The Comforter

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Jesus was leaving, yes, but would not abandon His disciples as orphans. They had no reason to fear; the Comforter would come. We have much to gain from what Jesus told the disciples.

The Comforter

If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you desolate: I come unto you. Yet a little while, and the world beholdeth me no more; but ye behold me: because I live, ye shall live also. In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him.
Judas (not Iscariot) saith unto him, Lord, what is come to pass that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my words: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, while yet abiding with you. But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe. I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing in me; but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.
Arise, let us go hence.

But these things have I spoken unto you, that when their hour is come, ye may remember them, how that I told you. And these things I said not unto you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go unto him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have spoken these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you. And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall take of mine, and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he taketh of mine, and shall declare it unto you” (John 14:15-31, 16:4-15).

The Comforter
Jesus' Final Discourse

 
 
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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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The Message of the Bible

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The Bible is strongly associated with Judaism and Christianity; people expect Christians to know about the Bible and to be attempting to live by its principles. But what is the Bible and its message?

The Message of the Bible

The Message of the Bible
The Bible

 
 
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The Folly of the Christian Life

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Blessed are the poor? Turn the other cheek? Love your enemies? Suffer without responding in kind? To the world, the life God expects Christians to live is sheer foolishness. But to those who are being saved it is the power of God.

The Folly of the Christian Life

The Folly of the Christian Life
The Folly of God in Christ

 
 
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The Folly of the Resurrection

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If there’s any guarantee in life, this is it: dead people stay dead. Yet Christians proclaim Jesus of Nazareth as the Crucified but Risen Christ. The world has always found that claim ridiculous and foolish; but for Christians it is the anchor and hope of life which changes everything.

The Folly of the Resurrection

“The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent: inasmuch as he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, We will hear thee concerning this yet again (Acts 17:30-32).

The Folly of the Resurrection
The Folly of God in Christ

 
 
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Folly of the Crucifixion

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Christ and Him crucified? Sheer folly to the world. Yet, in Christ, God confounds the wisdom of the world. Wisdom is foolishness; weakness is strength; suffering is victory. The cross is the power of God for those being saved!

The Folly of the Crucifixion

For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.
For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning will I bring to nought.”
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe. Seeing that Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumblingblock, and unto Gentiles foolishness; but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, yea and the things that are not, that he might bring to nought the things that are: that no flesh should glory before God. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption:
that, according as it is written, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31).

Folly of the Crucifixion
The Folly of God in Christ

 
 
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Our Responsibility to the World

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Christians are to be in the world, but not of it. How does that work? What is the Christian’s responsibility to the world, both as an individual and as the church?

Our Responsibility to the World

Our Responsibility to the World
Sojourn and Exile

 
 
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Kingdom Refugees

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We hear often of the plight of refugees fleeing war, devastation, and disaster. Christians are to reckon themselves as Kingdom refugees while they endure this life. We do well to explore how we can glorify God as Kingdom refugees.

Kingdom Refugees

Kingdom Refugees
Sojourn and Exile

 
 
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Pining for Egypt

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YHWH had rescued Israel from Egyptian slavery with a strong hand. Yet now they were in the wilderness. Every time a difficulty arose, they could have trusted in YHWH. Instead, they complained, remembering Egypt. It led to their death. We do well to heed their example lest we fall by the same pattern of disobedience.

Pining for Egypt

Pining for Egypt
Sojourn and Exile

 
 
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Sojourners and Exiles

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We live in interesting times. We may have been born and raised here, or have made this our adopted country, but we still do not exactly feel at home. Should we try to take back the country? Or should we recognize that we never really truly fit in–nor should fit in–but should live as sojourners and exiles in the land?

Sojourners and Exiles

Eduard Bendemann- Die trauernden Juden im Exil um 1832

Sojourners and Exiles
Sojourn and Exile

 
 
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