Seeking The Things That Are Of Christ Jesus

seek-jesus-earnestly

But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:19-21)

Seeking The Things That Are Of Christ Jesus

On his second missionary journey in Asia Minor, the apostle Paul found a remarkable young man named Timothy that was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. It was such an impression that Paul wanted to have him go on with him in his work of preaching and teaching the gospel and establishing churches throughout the region. Timothy became a vital part of the life work of Paul and two letters written to the young preacher would be foundational books for the early church. The influence of his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois was heavy upon the heart of Timothy as Paul described the genuine faith that Timothy had in serving the Lord. His passion was not a veneer of temporary religion but a life that was dedicated to the purpose of Jesus Christ. Writing to the brethren at Philippi, the apostle commends the character of Timothy as having no one as like-minded as he. There were a number of people that worked with Paul and many good things could be said of them. Timothy stood above all of these in the care he would give to Philippian church. His heart was fully devoted to serving the Lord. There was no insincerity in the life of the son of Eunice. He was fully committed to the preaching of the gospel to Jew and Gentile alike.

There are many people that stand out for different reasons in the church. What made Timothy shine in the eyes of Paul was how full his life was focused on the things of holiness, righteousness and truth. The church is filled with those who seek their own unwilling to go beyond their comfort zone to affect change in the world about them and in the heart of others. Timothy was of such a nature that he sought the things which would bring glory to Christ Jesus. He lived his life to exemplify the virtues of the Son of God. It was not that he was a companion of Paul or a preacher of the gospel that set him apart. His heart and mind were sanctified to be the kind of disciple that would please the Father and bring glory to the church of Christ. It was not in a boastful manner he lived his life before others. A quiet example of humble service characterized the effective work of the man from Derbe and Lystra. Timothy earnestly sought the things he found in the character of Jesus to put into his own life so that others could see Christ living in him. It gave him a sacrificial spirit to care for the brethren at Philippi. As a role model, Timothy set an example that all those in the kingdom should follow.

The work of the church is the plan of sharing the gospel with a lost and dying world. One of the most effective works that can be done is the example of those who seek the things which are of Christ Jesus. These are people who go to work every day and let others see that God is the focus of their lives. They dress in a manner that gives glory to the Lord. Their speech is seasoned with the grace of spiritual salt that let others know they have a pure heart. The work ethic they have in the work place is one of diligence because the Christian who has given their life to the things of Christ Jesus will be an example of industry and honesty. As a husband, wife, father or mother these individuals will set an example of living for Christ each day so that others can know of their love for God. Paul said that Timothy was a special person. What made this young man special was his love for the Christ. Disciples today can well learn to set themselves apart from the world and let others see Christ living in them. Seek not your own but seek the things which are of Christ Jesus.

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Holding Such Men In Esteem

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Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me. (Philippians 2:25-30)

Holding Such Men In Esteem

Nobility of character is a rare commodity and when it is found in a man it must be treasured. There are many people who grace the pages of holy writ that little or nothing is known of their lives and Epaphroditus is such a character. He appears in Paul’s letter to the saints in Philippi and disappears just as quickly. The kind of man Epaphroditus is described as being almost deserves a book written of his life. He stood out among the early disciples as a man of courage, faithfulness, devotion and a heart fully devoted to the Lord. The early church would suffer under the barrage of persecution from the Jewish leaders and Roman Empire. It would require men of grit to withstand the temptations to give up and abandon their faith but men like Paul’s fellow brother from Philippi would not be among the faithless. Epaphroditus was a brother of the apostle and called a worker and a soldier in league with the work of Paul. That would show a grueling character of a man willing to work hard and long hours in teaching the gospel of Christ at the expense of his time and energies. The man from Philippi was a soldier of Christ and showed the mind of being a faithful conqueror of truth against the bastions of idolatry, materialism and religious persecution. He was a warrior willing to fight the good fight for the cause of Jesus Christ.

Epaphroditus was a man who cared for the affairs of others. He served the church in Philippi in assisting Paul in his labors and help care for the needs of the apostle. As a servant of Christ he was a servant to others. It takes a special man to put himself in the service of others and Epaphroditus eagerly served the needs of Paul. His health became a factor as he became ill but this did not dissuade him from his tasks as he worked in the kingdom. The brethren at Philippi became very concerned when they heard the brother was sick and in turn Epaphroditus worried the brethren would be overly concerned about his affairs and sickness. What a remarkable man to worry more about the concerns of his brethren regarding his own illness than his concern for self. His spirit was completely in service to others. Paul alludes to the fact that whatever illness Epaphroditus had almost killed him. By God’s grace he was spared. This concerned the apostle and the brethren but he was made well again. A lesson is found in this story that shows that Paul had the power to heal all diseases but not all men received the power of healing without the stated purpose of miracles being established. Paul was thankful God had spared his fellow worker and soldier.

The church in Philippi would rejoice when they saw Epaphroditus again as he was sent by Paul to return to his city and greet the brethren face to face. His work with Paul was arduous and difficult and for unknown reasons Epaphroditus suffered serious health problems nearly killing him. God had seen him through and returning to his home town he would be received with gladness by the brethren. It goes without saying that men like Epaphroditus would be held in esteem or honor but Paul admonishes the Philippian brethren to recognize the sacrifice of their brother and to acknowledge his work. Knowing the kind of man he was, it would have been hard for Epaphroditus to accept such accolades because of his humility. However, men such as this should be regarded for their works sake and presented to others as an example of how men should serve the Lord. It does not elevate the man in a prideful manner but acknowledge the incredible work of those who labor in the kingdom. Holding such men in esteem is proper and encouraging to show others the character of sacrifice, devotion and love for truth. Down through the centuries the name Epaphroditus remains as one of the hallmarks of those men who worked quietly behind the scenes in establishing the New Testament church. Everyone who shares in the glory of God’s kingdom in some small way owe a debt of gratitude to men like Epaphroditus.

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Honored By The Father

glory of God honor

If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. (John 12:26)

Honored By The Father

In the closing days of the life of Jesus, the Lord predicts His death when He will be glorified. Like a grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies, the Son of God will give His life on the cross to give life to all men. His sacrifice will be as a suffering servant doing the will of His Father to give His life for the ransom of undeserving man. Jesus reminds His disciples the price He pays will be the debt His followers will pay in being the servants of the Father to give their lives both literally and spiritually. To follow Jesus is a life of servitude. The example of death on the cross would be a symbol for those who would take up their crosses to follow Jesus. If He bears a cross His disciples would be cross bearers. Allegiance to the Son of God requires an oath of sacrifice to be like His Lord. Bearing the marks of crucifixion is the badge of distinction separating the people of God from the people of the world. A follower of Jesus is a person who serves the Lord in every way as an obedient servant to the will of God’s Son.

Serving the Christ brings its reward. Servitude is not looked on in a favorable light as slavery is viewed with many negative connotations. The difference in being a slave for Christ is the blessings of being with the Lord and sharing in His glory. Everything about serving Jesus Christ is immeasurable blessings of untold grace, beauty and light. Jesus says that His followers will be with Him where He is. The reward of serving the Son of God is the knowledge that when life is over a promise of abiding in the presence of His light is guaranteed. Sharing together in the glories of heaven is being with the Son of God throughout the eternal ages of endless time. Faith is made stronger when the knowledge of being with Jesus perseveres over the hard and difficult days of life. Looking to a brighter day of hope and reassurance helps the soul endure the challenges of life. Nothing can bring greater joy to the heart. Trying to imagine the feeling of happiness to be with the heavenly family increases the measure of faith instilling a spirit of courage to persevere. What a joy to be a servant of Jesus Christ.

The greatest reward for the child of God is to know that serving Jesus brings the honor of the heavenly Father upon the soul of the faithful. If the heart serves the Son of God there will be great reward given by God Himself. Everyone enjoys receiving accolades and honors for jobs well done, achievements, goals attained and respect for individual character. On the final day of man’s judgment, the glory of being honored by the Father Himself will diminish any achievement of life or goal attained in mortal flesh. The name of the faithful servant will be called out by the voice of God and those precious words longed for are heard for the first time: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” Entrance is opened to the servant who diligently and faithfully followed the Son of God and the Father bids all His suffering servants to enter in to His abode and dwell in His presence. Honored by God, exalted through the Holy Spirit, glorified by the angels and loved by the Son of God the child of God who served the will of the Father will bask in the eternal glow of God’s glory. Build your faith on that hope and the eternal promise of the Father and one day the honor of God will be heard in the halls of heaven when your name is called. What a day that will be when the Father honors His children.

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Hallowing The Father

hallowed be your name

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (Matthew 6:9)

Hallowing The Father

Today is Father’s Day as the nation celebrates the man who used to be the central figure of leadership in the home. It seems paradoxical that Father’s day is honored when the American culture is doing everything it can to destroy the definition of marriage, break down the home and take away the role of leadership from the man. Fatherhood is honored on the third day of June but every other day of the year is impugned as outmoded, old fashioned and belongs in the Smithsonian with all the other relics of the day. The television has shown the progression of respect for the father when Father Knows Best has turned into American Dad and TV shows exalting homosexuality, divorce, sexual immorality and the ridicule of the man being a leader in his home as the norm. This progression of destroying the influence of the father began when the American conscience no longer decided to reverence the Father in heaven. When God is taken out of the home, the leadership of the father is next on the chopping block. Following the abdication and destruction of fatherhood society turns on itself and becomes a moral cesspool of ungodliness and unrighteousness. Father’s Day should remind the nation of the Father that is heaven and his name should be hallowed and revered as holy.

Jesus taught his disciples to pray and the most important lesson he began the prayer with is acknowledging authority. There is an inclusion of relationship the Son of God employs with saying that God is “our Father.” He shared a relationship with the Father no man would ever know but the Lord allows men to come before his father and share in the love of the eternal God who loves all men. It begins with respecting the authority of who God is, what the Father represents and how men should approach him. God is in heaven and that puts man in his place. No matter how tall man believes himself to be in all of his accumulated wisdom and might he falls eternally short of coming to the hem of the garments of God. Man’s greatest feat may have been to put a man on the moon and bring him back but the Lord God dwells in the farthest stars with ease. The habitation of man is limited and placed there by his creator. When the nation of America turns its heart back to the authority of God it will rekindle a spirit of strength and courage that will answer the problems of life.

One of the most important factors of America’s decline is the failing of keeping hallowed the name of God. The Lord God is the Father of all men because He created the worlds and everything that dwells on it. All of the needs of man are met by the hand of the Father who is in heaven. Now the world profanes the name of God and rejects the holy nature of his name, his word and his presence in their lives. Jesus taught his disciples that praying to the Father requires a belief that God is holy and everything about him must be revered with respect, honor and venerated for who he is. Any nation that rejects God will fall in disgrace. Father’s day is a wonderful day to celebrate the homes where fatherhood is still honored by those who honor the heavenly Father. Our Father, who is in heaven – holy and reverend is YOUR NAME!

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The Law Of His Mouth

bible word of God2

You have dealt well with your servant, O Lord, according to your word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe your commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good, and do good; teach me your statutes. The proud have forged a lie against me, but I will keep your precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease, but I delight in your law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver. (Psalm 119:65-72)

The Law Of His Mouth

There are many ways to describe the will of the Lord. Looking at the commandments of God is a pleasant thing and welcomed by those who desire to please Him. The psalmist is clear in his defining the pleasing nature of the manner of God’s dealing with him even in adversity. In all things the writer acknowledged the Lord has dealt in goodness and grace because God is good and He does good. There is nothing lacking in the care of the Lord towards His people and the bounty of blessings that comes from the word of the Lord. Much of what the psalmist proclaims comes from a relationship with the written word of God. He refers to the word of God, His commandments and statutes, the precepts of the Lord and His law. While each one is descriptive of the nature of the word of God they show the impact upon the heart of a man who is joyous at the presence of the knowledge of the Almighty. The dealings of the Lord toward a man who went astray will exalt the mercy of God and the power of His word. He knows the joy of returning to a rightful place with the Father. Basking in the warmth of God’s forgiveness the penitent transgressor imbibes of the word of God to rekindle his spirit in the judgments of righteousness. Knowledge is his power as he learns the lessons of godly sorrow. Believing in the commandments of God leads him to the paths of holiness. Feeling the goodness of God in embracing the soul brings joy to the heart of the saved.

The law of God’s mouth is the most exquisite wealth in all the world. There is none to compare to the wisdom of the word of God, His judgments and commands are eternal and resting in the precepts and statutes of the Lord brings delight. Assaulted by the proud and arrogant, the person of God stands firm upon the promises of the Lord. His word will never diminish. Affliction will come from the knowledge of God’s word but it is a healing affliction that brings peace and joy. Coins of gold and silver are no match to the power of the gospel of God revealed unto man to know the will of the Father. Viewing the Bible as the divine testimony of God’s goodness and wrath implies the heart must listen and carefully follow His word. After all the affliction and the trial of life the author admits that God is good and all His dealings with the soul are righteous and true. God deals well with all men if they will seek Him. Through the precepts of His word the blessings of God’s presence is felt among the faithful. What other place can a man find peace, harmony and joy but in the word of God?

Truth comes from the word of God and man’s happiness is eternally tied to the revealed word given by the Lord to all men. Rejecting the word of God is a sentence of death upon those who trifle with the power of His commandments. There can never be any ray of hope when men turn aside from the word of God. The Bible is the fully revealed words of the Creator and no other book written or to be written can match the power, majesty and glory of its message. Turning away from the Bible is turning away from the answers of life and what lies beyond the vale of death. Upon every page the commandments of the Lord speak to the welfare of man. His eternal destiny is wrapped up in the statutes, precepts and laws of God. What comes out of the mouth of God is divine and true and righteous all together. Delighting in the law of God is good. It is a wholesome activity to spend daily time in meditation of the mind of the Lord. Listening to the voice of God will keep the devil from whispering in the ear of doubt. The law of the mouth of the Lord is better than any amount of money, pleasure, enjoyment or carnal knowledge. Knowing God is knowing it all. No God and there is no knowing. Learn the judgment and knowledge of the Lord to find happiness. It will be an eternal experience.

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Christ And Marriage

wedding

For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. (Ephesians 5:23-29)

Christ And Marriage

The wise man wrote long ago the making of many books there is no end and if time is taken to find books written on the home and family and especially the relationship of the husband and wife, endless volumes can be found. God created marriage and the home and if there is any information that needs to be learned it must be from His word. Nothing can compare to the wisdom of the one who created the relationship of marriage than how God describes the love between a man and woman. Contained within all of the passages on the home, an unusual series of admonitions are found for the husband and wife for an extraordinary source. Paul exhorts the saints at Ephesus to take a serious look at their marriages and uses Jesus Christ as an example for the conduct of the husband and the relationship of the wife. The reason this is unusual is that Jesus was never married but the emphasis specifically on the husband is to be like Christ in every way. Paul uses the character of the church and the authority of Christ to illustrate the nature of marriage with clear distinctions and obligations inherent in the command of God. Jesus is the head of the church and there is no doubt about that. All authority was given to Him as Lord and Christ. The church is the body of saints that have given their lives to serve the true and living God. Bound together in a bond of love, sacrifice and devotion, the church is in submission to the will of Christ. With this foundation, the apostle explains how the man is the head of the wife and the woman is in subjection to the man – like Christ is to the church.

If a man wants to learn how to be a husband he need look no further than the example of Jesus Christ. First he is the savior of the woman which means he will do everything in his power to take care of her. Jesus left heaven and came to earth to die for all men. His love was a sacrificial love without bounds. A husband should love his wife unconditionally with a sacrificial love that is willing to give his all for her. Often men want the woman to make them happy and complain because their needs are not being met. If Jesus would have come to earth with the attitude of these types of men no one would have been saved. Love in the home is not about the man it is about the will of God. Jesus died obeying the Father’s will. The husband will love his wife in a complete spirit to please the Lord. To love the wife is not a simple statement of endearment once expressed and seldom reminded. Husbands are to love their wives in the same manner Christ loved the church. The Son of God left the heavenly realm to give His life for the love of those who would be in His body, the church. Love is an active word expressed in many forms. There is a sense in which the love for wife is commanded by God of the husband. Jesus came to do the will of God but He did so because He loved all men. Every man must love their wife because God commands it but it must be tempered with the love one has for the Lord first and then to show that love to the wife. Women need to be shown and told how much the man loves her. Jesus was a man who died for the church. A man who loves God is a man who will give his life for the happiness of the woman. One important character of Christ’ love for the church is that man did not deserve His love – but by the grace of God received it from the Son. A man’s love for his wife is based on his love for God not his wife. He loves her because he loves God and shows her his love by setting her apart from all others and purifying his love for her every day.

Christ and marriage go hand in hand as He is the perfect example and pattern for a man to love his wife. Jesus died so that all men could live. He sacrificed everything for the love of those who did not love Him in return. His love was not in word alone but by His total life given to the will of the Father. Every man who wants to be the husband God wants him to be will examine closely the life of Jesus and see how the Lord patterned His love for the church. His mission was to present the church as a holy and unblemished bride. Husbands who love their wives will always present them to others as a holy and unblemished woman of character. The wife who is nurtured and cared for by a man who follows the example of Jesus will embrace the submission of love given by the one who serves the will of the Father. Husbands must love their wives as their own bodies and care for them exquisitely as designed by God in creation. Cherishing the wife is a blessing both for the man and the woman. The home will be blessed by God when the husband loves his wife like Christ loves the church.

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Pekah The Son Of Remaliah

Book of 2 Chronicles

Therefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria. They defeated him, and carried away a great multitude of them as captives, and brought them to Damascus. Then he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who defeated him with a great slaughter. For Pekah the son of Remaliah killed one hundred and twenty thousand in Judah in one day, all valiant men, because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers. Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, killed Maaseiah the king’s son, Azrikam the officer over the house, and Elkanah who was second to the king. And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand women, sons, and daughters; and they also took away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria. (2 Chronicles 28:5-8)

Pekah The Son Of Remaliah

Every generation has its mighty men of war and Pekah son of Remaliah was no exception. The first record of Pekah is where he is an officer in the army of Pekahiah, king of Israel during the period of the divided kingdom. Like all the kings of the northern tribes, Pekahiah did evil in the sight of the Lord and did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam. The reign of Pekahiah ended abruptly after two years when Pekah assassinated his king and reigned in his place. Pekah was a ruthless warrior who had a lust for power and a taste for blood. His reign would last twenty years and like his predecessors would be filled with all the wickedness of the nations around him. Near the end of his rule (before he himself was assassinated by Hoshea son of Elah) he aligned with the king of Syria and attacked his southern brethren of Judah. The record says that in one day Pekah killed 120,000 valiant men and took captive 200,000 women, sons and daughters. This judgement on Judah was from the rebellion of the Judean king Ahaz who walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and served Baal including the human sacrifice of his own children. Therefore the Lord God delivered him to the hand of the king of Syria and by the hand of Pekah a great slaughter of God’s people was carried out. Bringing the captives to the northern capital of Samaria, Pekah was met by a bold and courageous prophet named Obed who demanded the release of the 200,000 captives. The captives were released and the men of Samaria dressed and fed the people returning them to Jericho to return to their homes. Pekah, king of Israel would die within a few years of this war.

Despots like Pekah were ruthless tyrants who terrorized the world for a short period of time but like all men – died. In his case he is murdered by another in the same fashion he murdered his king. His fierceness was unstoppable by most men but one brave prophet withstood the king and saved 200,000 people. The tragedy of the war between Pekah and Ahaz king of Judah was that Israelite was killing Israelite and using the Syrians to kill his own brethren, Pekah preserved his place as being a wicked ruler. All of the kings of Israel during the divided nation were evil. There was no redeeming value to what they did as they killed their own people, sacrificed their children as burnt offerings and filled with land with sexual immorality, murder, strife, hatred and wickedness. God’s wrath would come upon the northern tribes as the Lord brought the powerful Assyrian Empire to obliterate the ten tribes.

Men like Pekah were children of God who had turned aside to the carnal evils of the nations around them. It is difficult to remember these people were under a covenant with the Lord God as the apple of His eye, His beloved and special people whom He redeemed from Egypt. Yet now in the days of the kings the land has been filled with gross immorality and wickedness that would rival the heathen nations around them. The people of God had gone to seed in their pursuit of the fleshly gratifications and lusts for power. Pekah would have been admired and feared in his day for his prowess and might but he was a weak, feeble and cowardly man who learned in death a greater Lord ruled all men. And that is the way of all those who seek to gain glory and honor in this world who have no regard for the day of accounting before the great I AM. Orators would have proclaimed the name of Pekah as the man who killed 120,000 valiant men in one day but without the divine record of his evil no man would have been the wiser. Fame is fleeting and ruthless men find the soil of the earth their home like those they have slaughtered. The rich and powerful despots of the world and those who are to be feared will all cross the river of death and stand before one Lord, one God and one Ruler.

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