The Glorious Christ

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Paul had never met the Colossian Christians but had heard good things about them and their faith. He wrote to encourage them to stand firm in their faith, for they had believed in the Gospel of the glorious Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, the image of the invisible God, who secured redemption for the whole cosmos.

The Glorious Christ

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ that are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

We give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have toward all the saints, because of the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which is come unto you; even as it is also in all the world bearing fruit and increasing, as it doth in you also, since the day ye heard and knew the grace of God in truth; even as ye learned of Epaphras our beloved fellow-servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray and make request for you, that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to walk worthily of the Lord unto all pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, unto all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks unto the Father, who made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love; in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins:

who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him; and he is before all things, and in him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in him should all the fulness dwell; and through him to reconcile all things unto himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him, I say, whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens.

And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and unreproveable before him: if so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and stedfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven; whereof I Paul was made a minister (Colossians 1:1-23)

The Glorious Christ
Paul's Letter to the Colossians

 
 
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What Is “Spiritual”?

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It’s a term we hear all over the place anymore. People are trying to be “spiritual” but not “religious.” Even as people seem to question Christianity, “spirituality” remains popular. But what is “spiritual”? To what does it actually refer? Is it always good, healthy, or positive?

What Is Spiritual?

What Is “Spiritual”?
The Heavenly Realm

 
 
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What Is the Resurrection?

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It’s a savage irony: the resurrection is the fundamental of the Christian faith according to the Apostles and early Christians, yet in the 21st century, it has become quite poorly understood and rarely discussed. Everything about Christianity depends on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, Jesus’ continual Lordship in the resurrection body, and the hope of bodily resurrection for the believer.

What Is the Resurrection?

What Is the Resurrection?
The Fundamentals

 
 
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What Is Righteousness?

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Everything seemed “righteous” in the 1980s; “righteousness” is often associated with a certain type of very strict people. What is righteousness really all about? What is righteousness? Who can be righteous, and how?

What Is Righteousness?

What Is Righteousness?
The Fundamentals

 
 
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Who Is the Holy Spirit?

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Christians believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God in Three Persons. Of the Three most find the Holy Spirit to be the most difficult to recognize or understand. Who is the Holy Spirit? How can we know?

Who is the Holy Spirit?

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
The Fundamentals

 
 
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Maturing in Christ: Its Development

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We need to grow in Christ. Great! But how are we supposed to do that? The Hebrew author points the way forward in Hebrews 5:12-14.

Maturing in Christ: Its Development

For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food. For every one that partaketh of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But solid food is for fullgrown men, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Wherefore leaving the doctrine of the first principles of Christ, let us press on unto perfection; not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the teaching of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit (Hebrews 6:1-3).

Maturing in Christ: Its Development
Maturing in Christ

 
 
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The Voice 5.04: January 25, 2015

posted in: The Voice | 0

The Voice

Spiritual Growth

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen (2 Peter 3:18).

Very few moments are as special as the birth of a child. When a newborn enters the world, he or she comes with so much hope and promise. Yet, for any of that hope and promise to be achieved, the newborn must first grow. While newborns and infants are special, they too must grow up to become toddlers, children, teenagers, and finally adults.

The same is true in spiritual terms. It is special and wonderful when anyone obeys the Gospel and calls upon the name of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (Acts 22:16, Romans 6:1-11). At that point the believer is as a spiritual infant, and needs to grow in order to achieve their hope and promise in Jesus Christ, as it is written:

As newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation (1 Peter 2:2).

As with physical newborns, so with spiritual newborns: milk must be the first food. Spiritual milk represents the basic truths of God’s Word: understanding the plan of salvation, what Christians must do and must not do, more about who Jesus was and His Lordship, and regarding the church that is His body (Hebrews 6:1-4, Galatians 5:17-24, Romans 6:1-23, Ephesians 5:22-33). A Christian without a basic understanding of God’s message to mankind is like a baby without milk: failing to thrive and in danger of death!

While it is very important to learn about God and His will for mankind in the Bible, it is just as important to begin practicing what God teaches. The only way Christians can grow is through “constant practice” of distinguishing good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). We know that in physical matters, humans learn either in a school environment or in a “real life” environment: one either devotes himself to study, and then later uses that knowledge in his labor, or one learns by practicing the labor. While there are opportunities for Christians to learn through study and devotion to the Scriptures, Christians must also experience “on the job training”: learning by doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong (Galatians 5:17-24). One cannot truly learn of Jesus by just sitting and reading a book: one must also “walk as He walked” (1 John 2:6).

Another aspect of growth is learning to present the Gospel to others in both word and deed. It was not a long time between Paul was converted and when he began to teach of Jesus in the synagogues (Acts 9:20-22); it also did not take long for Apollos to preach Jesus as the Christ (Acts 18:26-28). As with all things in life, you are likely to make mistakes in the beginning. Yet by trying we can learn from our mistakes and be that much more effective the next time. If we are not ashamed of the Gospel, then we must not be ashamed to begin preaching it (Romans 1:16)!

Just as newborns are born into families, and normally have a support system of parents, grandparents, among others, so newborn Christians ought to have a spiritual family that will help them grow in their walk with God. That spiritual family is the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-28). Many times people have bad feelings toward churches because of unfortunate events or attitudes that might have existed. Yet the Bible makes it clear that the church is important to God: it is the Body of Christ, and represents all those who are being saved (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 5:22-33). Those who are not in the church are not saved!

Part of God’s wisdom regarding the church involves the local congregation. God specified that His people should come together to encourage one another constantly (Hebrews 10:24-25). Such a group was to be shepherded by elders who meet certain qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-8, 1 Peter 5:1-4), and served by deacons (1 Timothy 3:9-12). By coming together and encouraging one another, Christians can rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:27-28).

Learning of God’s Word, putting it into practice, preaching the Gospel, and being part of Christ’s church help a newborn Christian grow to maturity in their faith. Can we encourage you toward spiritual growth?

Ethan R. Longhenry