 Corinthians 10:16-17 - (Paul writing to the Corinthian church .....) The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a very sharing in the blood of Christ? When we break the bread do we not actually share in the body of Christ? The very fact that we all share one bread makes us all one body.
1 Corinthians 11:23-31 - The teaching I (Paul) gave you was given me personally by the Lord himself, and it was this: the Lord Jesus, in the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread and when he had given thanks he broke it and said, "Take, eat, this is my body which is being broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me." Similarly when supper was ended, he took the cup saying, "This cup is the new agreement in my blood: do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.
This can only mean that whenever you eat this bread or drink of this cup, you are proclaiming that the Lord has died for you, and you will do that until he comes again. So that, whoever eats the bread or drinks the wine without due thought is making himself like one of those who allowed the Lord to be put to death without discerning who he was.
No, a man should thoroughly examine himself, and only then should he eat the bread or drink of the cup. He that eats and drinks carelessly is eating and drinking a judgement on himself, for he is blind to the presence of the Lord's body.
Careless communion means spiritual weakness: let us take due care
It is this careless participation which is the reason for many feeble and sickly Christians in your church, and the explanation of the fact that many of you are spiritually asleep. If we were closely to examine ourselves beforehand, we should avoid the judgement of God.
LOVE - ITS PREEMINENCE
Matthew 5:43-48 - "You have heard that it used to be said, 'You shall love your neighbour', and 'hate your enemy', but I tell you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Heavenly Father. For he makes the sun rise upon evil men as well as good, and he sends his rain upon honest and dishonest men alike. "For if you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even tax-collectors do that! And if you exchange greetings only with your own circle, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do that much. No, you are to be perfect, like your Heavenly Father."
John 1:17b - ... love and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 3:16 - "... God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that every one who believes in him shall not be lost, but should have eternal life."
John 13:34-35 - "... I (Jesus) am giving you a new command - love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you must love one another. This is how all men will know that you are my disciples, because you have such love for one another."
John 15:12-13 - "This is my commandment: that you love each other as I (Jesus) have loved you. There is no greater love than this - that a man should lay down his life for his friends."
Romans 12:9a - Let us have no imitation Christian love.
Romans 13:8-10 - Keep out of debt altogether, except the perpetual debt of love which we owe to one another. The man who loves his neighbour has obeyed the whole Law in regard to his neighbour. For the commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet' and all other commandments are summed up in this one saying: 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself'. Love hurts nobody: therefore love is the answer to the Law's commands.
1 Corinthians 8:1b - .... we should remember that while knowledge may make a man look big, it is only love that can make him grow to his full stature.
Love - its preeminence - continued
'1 Corinthians 13'
1 Corinthians 12:31-14:1a - You should set your hearts on the highest spiritual gifts, but I will show you what is the highest way of all.
Christian love - the highest and best gift
(Chapter 13 ....) If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foretelling the future and hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but the very secrets of God, and if I also have that absolute faith which can move mountains, but have no love, I amount to nothing at all. If I dispose of all that I possess, yes, even if I give my own body to be burned, but have no love, I achieve precisely nothing.
This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience - it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.
Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one things that still stands when all else has fallen.
All gifts except love will be superseded one day
For if there are prophecies they will be fulfilled and done with, if there are "tongues" the need for them will disappear, if there is knowledge it will be swallowed up in truth. For our knowledge is always incomplete and our prophecy is always incomplete, and when the complete comes, that is the end of the incomplete.
When I was a little child I talked and felt and thought like a little child. Now that I am a man my childish speech and feeling and thought have no further significance for me.
At present we are men looking at puzzling reflections in a mirror. The time will come when we shall see reality whole and face to face! At present all I know is a little fraction of the truth, but the time will come when I shall know it as fully as God now knows me!
In this life we have three great lasting qualities - faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love.
(Chapter 14 ....) Follow, then, the way of love, while you set your heart on the gifts of the Spirit.
Love - its preeminence - continued
1 Corinthians 16:14 - Let everything that you do be done in love.
Galatians 5:13b-14 - You should be free to serve each other in love. For after all, the whole Law toward others is summed up by this one command, 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself'.
Ephesians 3:17b-19 - ..... I (Paul) pray that you, firmly fixed in love yourselves, may be able to grasp (with all Christians) how wide and deep and long and high is the love of Christ - and to know for yourselves that love so far beyond our comprehension. May you be filled though all your being with God himself!
Ephesians 5:1-2 - As children copy their fathers you, as God's children, are to copy him. Live your lives in love - the same sort of love which Christ gives us and which he perfectly expressed when he gave himself up for us in sacrifice to God.
Colossians 3:14 - .... above everything else, be truly loving, for love is the golden chain of all the virtues.
1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 - .... as regards brotherly love, you don't need any written instructions. God himself is teaching you to love each other, and you are already extending your love to all the Macedonians (of northern Greece). Yet we urge you to have more and more of this love ....
Hebrews 13:1 - Never let your brotherly love fail ....
1 Peter 1:22 - Now that you have, by obeying the truth, made your souls clean enough for a genuine love of your fellows, see that you do love each other, fervently and from the heart.
1 Peter 4:8 - Above everything else be sure that you have real deep love for each other, remembering how 'love will cover a multitude of sins'.
Love - its preeminence - continued
1 John 3:11 - ... the original command, as you know, is that we should love one another.
1 John 4:7-12 - To you whom I (John) love I say, let us go on loving one another, for love comes from God. Every man who truly loves is God's son and has some knowledge of him. But the man who does not love cannot know him at all, for God is love. To us, the greatest demonstration of God's love for us has been his sending his only Son (Jesus) into the world to give us life through him. We see real love, not in the fact that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to make personal atonement for our sins. If God loved us as much as that, surely we, in our turn, should love each other! It is true that no human being has ever had a direct vision of God. Yet if we love each other God does actually live within us, and his love grows in us towards perfection.
1 John 4:16-18 - .. we have come to know and trust the love God has for us. God is love, and the man whose life is lived in love does, in fact, live in God, and God does, in fact, live in him. So our love for him grows more and more, filling us with complete confidence for the day when he shall judge all men - for we realise that our life in this world is actually his life lived in us. Love contains no fear - indeed fully-developed love expels every particle of fear, for fear always contain some of the torture of feeling guilty. This means that the man who lives in fear has not yet had his love perfected.
2 John 5-6 - I beg you now, dear lady (John writing to "a certain Christian lady"), not as though I were issuing any new order but simply reminding you of the original one, to see that we continue to love one another. Real love means obeying the Father's orders, and you have known from the beginning that you must live in obedience to him.
Matthew 5:27-28 - "You have heard that it was said to the people in the old days, 'You shall not commit adultery'. But I say to you that every man who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her - in his heart.
Ephesians 4:25 - Finish .... with lying and tell your neighbour the truth. For we are not separate units but intimately related to each other in Christ.
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J.B.Phillips, "The New Testament in Modern English", 1962 edition, published by HarperCollins, is presented here with the kind permission of Mrs Vera Phillips and the J.B.Phillips estate