Colossians 2:6

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 2:6

“Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,” – Colossians 2:6  

Paul here is encouraging the church in Colossae to live life as it is intended as followers of Christ.  He specifically says, ‘as you received Christ Jesus the Lord walk in Him’.  Not as you received the doctrines of God, walk in them.  He is being very explicit here.

When we accepted Christ as our savior, we received the Spirit of Life in Christ.  This is His spirit residing in us.  We will have this Spirit in us if we are truly saved.  Paul says later in a letter, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Romans 8:9 If we are saved, we do not live in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in us.  If He does not dwell in us, then we are not truly Christians.

So, if we have received the Spirit of God in us, then we are saved, so we must walk in Him.  To walk in Him means in this context, to conduct ourselves in the way Christ did and desires us to live.  The Law does not save, but it shows us the character of God and thus how we should live.  In the same faith, love and holiness He did.  Now we will occasionally fail in this, but when we do, we confess it to God and turn back to the life we should live.

The proof of our salvation is the life we live as a result of it.  Do we live totally committed to God, or not?  Paul is telling us that Christ gave it all for us.  We should desire, because of the Spirit that lives in us, to do the same for Him.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Colossians 3:17

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 3:17

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” – Colossians 3:17 

Let us first look at Colossians 1:7. “just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bondservant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.”  Colossians 1:7-8.  Paul refers to himself as a bondservant of Christ. The Greek word for bondservant is ‘doulos’ which translated is servant or slave. And since we are slaves to Christ, we are His and not our own.  For we became His when we accepted the work of Christ on the cross and the Spirit of God entered in and lives within us.  “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Romans 8:9  And we were bought with His blood.  “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:20.

We are not our own.  When a slave does anything, it is at the command of his owner and master.  Anything we do for God we do because He has commanded us to do so.  It is not because we chose to do it, but we chose to obey Him.  This is important, for in reality not only does He command us what to do, but also helps us by working in us to do it.  “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13. His Spirit who resides in us will do the work He has called us to do, what we must do is submit to Him, and listen to Him so that we know what to do and how to do it.

And because He is our Lord and Master, anything we do must be in His name and not our own.  He is all knowing, and He knows exactly what is needed to fulfill His will not only in our lives, but in the lives of those He brings our way.  “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28. So, if He leads people to us, we must listen and allow Him to not only command us what we are to do, but also to submit to Him and allow Him to work in us to accomplish His good purpose.

So, as our focus verse tells us, whatever we do, whether it be in word by what we say, or in deed by what we do, we must do it in the name of Jesus.  This entails every outward thing we do.  And if we do it in Jesus’ name, then it must be what and how He would do it.  That is why we must submit to Him and allow His Spirit to guide us.  We must be humble enough to realize it is not our work, but His work that He does through us.  The knowledge we have is from Him.  The opportunities we have are from Him.  The timing of each work we do for Him is from Him.  And finally, the method by which we do this work is from Him.

We should be thankful to God every time we are given a task to do in the name of our Lord Jesus, for in accomplishing this task, we glorify Him in our submission to His Spirit and His will.  This is the greatest honor we could ever receive, being used by Him.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Colossians 3:9

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 3:9

“Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,” – Colossians 3:9

We as Christians are different from those in the world.  We have been saved.  We died with Christ and we were raised up in newness of life.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Paul here says that we are new creatures.  We are not what we were as the old man, who we were before is gone.  We have become new, made in the image of Christ.  We were predestined to be like Him, because He foreknew, we would believe and be saved. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;” Romans 8:29.

Now, since we are like Christ, then we must act like Him.  In all ways we are to be like Him.  In this verse, we will look at one of the ways we are to imitate Him.  That is in being honest in all ways.  Lying is one of the vices of the tongue.  Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus the following, “But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.” Ephesians 4:20-25.  Because we are in the likeness of Christ, we should never speak falsehood, but we must always speak the truth.  This speaks of our neighbors, both those who are in the body with us, or those who are yet unsaved.  Why would Christ give us the approval to lie to anyone.  He would not, therefore this must apply to all men.  If we lie to our Christian brothers and sisters, this will have the result of lessening the bonds we have with them and bringing dissention within the body.  If we lie to an unsaved person, we cause them to distrust us and likely destroy the possibility of bringing them to Christ.

Christ never taught us to be deceptive.  In every way, we are to be totally honest in how we see things.  For example, if we are selling anything, we should be honest regarding its condition and worth.  We should never attempt to deceive the buyer regarding how much the object is worth.  If we know something, we should let them know about it.  For instance, if there is any damage to it, be honest and let them know.  Attempting to get more than something is worth is being greedy.  We are taking more from them than we are entitled to, this is wrong and can be a form of theft. So, as new creatures, let us focus on being like Christ in all ways.  In regard to lying, we must never be dishonest, for it breaks the trust others have in us and will be detrimental to the cause of Christ.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Colossians 3:15

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 3:15

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” – Colossians 3:15 

One of the great benefits we have as a Christian is the peace that is received from Him.  This world is a difficult place.  There is so much turmoil and strife.  It seems like everywhere we look we see fighting, arguing and agitation.  This is, of course, the work of the enemy, he is constantly looking around for someone to deceive and torment.  “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.

When we accept the work that Christ did on the cross, namely His death, burial and resurrection, we are justified, declared righteous because He paid the price for our sins.  And because of this, we have peace with God. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans 5:1.  We have been reconciled with God, and we now have access to Him.  And this relationship we have with Him, having truly given our lives to Him, is the source of this peace. “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.  Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4.  Why are we at peace. Because we steadfastly trust Him.  If we keep our minds focused firmly on Him and not ourselves or our situation, and we trust Him no matter what, He will keep us in perfect peace.  He will be our protector and our source.

Now, I am not going to say this is always easy.  There will be hard times.  I think we can all attest to that.  This is the way of the world.  The enemy is always looking for ways to get our eyes off God’s faithfulness and on our trials.  But Jesus said that we must be courageous, keep focused and remember Him.  “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. In the world we will experience trials and tribulation.  However, since we are in Christ, He provides us with the peace we need.  How can He do this, because He has overcome the world.  We can trust this and take courage in it.  For Christ is known as the Prince and Lord of peace.  Paul prays for God’s people, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!”  2 Thessalonians 3:16.

I will close with this last verse that has encouraged me more times than I can count. I pray that it encourages you greatly as well.  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.  Be at peace.  He is victorious and He will be with us.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Colossians 1:23

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 1:23

“If indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.” – Colossians 1:23

This is a very interesting verse in that it is essentially saying salvation is not a one-time event.  It is actually a continuous one.  Yes, there is a time when we accept the work Jesus did on the cross for our benefit, that being the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  This is where our journey starts.  However, many believe this is where it ends as well, that once we do this we cannot lose our salvation.  However, we can wonder away which this verse explains explicitly.

First, Paul introduces this idea in four verses preceding.  “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him (Jesus), and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach” Colossians 1:19-22.  When the Father sent the Son here, it pleased Him because it was the way to reconcile us to Himself.  We were enemies of God, hostile to His ways.  We walked according to the ways of this world and our unrighteous desires.  “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” Ephesians 2:1-3.  However, when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are reconciled to God.  We have the privilege of calling Him our Father and Christ our Lord.

But this is only the beginning.  Not only must we accept Him and the new life we are to live, but we must persevere to the end.  We must not turn around and say, ‘This isn’t working, I want to go back to the way things were.’  We do not have to explicitly say these words but turning away from Christ and walking away is basically the same thing.  And one more thing regarding this, it could be a gradual turning away.  We may start by simply going back to a few of our old ways.  But,  if they are contrary to the Christian walk, have we not in essence turned away?  We must always obey what He has commanded us.  Recall the words of Jesus. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15.

Jesus in His messages to the seven churches in Asia Minor said the same.  He said those who overcome and keeps My deeds until the end will be blessed as follows:

  • To the Church of Ephesus – I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.
  • To the Church of Smyrna – will not be hurt by the second death
  • To the Church of Pergamum – I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.
  • To the Church of Thyatira – To him I will give authority over the nations, and shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I have received authority from my Father.
  • To the Church of Sardis – They will be clothes in white garments, and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father and before the angels.
  • To the Church of Philadelphia – I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.
  • To the Church of Laodicea – I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

Salvation is not a one and done event.  It is first giving our lives over to Christ and His Lordship.  Then it is continuing to live this life until the end of the age and He returns.  We cannot lose our salvation, but we can walk away.  Remember the words of James regarding this idea.  “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 2:17. I encourage us all to show our salvation by our works, remain steadfast and a true follower no matter the cost until He returns. We can then rejoice for all things will be made new.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Colossians 3:23

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 3:23

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,” – Colossians 3:23

When we received Christ and His work on the cross, He became our Lord.  He freed us from the lordship of man but not the responsibility to those we work for.  Anything we do now is for Christ and not for men.  “Slaves be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” Ephesians 6:5-6.  The word ‘slave’ in this verse can be seen as employee under an employer in today’s thinking since slavery is illegal in our society.

In essence what Paul is saying is that everything we do, either for our employers, family, friends, church, or anyone actually, should be done as if we are doing it for Christ.  In a way, we actually are, but we must not assume we can do less than our best because it is not “Christian duty”.  Everything we do must be as if we are doing it for Him.  We are not to just look like we are doing a good job, but we must actually do a good job.  When those whom we are working for look at us, and our progress and results, they must see the very best we can do.  Just because we are now Christians does not mean we can break the ties we have here.  Remember, God led us to where we are, therefore, we actually are doing His work for them.

So, how can we accomplish this?  We must be obedient to those we are working for and with.  In a work environment, we must do all we are asked to do, when and how they want it done.  This is what is meant by ‘ do your work heartily’ Not because we are being forced to but doing it from our heart; with good will desiring the best for them.  We should love them as Christ does.  There were many times when I worked in computer programming, I had to just make it happen because they needed it done immediately.  I cannot count the number of times I had to work weekends and late into the evening.  In fact, once I was given a task on Friday morning and it needed to be done as soon as possible.  I worked straight through till I finished Sunday evening.  Not because I wanted to, but because it was needed and only, I understood the systems requiring changes.  I say this as an example.  I wish my heart was completely right during that time period.  But I did it as unto the Lord. I also asked for forgiveness for those times where my heart was not right.

When we do this, we are showing our love for them and ultimately, in them seeing us do this, we may have an opening to share the gospel to those we work for and with.  If they see us giving our all to make what they need happen, they may be open to hearing why we give our best. What a great opportunity.

Lastly, since we are doing it for the Lord and not men, we know “that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:24. We may not receive anything from men, but from Christ, we have an inheritance in store for us.  Therefore, we must be faithful to God, and when we are Christ will give us this heavenly reward.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Colossians 4:6

Verse of the Day Devotion Colossians 4:6

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.” –  Colossians 4:6

Paul here is giving instructions to the Church in Colossae about being a witness of what this Christian life is all about.  In verse 5 he speaks of how we should be around non-believers.  “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.” Colossians 4:5.  He starts by saying we are to be wise around those who are unbelievers.  We must understand that the Christian life isn’t only lived in Church or the prayer closet, but it also must be practical, lived-out Christianity, which lives wisely toward those who do not believe.  Back in the apostles time, distorted accounts of Christian conduct and belief were in circulation because of what so many who were against Christianity or had never come into contact with true believers thought.  And we are experiencing the same thing today. So many people have been fed lies and distortions regarding what true Christianity is.  Therefore, it is absolutely essential that we be wise as to how we speak and act around everyone.

Now, lets look at our focus verse.  “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:6.  Paul here is stating that everything we say to, and even that which unbelievers may overhear, should be spoken graciously.  This communication continues to have the dual purpose of defending one’s behavior as a believer and inviting others to accept Christ as their Savior. Continuing the instructions about how to relate to unbelievers, this admonition encourages believers to engage them with courtesy and kindness. Engagement with even hostile outsiders must reflect the new life that believers possess in Christ. Such exchanges must manifest the “new self” that we are.

Also, Paul states that our speech should always be “seasoned with salt”. The phrase seasoned with salt confirms the translation “gracious”, because this well-known idiom means “pleasing”.  “Seasoned with” among the Greeks, was the emblem of wit. Here the meaning seems to be, that our conversation should be seasoned with piety or grace in a way similar to that in which we employ salt in our food, which makes it wholesome and palatable. So with our conversation.  We see this idea in 1 Peter where it says, “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:13-16.

We must be careful how we present ourselves to those in the world who are not believers.  The final phrase of verse 6 could be read as a directive that concerns only friendly inquiry into the substance of the faith. But given the immediately preceding reference to Paul’s imprisonment for the gospel and the whole letter’s recognition that the powers that control the cosmos also oppose Christ; this reading is unlikely. The readers’ gracious speech must be able to explain to outsiders, even the suspicious and hostile, why people in the church believe and act as they do. The form of the phrase imposes an obligation: we must know how necessary it is to give an answer. This exhortation applies to all members of the community; all must prepare to tell about their faith. And they must prepare to answer everyone. In light of the preceding household code, everyone includes unbelieving husbands, parents, and employers, as well as unbelieving wives, children, and employees. It may even extend to the visionaries, particularly those in places of authority over others who may be expected to pose sharp questions about what the church teaches and why.  We must follow with all we are the words of Paul to Timothy where he said, “Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:14-15.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Colossians 3:16

Verse of the Day Devotion Colossians 3:16

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16

Paul here is referring to the gospel when he says, ‘the word of Christ’. We see that Paul, in many verses, uses the ‘word of God’ as in “Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,” Colossians 1:25, as well as “And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17.  So, what we see is that here in verse 16 he is referring to the ‘message about Christ’ rather then the message from Christ.

The meaning we can derive of the command is that the Christian message must be an integral and permanent living force in all Christian’s hearts, not just an outward performance or routine activities. It may be rather difficult in some languages to speak of a message living in someone’s heart. However, we can re-state it by saying,  a message may speak to the heart. This message should be such that if affects our very being.  Paul makes it clear by saying we must let it ‘richly dwell in us’. Richly is a metaphor for all the resources and blessings which are to be found in the Christian message. The phrase in all its richness may characterize either the message or the way in which the message must live in the believer. The meaning is essentially the same in either case. In the first instance, one may speak of the “the wonderful message” and in the second instance, “must live in a wonderful way.” And this is to be taken in two valid ways, in the heart of each individual as well as in the heart of the Church as a whole.

The main idea is that this message regarding Christ must be what we base our lives on.  We must live out this message in ourselves, and we must also help others live it out as well.  Many people who are new to the faith do not fully understand what this life is all about.  This is what I believe Paul was speaking of.  The word ‘teaching’ is the Greek word didaskō which has the idea of teaching publicly or privately, but also the idea of admonishing when they do not follow appropriately.  And we are called to do it with all wisdom, meaning ‘by using all wisdom’ or ‘by being wise in every way’.  We should not flippantly teach about Jesus and the gospel message but should do all we can to train everyone truly in the ways of Christ.  Too often people share the truth but do not go into the depth needed for others to understand it fully.  This message is far too important to simply present it without making its meaning clear.  You may be able to do this with one discussion, or it may take additional training.  But what is important is that the message is understood.

And the message we present, either of training or admonition, should be such that it prompts praise and thanksgiving to God for all He has done and is doing. The message of Christ is a message of grace and mercy.  We had no hope for salvation until Christ came and presented His body as a sacrifice for us all.  There was nothing we could do, so He did it all.  And finally, when we do all this, we must remember that “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17.  We must let our words be right, and our actions upright.  Theologian Adam Clarke puts it this way. “Begin with him, and end with him; invoke his name, and pray for his direction and support, in all that ye do; and thus every work will be crowned with all requisite success.” We must remember what Paul said to the Church at Philippi. “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13.  God is working through us to do what we are called to do.  And when we submit to God and allow Him to work through us, we can rejoice with the success we have in helping others become the Christian they are called to be.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Colossians 2:8

Verse of the Day Devotion Colossians 2:8  

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” – Colossians 2:8 

Here Paul is warning the Church of Colossae that since they had received Christ as savior, they need now not just to believe it, but to live it as well. “Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6-7. Too many people today rely simply on their declaration of belief to be the sole proof of their salvation.  However, a declaration of belief only allows people to see what you want them to see. To live it is to allow people to see who you truly are. And it is important to go beyond surface level living, but to be firmly rooted and built up in Christ, being strengthened in the faith. This idea is of a tree.  Our roots should grow deep and strong, spread throughout the entirety of our being. We must constantly study, thereby learning more and more about our new life in Christ.

However, in the next verse, which is our focus, we are to be careful what we study. “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8. The words ‘see to it’  has the idea of ‘watch out’. Paul wants those in Colossae to watch out lest they are taken captive by this belief. The verbiage translated in this way by is a rare one, used only here in biblical Greek and sparsely elsewhere. It vividly expresses the danger that the readers may be “carried off as plunder” by an alien and fundamentally anti-Christian form of teaching. These teachings are categorized as those philosophies and teachings that are empty of truth and are according to man’s traditions and not of Christ. The theological threat concern two major tenets of the Christian faith. These being ‘soteriology’, which applies to the person and work of Christ specifically related to His work on the cross, and ‘sanctification’ which is the application of the cross to the development of personal purity. Paul addresses both here in this chapter; the theology of salvation in verses 8-15 and sanctification in verses 16-19.

The enemy wants to lead Christians away from the truth of Christianity.  His desire is to pluck as many followers as he can away from Christ. Therefore, he has many teachers in this world who try to convince Christians they do not have it quite right.  A big deception today is Jesus+.  This idea is that it takes more than Christ’s work to save us. We need to do some works as well to solidify our salvation.  I unknowingly got involved in a cult that required their followers to read the Bible, but without understanding. They would provide all the understanding needed. They also wanted everyone to dress somewhat the same, very plain clothing and no jewelry. Most Christian cults follow the same path. Believe in Christ, but do not think what He did was all that was necessary.

That is why Paul wrote to Timothy saying, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. We must take the time to study the scriptures so that we accurately know what it says. If you have any question as to what something means, do some research to see what the writer is saying.  And do not hesitate to ask someone you trust to help you understand the meaning.  God wants you to know exactly what He is saying in His Word. Pray if you run into questions you cannot answer, and then let Him lead you to the answer. The scriptures present the entire truth we need.

Sometimes some scriptures appear to say the opposite of each other.  I have a saying I use that goes like this.  “If two scriptures appear to contradict each other, it is because we either do not understand one of them or both of them.” This could be because of previous teachings that were confusing or it is something we have not studied before. If we run into this pray, and have God show us what it means.  And again, do not hesitate to ask someone else for assistance if needed.

God desires us to understand the Word He has given us. Take the time to read  it and study it. This is the best answer on how to avoid the deceptions that are prevalent in today’s culture. And lastly, never avoid asking someone you trust, questions that you cannot get answers to. Pray while studying, and if necessary, ask Him to guide you to someone who can help you. And do not just have them answer it, but thoroughly explain it as well. Doing these things will help each of us grow in the knowledge and wisdom of God’s Word and strengthen our relationship with Him.  And is this not our goal?

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Colossians 4:5

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Colossians 4:5 

“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.” – Colossians 4:5

Paul here is encouraging the Church to be wise in their dealings with non-Christians.  What he means by this is we are to conduct ourselves upright and honestly with them.  For if we do not, the unbeliever may have an occasion to reproach or speak negatively regarding Christianity.  The Church in Colossae was surrounded by pagans who served their own gods rather than the true God.  Therefore, we must act with prudence and propriety toward them; and there is perhaps mot a more important idea in the New Testament than this, for if we do not act wisely, we could destroy any opportunity to speak the truth to them and show them the reality of the gospel of Christ.

So, we must be careful how we approach them.  First, it is important to understand that people in the world judge religion not based on the profession of a believer, but from the life of its followers.  Regarding religion, people are looking for reality more than just talk.  They judge religion not from preaching or  books, or from the conduct of its Founder and his followers, but from what they see in the daily walk and conversation of the members of the church.  Do we walk the walk, or simply talk the talk?  Many who are in other religions understand what religion is about, and why people believe them.  They do this so well that they know when church goers are or are not consistent with their profession.

Unbelievers will set a much higher value on honesty and integrity than on the doctrines and practices.  and if the professing Christians are destitute of the principles of truth and honesty, they will believe they have nothing of any value. They may be very devout in church; very regular at prayer-meetings; very strict in the doing of Christian things – but all these are of little worth in the estimation of the world, unless attended with an upright life.

The most important calling we have is to go out and proclaim the gospel to all the world.  And in the process making disciples of Christ.  “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20.  It is important that we go out and show the world the truth of the gospel for the times are getting short and more evil.  “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16.  We can go out and share the gospel all day long, however, if they have seen us doing evil while calling ourselves Christians, or if we have participated with unbelievers in sinful acts while professing faith in Christ, we may have destroyed any opportunity to help them be saved.  And worse, they may never listen to any Christian present the gospel because of what they remember.

Our enemy, the devil, is always looking for ways to diminish our impact to a lost world of unbelievers.  And he will do all he can to make this happen.  “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9.  Let us not destroy the light we shine in a dark world that need to come to Christ by foolish and sinful activities that destroy our witness to those who need us.  What happened before our salvation can be explained and understood.  But it is far different for deeds done after our salvation when we profess Jesus as Lord.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.