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Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Guarantee of Life

How can someone know for certain that when they die, they will be with the Creator, our Lord Jesus Christ?

 

Death is all around us. Even during all the lying about lockdowns, people are getting sick with the Wuhan Virus and dying, they are becoming hopeless and taking their own lives, they are mistreating themselves and dying before their time, and all while all the other reasons for dying are still doing their devastating work.

 

For me, I am very aware that I am closer to my finish line than ever, and that I could be run over by a deadly life-experience even before that doomsday. The realization that the human mortality rate is 100% leaves a horribly crushing weight of hopelessness that anyone will ever avoid the cursed experience of death.

 

Which means that my life-experience must prove to me with an absolute guarantee that what comes after physical death is life.

 

I take no comfort from those who claim that existence ends at death so we have nothing to worry about. I am not the least bit encouraged by people who claim that we will keep reincarnating until we get it right. None of that adds up.

 

I do not want to take my chances on some “good works” strategy that if I just make sure I have one more good works than bad works the holy and magnificent God who created us will be happy with us! How could that ever be possible?!

 

And, I most certainly do not want to place my faith in the evolutionary religion demanding that everything came from nothing, that nothing could explode into the building blocks of a universe, that non-living things could magically morphe into living things, and we will just turn back to nothing when we die!

 

Nope! There is something inside me far too alive to believe that unscientific nonsense!

 

Here is God’s simple declaration of how to have assurance that death is followed by genuine and eternal life with our Creator:

 

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

 

Picture a person named Someone hearing the good news about Jesus Christ. They hear that he is the Word of God who became flesh and made his dwelling among us. He went everywhere doing good to people, healing their diseases, and driving out their demons. What an amazing guy!

 

But then Someone is led to the scene of history where this sinless man laid down his life in the most humbling expression of love possible. On one side, he willingly suffered the horrible death of crucifixion, demonstrating how far he would go to take their place. On the other side, while in the agonies of crucifixion, he was bearing on himself the full outpouring of the wrath of God against their sins.

 

This begins to stir a wonder in Someone’s soul as they acknowledge that no one has ever expressed love to them like that. They know what it is like to suffer at the hands of others, often unjustly, but not what someone would suffer for them to the extent of bearing the full justice of God against their own sins!

 

And then they hear this wonderful news that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead in complete victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave! They suddenly find in themselves this tugging awareness that they want to know this person. They want to know what it is like to be in friendship with this Savior who not only suffered death in the most horrible ways both physically and spiritually, but also had the power of God raise him from the dead.

 

Which captivates Someone’s heart and mind with the wonder that they could know the only living Savior. They could personally know this Jesus of Nazareth as Jesus the Christ, Jesus the King of kings and Lord of lords.

 

However, as Someone begins taking steps towards the Savior King, they suddenly feel this overwhelming awareness of how utterly sinful they are in contrast to the purity and holiness of Jesus’ love and righteousness. They become crushingly aware that there is no good thing in them by which they could justify the right to be his servant, let alone his friend, or, unthinkably, his Brother!

 

And in that devastating awareness of the hopelessness of their sin, they hear Jesus’ words from the cross: “It is FINISHED!!!!!!!” And in those words, they realize that this was exactly why Jesus died, to fully deal with their sin. He dealt with the crime of it, the offensiveness of it, the guilt, shame and fear of it, the hopelessness of it, the crushing weight of its taunting promise to take them down, and the justice that demands their death in payment. His death in body, soul and spirit, paid it all!

 

And while they struggle to believe that this was for them, they hear the words of God telling them that “Christ Jesus came into the world to SAVE sinners!” They hear the “good news of great joy” that there is “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!” They understand that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” and their hearts blossom under the light of such love.

 

And then Someone hears the words of Jesus himself calling out to them, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest for your souls!” In that instant, they know in their heart that Jesus wants them. Jesus died for them. Jesus lives for them. Jesus has already saved them.

 

With their minds all changed-up about their sin so that they now hate what they once loved, and their hearts convinced that Jesus’ victory over sin and death is their own victory over sin and death, they receive for themselves the gift of eternal life by putting their faith in this Savior. They confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is indeed the Lord who came to save them, and they believe in their heart that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead in a masterful stroke of divine genius to give them a Savior who died and yet lives.

 

When Someone receives this gift of eternal life, they enter the realities of God the Father, of the Son of God as Firstborn Brother, and the Holy Spirit of God crying out in them and with them, “Abba! Father!” They know that something inside them is now more alive than before, and that the life they may very well lose in death has already been overcome with the greater life that will never end.

 

So, when God’s Book assures them, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” they realize that the faith they have now, that wasn’t there before, is the everlasting Guarantee that they have eternal life. Their name has been engraved onto the hands of the Savior. Their sins have been blotted out of God’s Book of judgment and their names already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

 

Someone takes to heart what an Older Brother told them a long time earlier: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” They now have a temporal life that is worth living because of the God who has made a home with them, and they have an eternal life waiting for them on the other side of death that is a gain instead of a loss.

 

No matter what storms of life come, or what threats of death arise, Someone who has put their faith in Jesus Christ has the guarantee of eternal life because of the certainty of what Jesus has already done. And even when life-circumstances feel the most crushing, to simply see that the one thing they keep clinging to is faith in Jesus Christ assures them that they are more than conquerors in their Savior already, and that they will enter into the fullness of Jesus’ joy on the day that death takes them home.

 

As you read this good news, God’s invites you to be the Someone who experiences this mind-change about your sin, believes in Jesus Christ for salvation, enters the kingdom of God forever, and begins walking in the newness of life. I became a Someone in God’s story a long time ago. Anyone reading this can become a Someone to God today.

 

© 2021 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

 

Friday, May 14, 2021

John Bible Study ~ John 1:29-34 ~ John the Baptist Introduces the Lamb of God

Our next look at John’s record of the good news leads us to the place where Jesus is introduced to the world. What is said in that introduction tells us about who Jesus is and what he came to do. The announcement is just as fresh in God’s Book as it was for the people who first heard it. The opportunity to respond in obedient faith is also just as much ours as it was for theirs. 

John Bible Study ~ John 1:29-34 ~ John the Baptist Introduces the Lamb of God[1] 

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” (John 1 ~ ESV) 

We have seen that John the Baptist came as a forerunner of the Christ, preparing people’s hearts for Jesus to arrive on the scene. The gospel message now shows John the Baptist in direct relationship to Jesus, telling us who Jesus is and what he is about. In this study we will consider how these things apply to us today. 

Part 1: “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

Our reaction to someone’s visit may be dependent on who the person is who is telling us about that person’s visit, or who the person is who is visiting. If the person visiting isn’t important enough to us, we won’t care even if our most reliable friend keeps nagging us that it is taking place. On the other hand, if we consider the person to have celebrity status, or have attached to them as someone of great importance to us in music, sports, religion or cinema, it may not matter in the least who first tells us they think the person is in town, we will want to check it out. In this Scripture we have two persons of great significance to God’s kingdom, John the Baptist and Jesus, telling us of the most important visit that has ever happened on earth. The invitation is to respond accordingly. 

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1) 

1.     What is the connection between what John the Baptist “saw”, and his exclamation of, “Behold…!”? 

 

2.    How much do you know about why John would announce Jesus as “the Lamb of God”? 

 

3.    What does John state as Jesus’ purpose in coming? 

 

4.    How would you describe your experience of Jesus’ work? 

 

Part 2: A Life That Reveals Jesus 

Not only do we need to consider who Jesus is in himself as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, we must also understand his identity in relation to everyone else. In part 2 of this study, we consider what John the Baptist had to say about Jesus’ status in relation to himself. The same would be true of us, and a necessary ingredient in building our faith in Jesus Christ. 

30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” (John 1) 

1.     What does John’s reminder of something he previously said tell us about the person he is now pointing out to everyone? 

 

2.    What does John admit was his starting place with Jesus that put him in the same position as all the rest of us? 

 

3.    What is the connection between what John said he came to do and what he was presently doing by pointing everyone to Jesus? 

 

4.    How does your experience of knowing Jesus Christ compare with the way John describes him? 

 

Part 3: The Divine Testimony 

One of the principles from God’s Book is that everything must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. When John the Baptist claimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, he was not the only witness in the picture. Our third look at this section reveals that God himself establishes his activity with the required number of witnesses. The rest of this gospel account will give us many more, with each one calling us to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ with all our hearts. 

32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” (John 1)

 

1.     What did John see happen that identified Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world? 

 

2.    How did John know how to interpret what he witnessed? 

 

3.    What effect did it have on John that he both heard the testimony of God and saw what happened to Jesus? 

 

4.    What does this do to affirm the validity of John’s witness to you? 

 

Conclusion: Hearing, Seeing, Joining 

After listening to John appealing to you that Jesus is indeed the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world: 

1.     What do you hear God speaking to you about? 

 

2.    What do you see God doing in you through this part of his word? 

 

3.    How are you going to join God in his work? 

 

 

© 2021 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

 


Friday, May 7, 2021

John Bible Study ~ John 1:19-28 ~ Who is John the Baptist?

 With all the technology available to us today that allows photos and videos to be edited into fictional scenes that no one can trust, it stands out how careful God was to establish everything by many eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and return to heaven. It was, and it still is, the insurmountable gathering of witnesses who make clear who Jesus truly was, what he did for us, and what he will do for all those who believe in him. This study gives us one of God’s undisputable witnesses and his testimony about the Christ. There will be many more.

John Bible Study ~ John 1:19-28 ~ Who is John the Baptist?[1]


19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” (John 1 ~ ESV) 

The scene set for us is after John the Baptist had been doing his work long enough that word got back to the Jewish ruling council (called the Sanhedrin) that there was a man out in the wilderness calling everyone to repentance. He was telling Jewish people that the kingdom of God was near (as though the Jews were not already in that kingdom), that repentance was required to enter the kingdom, and even speaking as though the religious elite were just as much in need of repentance as everyone else. He was baptizing people who responded to his message in repentance and faith, and this activity was having an effect on the people that made their ruling council feel they had to figure out what was going on. 

Part 1: John the Baptist Questioned 

John the Baptist was having enough influence on people that the religious leaders wanted to know who he thought he was. This was of particular significance because they were waiting for the Christ (or Messiah) to come and needed to know if John claimed to be him. This section rules out who John was not, something that is very important in understanding who John was and why we should still listen to him today. 

19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”  (John 1) 

1.     The central question here is, “Who are you?” What are some issues that come into play when considering someone’s identity? 


2.    The “Who are you” question is followed by a checklist of figures the Jewish people expected would show up at some time. If John the Baptist claimed to be any of those figures, it would mean that all the prophecies about that person applied to him. What is John making clear about himself in his responses? 

 

3.    What does John’s experience tell us about what anyone should expect if they fulfill their calling to be who they are as a child of God? 

 

4.    At this point in the unfolding scenes of Jesus coming into the world, which of the characters best represents how you see yourself in relation to the Savior? 

 

Part 2: John the Baptist’s Answer 

We have considered how ruling out the wrong ideas of John the Baptist had to be done first, so now we look at what he said was the true story of his identity and work, and how that applies to us to this day. 

23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”  (John 1) 

1.     What does it mean that John is now making a claim about himself that goes back to a prophecy that someone would one day come and call people to “Make straight the way of the Lord”? 

 

2.    What does John’s claim tell us we need to believe about Jesus? 

 

3.    What does John’s claim tell us we need to believe about ourselves? 

 

4.    What would we need to do to “Make straight the way of the Lord” in our own lives today? 

 

Part 3: John the Baptist and Jesus 

Because John the Baptist’s work was to prepare the way for Jesus, he now turns the spotlight to the Savior and his glory. This is where the spotlight will remain for the rest of this gospel record. 

24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. (John 1) 

1.     The messengers of the religious elite could not understand why John would be baptizing when he wasn’t one of the three figures the prophets had spoken about. How does John’s answer show that he was making a straight way for the Lord as the prophets had spoken about him? 


2.    Why is it so important for us to understand the ministry of John the Baptist if he was not the Christ? 

 

3.    What does John the Baptist want us to believe about the Christ in relation to ourselves? 

 

4.    How much impact is John’s testimony having on you? 


Conclusion: Hearing, Seeing, Joining 

After looking at John’s insistence about who he was not, and his clarification about who he was in relation to the Christ: 

1.     What do you hear God speaking to you about? 

 

2.    What do you see God doing in you through this part of his word? 

 

3.    How are you going to join God in his work? 

 




[1] Here is a link to a .doc version of this Bible study to download for prayer journaling: https://www.dropbox.com/s/roh2q4h35r4fp1n/0005%20-%20John%201_19-28%20-%20Who%20is%20John%20the%20Baptist.docx?dl=0

Here is a link to a .pdf version of this Bible study to print: https://www.dropbox.com/s/cx78jfk7ckvpkg5/0005%20-%20John%201_19-28%20-%20Who%20is%20John%20the%20Baptist.pdf?dl=0

© 2021 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

Friday, April 30, 2021

The Realness of Being Useful

For some reason, I have been really troubled by why Paul spoke so highly of Timothy as a son to him while having no place for John Mark in his ministry. It has been a painful blessing of honest self-examination.[1] 

Here’s what stands out as the difference between the two men: 

John Mark

Timothy

Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark.

But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.

(Acts 15:37-38)

For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy's proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. (Phil 2:20-22)

The differences are summarized like this: 

John Mark

Timothy

·   one who had withdrawn from them

·   and had not gone with them to the work

·   genuinely concerned for the church

·   seeks the interests of Jesus Christ

·   served with servants of the gospel

John Mark had withdrawn from some obvious work of God and would not go with genuine leaders into the ministry of the gospel and the care of the churches.[2] In Paul’s mind, this disqualified him from participating in the ministry to the churches that was about to begin. There was nothing malicious in this on Paul’s part, only a concern that the care of the churches was too serious a matter to entrust it to someone who might walk away again and not finish the work. 

On the other hand, Timothy was just as concerned for the wellbeing of the churches as Paul was, seeking Jesus’ interests for the church, and serving with those who were preaching the good news and caring for the churches. He wasn’t of greater worth than John Mark, but Paul could trust Timothy to be faithful in expressing an agapè-love ministry to the churches, always seeking God’s best for everyone. 

It was right at this point in typing these things out that I realized I hadn’t saved my sharing yet, so that meant coming up with a file name. The above suggestion of, “the realness of being useful,” suddenly uncovered junk that needed help. No surprise there. The older I get the more not-yet-like-Jesus-stuff seems to get uncovered as God’s unrelenting work of making me like Jesus requires the Beatitudinal Journey EVERY… SINGLE… DAY![3] 

I understand that our worth to God is not in our usefulness, but in our identity as his beloved children. He who initially created us in his own image and likeness,[4] had his love set upon us even before that creation.[5] He wants us to know that we are “beloved children”[6] by our identity, not as something we earn by being good. 

However, we cannot escape that living worthy of our new identity in Christ means being useful to everyone.[7] We are saved by grace through faith without works, sure enough, but we are also God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.[8] That means being useful in what we do even though being useful is not what gives us our worth. We have a place in God’s kingdom and in the body of Christ that is our unique distinction to connect the people in our lives to the one true God.[9] 

We are useful to the lost because we can tell them the good news of great joy that there is a Savior, who is Christ the Lord![10] We are useful to people living in darkness because we have found the great light and have become the light of the world![11] 

We are useful to people who are blind to the glory of Jesus Christ because “we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth,”[12] and Jesus will use the word and our testimonies to open the eyes of those who have never seen these wonders. 

We are useful to the hurting because we know the one who heals the brokenhearted and binds up our wounds.[13] We are useful to the weary and burdened because we are ourselves yoked to Jesus Christ for the good of our souls and know how to lead others into that same life of faith.[14] 

Each believer in Jesus Christ has a distinctive usefulness based on our spiritual gifts, the local church we are part of (all the believers in our community), and the particular group of people we meet with for daily and weekly fellowship. We will meet people on any given day who may have no other child of God to seek their highest good, to pray for them, to be ready for divine appointments, and to always express the agapè-love that wants God’s best for them. 

Even where a number of believers have input to someone’s life, each person has a distinctive usefulness based on their experiences of God’s grace and their gifting to do ministry. 

Which brings me back to John-Mark. Whatever his reason for abandoning Paul and the others, that is not the end of his story. Years later, Paul would commend him to the church at Colossae as one of his “fellow workers” who had been a comfort to him.[15] To his friend, Philemon, Paul sent greetings from a number of men, including Mark as one of his “fellow workers”.[16] 

And then we find this treasure of grace as Paul unites John Mark with Timothy. He writes Timothy and asks him to “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.”[17] Paul was not saying that Mark suddenly had worth to him, but that Mark had matured sufficiently that Paul now knew he could be trusted to do what was best for the churches without falling away for whatever self-centered reason hindered him in the past. 

Every believer in Jesus Christ has a story. One person matures faster than another. Some people have weak faith and need extra care. Leaders must meet qualifications because not everyone is mature enough to lead God’s people. Even the first deacons (servants of the church) had to be “full of the Spirit and wisdom” because handling the finances involved in distributing food to the widows of the early church required spiritual maturity more than financial experience.[18] 

My point is that those who are already mature enough to care for the interests of Christ in his church should get busy doing so and those who have failed to walk in these things should make every effort to grow up. Timothies should spend time with Paul’s who can mentor them in ministry. John Marks should spend time with Barnabases who can encourage them and help them grow up. 

And, when we can’t find such people to help and mentor us in real time, God has given us a Book filled with witnesses of faith who will help us all to mature in our Savior and run the race of faith with perseverance. Let us all let the word of Christ dwell in us richly and he will work through his word, and through his church, to transform us daily from one degree of glory to another so that our unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace helps everyone grow up in Christ.

 

© 2021 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)



[1] I understand that there is a kind of self-examination that is a horrible and depressing world of wrong beliefs and judgments about ourselves based on a history of negative messages from people who have hurt us. However, I am speaking here about the good kind of self-examination spoken of in God’s word where Paul says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (II Corinthians 13:5). Not only can we test ourselves in the fullest way to see if we are really in the faith at all, but we can also test specific thoughts, beliefs and feelings that come up to see if they are in the way of faith or in the way of flesh (sark).

[2] Acts 13:13

[3] The Beatitudinal Journey is that described by Jesus in the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:1-12. God will often show me my poverty of spirit about some aspect of Christlikeness, lead me to mourn how poorly I am doing in that area of being like my Savior, and continue the blessing of mourning until I reach a genuine experience of meekness that knows I cannot fix anything wrong with me. That admission causes me to begin hungering and thirsting after the righteousness of being like Jesus in the way addressed (because I now know I can’t make it happen), but with the wonderful promise of grace that hungering and thirsting after righteousness shall be satisfied. This then leads me to greater maturity as a merciful person, greater purity of heart as another blemish receives ministry from the Spirit, greater desire and effort to be a peacemaker who leads others to have peace with God, and a greater willingness to not only bear persecution, but to rejoice when doing so.

[4] Genesis 1:26-27

[5] Ephesians 1:3-14 shows how God settled our salvation before creation so that we know that salvation was not an afterthought when God discovered his wonderful little children had just cursed the world with their sin (see Genesis 3). God knew salvation’s plan before he expressed creation’s plan.

[6] Ephesians 5:1-2

[7] The apostles make a clear distinction between the worldly and sarky idea of getting our worth from what we do and the reality of the work of Christ in which we live worthy of the grace-by-faith experience of our new life in Christ. See Ephesians 4:1-3; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:9-14; I Thessalonians 2:12; II Thessalonians 1:11-12

[8] Ephesians 2:8-10

[9] Paul makes much of the distinctive place of each believer as a member of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:1-31). And all believers are to live out their distinctive place as “a kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6; Revelation 1:6; 6:10).

[10] Luke 2:10-11

[11] Matthew 4:12-17; Matthew 5:14-16; Ephesians 5:18; Philippians 2:14-16; I Thessalonians 5:5

[12] John 1:14

[13] Psalm 147:3

[14] Matthew 11:28-30

[15] Colossians 4:10-11

[16] Philemon 1:23-24

[17] II Timothy 4:11

[18] Acts 6:1-7