Sept. 18 – (I Tim. 4:6-16) Do you think our church (and the church at large) is evenly distributed generationally? I know we at C.A. are doing better but there is still much work to be done…each reaching as they are gifted and led. We do have us older folks. Yes! I am one of them. But we still need to increase those younger folks (20-45). This is the age that has children. So, if the adults are missing then it follows that the children will be also. Why do you think that is? I can speculate but I won’t. All I know is verses 12-16 may help us improve on those numbers. Will they do things differently than I would? Of course, they will. We did things differently than our parents and grandparents…. because the transportation (how we communicated that was relevant at the time) to reach our age group was different than how our parents and grandparents received. It is the same with our kids and grandkids. They will have a different way to reach the world (their age). If we discourage them when they are trying to lead as God directs them, we may lose them and thus we may have lost those they would have reached…. Let’s encourage them, pray for them, and might I even suggest support them as they “go into all the world and preach the gospel”. Selah
Sept. 19 – (I Tim. 5:1-16) There are several kinds of relationships covered in these verses. What guidelines are given about healthy family living within the church? What problems might creep in when these guidelines are not followed?
How can we balance the family life of all God’s people with our responsibilities in our own families? What problems is Paul trying to avoid by going into such detail on how to care for widows? How do these instructions relate to situations we face in our own day?
Sept. 20 – (I Tim. 5:17-25) Honor (5:3, 17; 6:1) connects the three groups mentioned in these verses (widows, elders, masters). There is a progression from “honor” for widows (5:3) to “double honor” for elders or pastors (5;17) to “all honor” for masters (6:1). Each paragraph explains what “gospel living” looks like in relation to each group.
Sept. 21 – (I Tim. 6:1-10) What attitude does Paul tell the slaves to have toward their masters? Why?
Where do you need to grow in respecting others who may not be seen by the world as your “equals” socially or economically?
Have you ever been around someone like a person described in verses 3-5? They seem so spiritual in knowledge of the Word. At first you may believe they have it all together. As you listen (and that’s pretty much what you must do…because they love to hear themselves talk) to them dispute the meaning of words and theology of His Word, you realize it’s a one-way street. It is not worth your time. As Paul says, withdraw yourself.
Sept 22 – (I Tim. 6:11-21) What are we to flee? What are we to pursue? What are we to fight? What are we to lay hold on? What commandment are we to keep without spot and for how long? Selah
What instructions are given to those who are rich in the world (17-19)? What do you rely on money to do for you, and what do you rely on God for? What is Paul getting at with the promise he makes about generosity? What is the last warning in this book to Timothy? How does that apply to us today? Selah
Sept 23 – (Philemon 1-7) You have got to read Max Lucado’s introduction of this book. It is sooo eye-opening as to the relevance of our lives today. And it brings a whole new focus to what this book is about.
Philemon had every reason to be angry. His slave, Onesimus, had stolen from him and run away. He had escaped to Rome, where he met Paul and became a believer.
Now Onesimus is returning to Philemon. Under normal circumstance, Philemon has the right to exact revenge. But these are not normal circumstances, Paul explains. Onesimus fled as a slave, he returns as a believer.
Paul doesn’t ask Philemon to free Onesimus from slavery, but to free him from anger. He urges Philemon to offer grace rather than demand justice.
Does this short letter have any application for your life? It does if there is an Onesimus in your world. It does if someone has betrayed you or offended you or turned away from you. What they did wasn’t right. And to demand justice is only natural, which is precisely the problem. Getting even is natural, it’s not spiritual.
As you consider how to respond, consider a higher law. A law which sets all men, slave or nonslave, free. (Introduction to the Epistle of Paul to Philemon)
Pastor Torry did an excellent short series on forgiveness. If you are struggling in this area, this might give you some keys to overcoming. Here are the links to the series:
Part three: https://vimeo.com/106643096
Have you ever been a reconciler between people? How did it play out? Or maybe someone came to you to try to reconcile you with others. How did you receive that? This is what Philemon is all about. Philemon lived in Colossae and had probably become a Christian through Paul’s preaching. Philemon owned slaves (as everyone with any substance had). One of them, Onesimus, (which means useful) had run away (which was a capital offense) and probably took some of Philemon’s possessions. Onesimus ran into Paul and through his influence became a Christian. Paul and Onesimus became friends and close partners in the gospel. Paul eventually was going to ask much of both the Christian run-away slave and his Christian owner. Paul was going to send Onesimus back to Philemon and ask Philemon to accept him back again without penalty and maybe even set him free.
How would you describe the mood of these opening paragraphs of Paul’s letter?
When Paul tells the people what he is praying for as he thinks of them, it often gives us a clue to the inner meaning of the letter. What is Paul praying for Philemon, and what could his prayer have to do with Onesimus (v v.4-7)?
Sept. 24 – (Philemon 8-25) How does Paul give his own stamp of approval to and identify with Onesimus? How does Paul seek to persuade Philemon while still showing respect to him? How does Paul draw Philemon’s attention to the larger purposes of God (vv. 15-25)?
When has, an apparent loss led you to recognize God at work? Note any guidance this letter of Philemon offered to you for making appeals for reconciliation. Ask the Lord to create opportunities to put this into practice. May God’s power go with you! Selah
DID YOU KNOW? How did a person become a bond-servant? Being a “bond-servant” in NT times (v. 16) was different from many of the more recent kinds of slavery. Bond-servants were bound to serve their master for a specific period. People did not necessarily become slaves because of their race, nor were they completely without legal rights. A person might become a slave as punishment for a crime or to pay off a debt.