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Heirs

So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:12-25, NRSV)

We are not slaves but are a part of the household.

We have been given adoption by God and called heirs with Christ.

God is our Father. We were saved by the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

So cry out to God your father and know that Christ is your brother!

 

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if you continue…

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”  Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:31-36, NRSV)

If the biggest smallest word in the English language!

“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples.” If you continue means they were listening to and following His words. That is a question for some. But do we continue to listen and follow the words Jesus is saying to us?

They questioned even the statement of being set free, because they are descendants of Abraham, and therefore are a part of God’s chosen people, but have they forgotten this little place called Eygpt? And the years the Israelite people spent there in slavery? Never been slaves to anyone? Really?

But it isn’t about being a slave to a master who is human, could be, but more than that it is about us living a life that is freed from all worries and concerns. It is about us finding joy in the darkness because we are connected to Jesus.

It is about hearing His calling and following. It is about abiding in His word and allowing Him to abide in us.

 

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all in all

161103Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!  As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:5-17, NRSV)

No matter what you were, once you have been brought into the body, you are one in the same with all other members of the body. And thus we should work together in harmony.

We need to have compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience with all. And bear each other in love, because in Christ we are made one.

Christ is all in all and all of us are one in Him.

 

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Faith

161004When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.”  The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour. (Matthew 8:5-13, NRSV)

Where is your trust?

This Roman centurion had control of many men, and when he told them to do something he knew it would happen. He trusted his men to complete the tasks they were given. He believed that they would follow through on their orders.

And so when he heard of Jesus and his ability to heal, he went to Jesus and asked for his beloved servant to be healed. Now this servant had to be special to the centurion because a servant could be replaced, but this one was cared for, lying paralyzed. This was a burden on the centurion, so this was not an ordinary slave. But the centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant and knew that if Jesus said the healing would happen it would happen.

Do we have that trust in Jesus?

Do we believe that what we have been told by God is true?

Do we have faith that the promises we have received will come to be?

You see all of that is what Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” The word faith in Greek means faith, trust and believe. 1 word for all three concepts to us. 1 word that gives us an understanding of who Jesus is.

Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.

Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such trust.

Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such belief.

Do you have this trust?

This belief?

This faith?

 

 

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command or appeal

160906Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ. I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother. For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love—and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me. I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel; but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother—especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. One thing more—prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping through your prayers to be restored to you. Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (Philemon, NRSV)

This is a great little letter stuck in the New Testament, most of us probably overlook.

It is a simple communication between Paul and Philemon. Mostly about a man named Onesimus who was a slave of Philemon until he ran away and somehow got hooked up with Paul. Now Paul needs for Onesimus to return to Philemon and Onesimus is, of course, afraid, because the punishment for a slave running away could be his life.

But Paul appeals to Philemon out of the love of Christ, while Paul could command Philemon to accept Onesimus back because of the love of Christ, instead Paul appeals to Philemon to live out the love we all have in Christ.

We are all once slaves, and set free by Christ, and we all need to accept our brothers and sisters as they are, flawed just like us, but also made new and perfect in the eyes of the Lord. Through His love for all of us!

So be moved by the love of the Lord to accept each other as Christ has accepted you.

 

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friends

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.  “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. (John 15:9-17, NRSV)

I do not call you servants, but I have called you friends. You did not choose me, but I chose you.

We were chosen by Jesus, not to be His servant, to serve Him, but to be His friend and serve the world. And there is no greater love, than to lay down your life for your friend. Jesus did this for us, while we were still far off from Him. Deserving to be cast aside, our lot was taken from us by Jesus who gave up His life for all of us.

And yet, He is not our master and we His slaves, we are His friends.

So go into the world sharing His love, and bearing fruit to help others see the love that God has for them.

 

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no better than slaves

for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.  My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property; but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. (Galatians 3:26-4:7, NRSV)

I’ve read this passage many times and heard points argued around it.

But today I read something that has missed my attention before.

It really just drives home the point. In Paul’s day the order of the household went:

Father

Sons

Mother

Daughters

Slaves

But if the children (sons or daughters) were minors they were no better than the slaves!

So those who will control the house, until that point comes are in a sense still property.

And in that sense we are all the same under Christ. No longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, man and woman. We are all the same in the eyes of God.

We are all no better than the slaves, but what a great master to serve!

 

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