We’re all familiar with Jesus’ last instructions to His followers: Matthew 28:19 says to make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But the next verse contains a second aspect of the directive: “Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” The Great Commission is usually associated with world evangelism, but baptism and obedience to Christ are also important because they are outward signs of a disciple’s inward faith.
In today’s passage, Paul explains the reason for proclaiming Christ and admonishing and teaching believers: “That we may present every man complete in Christ” (Col. 1:28). To simply lead someone to salvation without teaching him God’s Word is equivalent to leaving a newborn baby to fend for himself. Salvation begins the lifelong process of learning obedience and growing into spiritual maturity.
Furthermore, we can’t limit the task of teaching to pastors and missionaries any more than we can say that they alone are called to evangelize the lost. The entire church is given the assignment of making disciples and teaching them to obey the Lord. Instead of simply sitting in church services, Sunday schools, and Bible studies to soak up more truth for our own benefit, let’s pass on to others what we have learned.
Teaching isn’t the exclusive role of those who stand at podiums in front of large groups. It’s something that can be done one-on-one over coffee. Think about all that you have learned since you were saved. What can you share with someone else that will help him or her grow in Christ?
taken from http://beta.intouch.org/read/magazine/daily-devotions
"Love . . . is not jealous" (1 Cor. 13:4).Jealousy thrives in a climate of selfish ambition.
Jealousy is an insidious sin that cries out, "I want what you have, and furthermore, I don't want you to have it." It replaces contentment with resentment and spawns a myriad of other sins.
The Corinthians, in truth, were jealous of one another's spiritual gifts. First Corinthians 12:31literally says, "You are earnestly desiring the showy gifts, but I show you a more excellent way." The word translated "earnestly desiring" is translated "jealous" in 1 Corinthians 13:4. It means "to boil" and speaks of the inner seething that comes from wanting something that someone else has. In 1 Corinthians 3:3 Paul rebukes them for the jealousy and strife that existed among them.
Paul knew what it meant to be victimized by jealous people. During one of his imprisonments he candidly wrote, "Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment" (Phil. 1:15-17).
Paul's attitude toward those who envied him was exemplary: "Whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice" (v. 18). He wasn't motivated by personal comfort or selfish ambition. He loved Christ deeply and wanted as many people as possible to hear the gospel. As long as Christ was being proclaimed, Paul was happy—regardless of his own circumstances or the motives of others. That should be your perspective too.
Love is the antidote for jealousy. When godly love governs your heart, you can rejoice in the spiritual successes of others, even when you know their motives are wrong. But if you seek prominence and selfish gain, you become an easy target for jealousy and resentment.
Suggestions for Prayer
"Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit" (John 15:2).
This is a precious promise to one who lives for fruitfulness. At first it seems to wear a sharp aspect. Must the fruitful bough be pruned? Must the knife cut even the best and most useful? No doubt it is so, for very much of our LORD's purging work is done by means of afflictions of one kind or another. It is not the evil but the good who have the promise of tribulation in this life. But, then, the end makes more than full amends for the painful nature of the means. If we may bring forth more fruit for our LORD, we will not mind the pruning and the loss. Still, purging is sometimes wrought by the Word apart from trial, and this takes away whatever appeared rough in the flavor of the promise. We shall by the Word be made more gracious and more useful. The LORD who has made us, in a measure, fruit-bearing, will operate upon us till we reach a far higher degree of fertility. Is not this a great joy? Truly there is more comfort in a promise of fruitfulness than if we had been warranted riches, or health, or honor. LORD Jesus, speedily fulfill Thy gracious word to me and cause me to abound in fruit to Thy praise!
taken from: https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/faithcheckbook/
“And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:8).
God wants believers’ lives to be simplified, free from the burdens of material cares.
Today’s verse declares how Christians ought to be free from material distractions. The apostle Paul asserts that life’s basic needs should be adequate to satisfy believers. He does not say it is wrong to own nice things, especially if God providentially allows you to have them. What is wrong is to have a selfish craving for money because you are discontent. The highest goal of the Christian life is to love God and glorify Him forever, not to pile up material goods. Even if you have wealth, the Lord wants you to use and manage it from a motivation that puts God first.
The problem you and I continually face is that our fast-paced, complex, technological societies place materialism first. Objects and things come before people; entertainment options replace conversations with members of our family. All this has so often caused us to lose the simple joys of life’s relationships, which are the essence of Christian fellowship.
To keep those simple but essential joys primary, I’d invite you to apply the following principles. I’ve found them helpful in keeping my own life simplified and free from materialism.
First, evaluate every purchase as to how it would make your ministry more effective.
Second, since God owes you nothing, everything you receive from Him should make you thankful.
Third, learn to distinguish wants from needs, and thereby increase the amount of money you have available for the Lord.
Fourth, discipline yourself to spend less than you earn and save the rest for worthwhile causes and needs that arise. Do not amass credit card debt.
Lastly, learn to give sacrificially to God’s kingdom.
If you implement these and other sound principles of Christian stewardship, you’ll experience much joy and realize anew that the simple life means accepting what God provides and avoiding covetousness.
Suggestions for Prayer
Pray that God would motivate you to be faithful in the five principles of good stewardship listed in the lesson. If you have not been following any of them, ask the Lord to help you start today.
For Further Study