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Thursday, 2 March 2017

Genesis 2:15-17,3:1-7 Buyer’s Remorse

Have you ever experienced buyer’s remorse? Just before we buy something major like a car or a house we feel the surge of excitement that comes with getting something new. It’s the same feeling a child has when he or she gets a new toy for their birthday or for Christmas. After we buy the item, sometimes we are hit by a wave of remorse. We ask ourselves if we really needed the item or if we should have spent the money.

Buyer’s remorse is nothing new. In fact, the first instance of buyer’s remorse is in the reading we heard from Genesis earlier in today’s service. It began with the crafty serpent and his sales pitch. He was also the first example of a salesman who sold “snake oil.”

Sin is a mystery. It arises from within God’s “good” creation. The serpent is one of God’s creatures. Human suspicion about God’s motivations was embedded within human hearts from the beginning of time. It merely needed the serpent’s encouragement to bring it out and convert it into action.

Obedience is at the core of all that God wants for and from his children. In Eden, God didn’t ask Adam and Eve for love or faithfulness, only for obedience to one fundamental command: “If you want to walk with Me, do what I say.” God has set boundaries for us. They are like painted markings on a highway. Without those markings to give directions, there would be confusion and accidents. We are surrounded by a world where people live by their own moral codes and defy God’s boundaries. These people don’t have any peace or sense of security that moral guidelines provide.

The serpent tried to make God’s command not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil sound more restrictive than it really was. The serpent tried to get Eve to question God’s character and motives for herself. In her reply, Eve twisted God’s prohibition. She left out the words “surely” and “every”- “surely,” because God said so, and “every,” because of God’s generosity. She also added to God’s prohibition, “Neither shall you touch it.” Where did that come from? Was it an exaggeration, or was it something she and/or Adam added to build an extra wall of protection between themselves and the tree? There is a danger in adding to or taking away anything from God’s Word. Any alteration changes the meaning. All we have to do is look at the Pharisees and their 613 rules to see what happens when God’s Word is changed by man.

Doubt led to disobedience, and the world has suffered the consequences ever since that fateful day. When we turn our back on God’s Word, we turn our backs on God’s world. Evil appealed to false pride, and this false pride replaced God with the self. The inflated sense of importance overshadowed God and others. It made man the centre of creation. Pride is at the root of many temptations. All of us suffer from temptation. We become victim to it, and therefore all of us sin.

There are two ways for us to gain experience. If we gain experience by obeying God, we will gain wisdom. If we gain experience by disobeying God, we will become slaves to sin. Adam and Eve gained experience by listening to the serpent instead of listening to God. Consequently, they became slaves to sin, and through them all of mankind became slaves to sin. The danger is that once we have sinned we are not equipped to deal with the consequences of our sin. We are not always equipped to deal with our new knowledge let alone being able to control the circumstances of our lives.

As a result of disobeying God, Adam and Eve found out about good and evil. Their sense of guilt made them afraid to meet God. They would go on to know and experience every kind of sin, suffering, pain and physical and spiritual death. When we make choices that are contrary to God’s Word, we experience the same things and the same fears. As we try to run away and hide from God, he kindly and graciously calls to us and seeks us out. God wants us to look for Him. He wants us to come to Him with a repentant heart and honest words.  

As soon as Adam and Eve sinned against God by eating of the tree, the process of death began. They became susceptible to the physical degeneration of disease and old age, and they faced a more serious form of death: spiritual death and eternal separation from God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. They became homeless nomads. We are also homeless nomads spiritually when we try to find our way back to God.

When we stand before God like Adam and Eve did, we will be asked to account for our actions on the basis of our human responsibility. It doesn’t matter what the reason for our disobedience will be. We won’t be able to blame someone else or something else like Adam and Eve did. There is no place for excuses in the Christian life.  
By manifesting himself in another form as a means to deceive someone into doubting and disobeying God, Satan established himself as a force to be reckoned with. In John 8:44, Jesus referred to Satan as a liar and a murderer from the beginning. He was referring to the events in this passage from Genesis. Satan’s lies promised great benefits, but Adam and Eve experienced the painful truth. They did know good and evil, but because they were corrupted by Satan they did not know as God knows in his personal holiness. We hurt ourselves when we believe that we will find greater blessing and happiness in doing our own thing instead of obeying God.

Listening to God is not a one-time event. We must always listen to His Word or we’ll begin to listen to the wrong voices. By listening to God, we will be prepared for the assaults that will come our way. We were created to serve God. 

There are many voices in our world that give us conflicting messages. We have the responsibility to know what God is telling us, to listen to Him and to act on those commands. We have to make God’s Word our guide and not deviate from it regardless of how appealing the world’s messages might sound.  

Eve did what so many people do even now: she revised and then rejected what God said. This sin always produces the same result-separation from God and, ultimately, death-unless sin is atoned for. Every false religion has an element of truth, and so do false teachers. This makes their teachings believable to those who don’t know and believe what God says in the Bible. Satan’s words contained a partial truth- “your eyes will be opened”-a common tactic of his when tempting humans. He appealed to Eve’s desires, just as he did with Christ in the wilderness, and as he does with all Christians. When Adam ate of the fruit, sin and death became earth’s realities.

Before Adam and Eve sinned, they enjoyed three very special privileges:

1.      They were in communion with God; they walked and talked with Him.

2.      They knew God as He is. Their minds were not clouded by falsehoods or half-truths.

3.      They had spiritual life. They were alive not just physically, but in every sense of the word their souls were alive.

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command and rebelled against Him, they lost all three of their God-given privileges:

1.      Their intimate communion was broken. They hid from God.

2.      When they believed Satan’s lie, their knowledge was corrupted and their understanding of God damaged. What God had said became twisted in their minds.

3.      Perhaps most important, instead of knowing life as they had once known it with God, they began to know death.

The present condition of the world reflects what Adam and Eve knew after the Fall:

1.      People are alienated from God.

2.      People are ignorant of the truth of God.

3.      People are condemned to physical and spiritual death.

Everything Adam lost in the fall is exactly what people lack today without Jesus Christ. Thankfully, God provided a way for us to regain what Adam lost. God provided a way for us to be restored to Him. He became flesh, human and vulnerable. In Jesus we are reliving the broken relationship between us and God. Jesus is God’s way of returning us to the Garden of Eden and a right relationship with God. The way back is the way of confession and repentance.  

We can’t hide from God like Adam and Eve tried to hide. God knows exactly where we are. Instead of hiding in fear, we can say the same thing the tax collector said in Luke 18:13- “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

We are in the season of Lent. It is a season where we are invited to answer God’s call to come into the open, face the hard truths of how we have broken trust with God and with each other, remember how God has joined us in Christ and listen for the invitation to take and eat the bread of life, which we will do in a few minutes.


       1.                  Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013, pp. 8-9)

2.                  ESV Study Bible. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.

3.                  Briscoe, D.S. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 1: Genesis (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1984; pp. 47/54)

4.                  MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)

5.                  Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)

6.                  Lucado, M.: The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson; 2010)

7.                  Anne Graham Lotz, “God’s Boundaries.” Retrieved from

8.                  Dr. Charles Stanley, “Failing to Listen to God.” Retrieved from

9.                  “Shadow of a Doubt.” Retrieved from Biblegateway@e,

10.              Anne Graham Lotz, “God’s Boundaries.” Retrieved from

11.              Richard E. Nystrom, “Footsteps in the Garden: Truth and Grace.” Retrieved from

12.              Lawrence Darmani, “Where Are You?” Retrieved from

13.              Dr. Tony Evans, “A Kingdom Man Takes Responsibility.” Retrieved from
14.              Richard Innes, “Part Faith: The Most Destructive Lie.” Retrieved from

15.              “Whose Voice Are You Hearing?” Retrieved from

16.              Poh Fang Chia, “Buyer’s Remorse.” Retrieved from

17.              “The Right Desire.” Retrieved from

18.              Greg Hollifield, “Why Death?” Published in the Spring 2017 issue of Preaching Magazine (Nashville, TN: Salem Publishing; p. 56)

19.              “The Fall.” Retrieved from

20.              The Rev. Dr. Robert Ensign, “Eve’s Dream.” Retrieved from

21.              The Rev. Martin Copenhaver, “Excuses, Excuses, Excuses.” Retrieved from

22.              Dennis Olson, “Commentary on Genesis 2;15-17; 3:1-7.” Retrieved from

23.              The Rev. Sheila C. Gustafson, “Snake Bite.” Retrieved from




Romans 5:12-19 Hope for the Future

The reading from Romans 5:12-19 reinforces the idea that those who trust Christ have hope for the future. Let me explain.

Adam’s sin led to condemnation of the entire human race because his sinful nature was passed on to all of his descendants. Christ overcame that condemnation. As a result, everyone who believes in Christ has been saved and forgiven and can look forward to spending eternity with Him in heaven.

The doctrine of solidarity says that all humanity is under the leadership of two men: Adam and Christ. Connection with Adam leads to death. Satan was the original angel who violated the righteousness of God, but sin entered the world through Adam, and death entered the world through sin. Even though there was no law, death was universal because people were still sinful. They died because they inherited the nature of death from Adam, not because of their sinful acts.

Because of Adam’s sin, humanity was introduced to death-not physical death, because Adam lived for many years after that fateful day in the Garden of Eden. The type of death that was introduced was spiritual death, also known as separation from God.

Connection with Christ leads to life. Christ in His obedience corrected the wrong Adam did in his disobedience. He secured our eternal home and glory. He conquered the last enemy-death. That victory has given me strength in the days since my mother’s death.
Christ is not Adam’s successor but his Saviour. They are alike only in the sense that both had universal significance: Adam for death, Christ for life. The key is much more. Whatever humankind has inherited from Adam, they have much more in Christ.

Christ’s one act of salvation was far superior to Adam’s one act of rebellion. One commentator noted that “That one single misdeed should be answered by judgment, this is perfectly understandable: that the accumulated sins and guilt of all the ages should be answered by God’s free gift, this is the miracle of miracles.”

Christ’s obedience is greater than Adam’s disobedience. Adam was in an environment that was conducive to obedience (the Garden), but he disobeyed and brought death. Jesus was the second Adam. He was in an environment that hindered obedience (the fallen world), but He obeyed God and brought life.

We don’t deserve God’s grace. It is his undeserved favour for us. It is a gift that was paid for by Christ’s death and resurrection. Some people refuse to accept this gift because of pride. If they accept it, they realize their despair, and most people aren’t keen on doing that. Some people also think that they can earn this gift by their own efforts and deeds. We can’t earn our way to heaven, because as I mentioned a minute ago it is a free ticket that Christ paid for. 

So how did He pay for this gift? He did it through two types of obedience to God. First, he actively fulfilled all of the requirements of God’s Law. He never failed, and he kept and fulfilled all of the Law’s requirements perfectly at all times. He presented to God a full and complete righteousness that was without stain or fault, just like all of the animals that were used for Old Testament sacrifices were without stain or fault. His righteousness is the ground on which God is willing to accept us.

Second, He used passive obedience. He allowed Himself to be taken and crucified in order to suffer the punishment that a holy and just God requires. He became our substitute and took our sins upon Himself. He took our sins away so that we can believe in him and have no reason to fear God’s wrath. We can enjoy fellowship with God forever, and that is the greatest gift of all.


1.                  Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013, p.1550)

2.                  ESV Study Bible. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.

3.                  Dr. Neil Anderson, “The Effects of the Fall.” Retrieved from

4.                  Briscoe, D.S. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 29: Romans (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982, pp. 117-126)

5.                  MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)

6.                  T.M. Moore, “Obedience Restored.” Retrieved from

7.                  Selwyn Hughes, “Amazing.” Retrieved from

8.                  Max Lucado, “An Undeserved Gift.” Retrieved from

9.                  Michael Youssef, Ph.D., “The Sin Disorder.” Retrieved from



Thursday, 23 February 2017

Matthew 17:1-9 Mountain-Top Changes

Have you ever had a moment when your life was changed? Perhaps it was similar to the Transfiguration. That moment changed the lives of Peter, James, John and Jesus, just like moments in our lives can change us. The disciples were changed from fearful, anxious, inactive cowards to brave, confident, active champions of the faith. We are also transformed when Jesus touches us, and we need that touch badly. We are also encouraged to offer this touch to a world that needs it badly.

I don’t know about you, but I would love to have been the proverbial “fly on the wall” at the Transfiguration. Just think of the history that was being made! Three of the most important figures in Christianity-Moses, Elijah and Jesus-together at the same time and in the same location! No wonder Peter wanted to build three shelters! It was a significant meeting at a significant time in a significant location among significant participants.

Moses and Elijah-the great lawgiver and the great prophet-were probably chosen to join Jesus and the disciples at the Transfiguration as representatives of the Old Covenant. Moses was the one through whom the covenant came, and Elijah was its prominent reformer.

So what were Moses, Elijah and Jesus talking about? Matthew doesn’t tell us, but Luke’s version tells us that they were talking about Jesus’ death. Both Moses and Elijah foretold of Christ’s death, which was Christ’s purpose. His sacrificial death and resurrection paid the penalty for our sins and allowed believers to be reunited with God. 

Those present at the Transfiguration provide a picture of the coming kingdom of Christ: Moses represents those who died in Christ; Elijah represents whose who will be raptured someday (he had been taken to heaven without dying); the three apostles represent redeemed Israel; and Christ is the King. Jesus’s transfiguration was part of the ongoing story of encountering the mystery of God. Jesus and his words had the same authority as those of Moses and Elijah.

Christ did not come to abolish the Law or the prophets. He did not say that the Law and the prophets had no meaning or value. What he did say was that He fulfilled the Law that we could not keep. The Law had to be kept perfectly. If people broke one law, they broke all of them. In addition, people were not perfect, and they aren’t perfect today.
Mountain top experiences are some of the happiest experiences in our lives, and that’s what the disciples experienced at the Transfiguration. When we are on the top of the mountain, we can listen to and be refreshed by God. We are pulled out of the ordinary life and changed in faith. Only then can we have a Christian life. Unfortunately, we can’t live on the mountain top forever. We have to face the valleys in our lives, and these valleys are the lowest and most disappointing times in our lives. It is at those times when we as believers can feel and see Jesus reaching out, taking us by the hand and saying, “Arise, and do not be afraid.”
God interrupted Peter’s brief, awkward speech with His own announcement. Out of the bright cloud-no doubt an appearance of the glory that in the Old Testament signaled the presence of God Almighty-God affirmed Jesus and commanded the disciples to hear him. Although Moses and Elijah stood with him in that moment, all attention was focused on Jesus, God’s only Son. Jesus was superior to both Moses and Elijah. Jesus as God in human form was the greatest in the kingdom. God told the disciples to listen to Jesus so that they could understand his purpose. The disciples recognized in this moment what every believer must acknowledge and what every tongue will someday confess; that Christ alone is Lord, the glory of God the Father.

Some people contradict Jesus, and when they do, they contradict the truth. At the Transfiguration, God made it clear that Jesus speaks the truth with authority, and we should listen to what he has to say. Our love for God is shown in how we listen to God. Our view of Jesus is shown in how we listen to him. Worship is more than Jesus listening to what we have to say about him. It involves listening to what Jesus has to say about us and himself.

The Transfiguration has been seen by some Biblical scholars as a glimpse of the kingdom or a preview of the Kingdom’s power. This glimpse was secured by Christ’s death and resurrection, and was clearly stated when Jesus told the disciples not to say anything about the vision until after His resurrection. The glory of the Transfiguration would then be seen by all of the disciples in the risen Christ. 

All of us need to see God’s glory before we see hard times. We need to remember God’s presence and purpose when we face life’s challenges. The Transfiguration links the seasons of Epiphany and Lent. It reminds us that just like God was with Jesus all the time (and especially in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before his death), God is with us all of the time.

The Transfiguration proved that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God. The response of the disciples is the same response we have. Just as they fell on their faces, we fall on our faces in worship. When we do, Jesus reaches out, touches us and says, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” The Transfiguration assures us that God has affirmed Jesus and our humanity. Jesus recalls our humanity and affirms our nature with His divinity. The Kingdom of God has entered the world in human form through Jesus, and we are called to witness to that Good News.

1.                  Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013, pp. 1312-1313)

2.                  ESV Study Bible. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.

3.                  Augsberger, M.S & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 24: Matthew (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982; p. 18)

4.                  MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson publishers; 2006)

5.                  Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)

6.                  Lucado, M.: The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson; 2010; pp. 1325-1326)

7.                  Jill Carattini, “Transformed.” Retrieved from

8.                  “On the Mountain top with Jesus.” Retrieved from

9.                  Exegesis for Matthew 17:1-9. Retrieved from

10.              Brian P. Stoffregen. “Matthew 17:1-9 Transfiguration of Our Lord, Last Sunday after the Epiphany-Year A.” Retrieved from

11.              The Rt. Rev. Robert Johnson, “Transfiguration.” Retrieved from

12.              Alan Wright, “From Distraction to Hope.” Retrieved from

13.              Larry Patten, “What the Usual Suspects Saw.” Retrieved from

14.              The Rev. Laura Brekke, “Last Epiphany: Don’t Go Chasing Mountain Tops!” Retrieved from

15.              Greg Hollifield, “A Meeting for the Ages.” Published in the Spring 2017 issue of Preaching Magazine (Nashville, TN: Salem Publishing; pp. 57-58)

16.              Dr. Norman Beck, “Lectionary Scripture Notes, Transfiguration Sunday, Cycle A.” Retrieved from

17.              Ben Helmer, “Transformation, Last Sunday after Epiphany (A).” Retrieved from








Thursday, 16 February 2017

Psalm 119:33-40 Learning from the Great Teacher

Have you ever tried to obey God but at the same time you thought that you did not have the understanding or the strength to do so? If so, you’re not alone. The writer of the passage we heard from Psalm 119 felt the same way. The theme of that reading is growing and walking in faith and not growing weak. This walk is the road to spiritual maturity.

Psalm 119 is a psalm in celebrating God’s law. The psalmist asked God to teach him to obey God’s Law. That might seem strange since laws are something we either do or don’t do, so there’s not much thought necessary. The psalmist knew that God’s Law is really about having our hearts changed to align with God’s will for our lives.

The Psalmist represents those of us who have trusted Christ as our Lord and Saviour. The psalmist, like us, was restored to life by God’s power, and like us he had to grow in that life. He needed God to teach him, and we also need God to teach us. God’s Word is all we need for godly living. By grasping its powerful message, we as God’s children can be pure. God’s Word teaches sound doctrine.

It is one thing to be taught and another thing to understand that teaching. God, like a good coach of a sports team or an athlete, shows us the basics and we must start with them. God has the responsibility to give us both content and understanding. As we ask for it, and as we obey what God shows us, our knowledge will grow throughout our lives.  

God is happy when we obey Him wholeheartedly-that is, without hesitating or asking questions. God doesn’t have to explain everything he asks to do. Obedience will provide us with the explanation.

If we want to live the life God wants us to live, we have to be very choosy about what we give our lives and attention to. God’s Word shows us the right path to take. It calls us out when we take a detour. It teaches us how to stay on the path God has laid out for us. Instead of seeking happiness in the things of this world, we must seek happiness in God’s Word. We must not lose sight of what is really important in our churches and our Christian lives. For example, too many people think of a church as just a building, Church buildings are important, but God’s work will go on regardless of where people meet to worship God. When the Disciples of Christ Church in Milton was being “remodeled” and moved, the congregation met for worship in the church office. They still did God’s work, and I can tell you from experience preaching there that the Holy Spirit was very much alive and home there.

Many of the things we focus on in life won’t matter very much in the end, especially if they are worldly things. When we lie on our deathbeds, we won’t wish we had worked harder or made more money or had a better job. We will likely wish that we had loved God more, focused on people more, spent more time with our families, shared our faith more, prayed more and pursued God’s purpose for our lives.

Like the psalmist, we have to decide to give ourselves to God, but we know our own weaknesses. No matter how much we want to please God, God must give us the strength to do it. Only God can give us both the motivation and the energy to follow Him. Our hearts must be renewed again and again, just like the Israelites who were wandering in the desert couldn’t live on yesterday’s manna. They got fresh manna from God every day. Similarly, we can’t rely on past experiences as a substitute for a vital, daily walk with God.


1.                  Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013, p. 786)

2.                  ESV Study Bible. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.

3.                  Williams, D. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol 14: Psalms 73-150 (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1989; pp. 350-352)

4.                  Lucado, M.: The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson; 2010; pp. 821-822)

5.                  Pastor Rick Warren, “Obedience is an Act of Worship.” Retrieved from

6.                  Joel Osteen, “When to Turn Away.” Retrieved from

7.                  Ron Moore, “Turn My Eyes from Worthless Things.” Retrieved from

8.                  Gathering, Advent/Christmas/Epiphany 2016-2017 (Toronto, ON: Worship, Music and Spirituality Office; Church in Mission Unit; United Church of Canada: p. 22)

9.                  Christine Hallenback Ask, “Psalm 119:33-40.” Retrieved from





Thursday, 9 February 2017

2 Timothy 2:14-26 Speak the Truth, and Speak It Boldly

The reading from Paul’s second letter to Timothy is part of the final letter Paul wrote. He wrote this letter from his prison cell in Rome, and he knew that he was about to be put to death. Both of his letters to Timothy contain instructions for both ministers and Christians.

Paul tells ministers to teach, preach and lead. Shallow sermons lead to shallow saints, and mistaken preaching leads to misguided lives. It is a serious responsibility to teach or preach the Word of God. Good, sound, biblical teaching can build people up in their faith, while bad teaching can tear people down.  Bad doctrine or bad preaching destroys faith and causes people to think and live wrongly. In contrast, good doctrine or preaching that is based on a right understanding of God’s word of truth builds and strengthens faith. This can only be done when ministers handle God’s word with the same care and precision that a good carpenter does with his tools and materials.

Paul tells ministers to remind their congregations about how to resolve disputes, especially those caused by untrained or false teachers. People who follow after rumours and opinions are more than a nuisance. They are a threat to the church, and as such they must be dealt with quickly and decisively. When people try to understand God through worldly views instead of through the Holy Spirit’s discernment or through studying God’s Word, they are easily fooled by Satan’s lies. The situation is made worse by untrained ministers.

The danger in using an unapproved or untrained minister is that this person literally misses the target of God’s teaching. As a result, he or she is prone to promoting false teachings, which can destroy the faith of other believers. Any doctrine that is not in accord with the Bible’s teaching must be cut out just like a surgeon cuts out an appendix or cancerous tissue. If left untreated, it will only spread and make the body of Christ sick. The spiritual food of God’s word keeps believers and the church healthy. 

There are four attitudes that can diffuse any controversial situation and allow believers to end foolish arguments without destroying opponents:

1.         A gentle, tender spirit

2.         A teaching spirit

3.         A tolerant, patient spirit

4.         A temperate, controlled spirit

This form of correction has the potential to literally awaken people so that they may escape the enemy. The word “patient” means “bearing evil without resentment.”

Some people in Paul’s time may have taken his teaching about the resurrection to the extreme, especially his rhetorical question about needing physical resurrection when we have been resurrected with Christ spiritually. Paul explains that the physical resurrection of believers is necessary for sin and death to be ultimately defeated. Christ’s own physical resurrection guarantees a Christian’s future, physical resurrection.

The visible, professing church is pictured as a temple that has God as its foundation. It is made up of Christians and those who merely profess to be Christians. These servants are either honourable or dishonourable. God knows which ones are devoted to His use. He only wants holy people doing his work, and holy people are those who are cleansed from wrong conduct and wrong doctrine. Paul says that any dishonourable servants can become honourable servants if they get rid of wrong influences and earthly priorities.

If we want to be used by God, we have to purify our hearts. God uses all kinds of people., but only if they are clean on the inside. If we want to purify ourselves, we have to confess our sins, repent and accept Christ as our Saviour.

Paul commands us as Christians to “flee youthful passions,” and these are more than sexual passions. They are the short-sighted cravings for personal pleasure or gain, rather than for personal godliness. Youthful passions include any hunger or ambition that distracts from our pursuit of true righteousness, faith, clarity and peace. If we want to be Christians, we must live for God as Jesus did. God’s love and grace doesn’t mean that we have permission to sin. They give us the strength and desire to do His will.  

A well-known minister once used the example of the tools in a blacksmith’s shop as an example of the tools God uses. The minister said that there are three types of tools. There are tools on the junk pile: outdated, broken, rusty and dull. There are tools on the anvil: melted down, molten hot, moldable, changeable. There are tools that are useful: sharpened, primed, defined, mobile. The tools in the last group are ready to be used by the master.

We are all somewhere in the blacksmith’s shop. We are on one of the three piles, and some of us have been on all three piles in our lives. If we take the journey from the junk heap to the fire, and if we let God pound us on His anvil, and if we discover God’s purpose for our lives, we earn the privilege of being called “God’s chosen instruments.”


1.                  Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013, pp. 1720-1721)

2.                  ESV Study Bible. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.

3.                  “Youth and Old Age.” Retrieved from Oneplace@crosswalkmail.vom

4.                  Demarest, G. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 32: 1,2 Thessalonians/1,2 Timothy/Titus (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1984; pp. 269-275)

5.                  MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)

6.                  Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)

7.                  Lucado, M.: The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson; 2010; pp. 1677-1678)

8.                  Pastor Rick Warren, “You Don’t Have to Be Perfect, Just Pure, to Be Used by God.” Retrieved from

9.                  Anna Kuta, “Run for Your Life.” Retrieved from

10.              “Proper Handling Required.” Retrieved from

11.              Michael Youssef, Ph.D., “Confronting the Culture.” Retrieved from