Many people believe there is nothing that can be known about the timing  of the Lord’s return because Jesus said He would return like a “thief in  the night” (Matthew 24:42-44).

But Paul makes it clear in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 that Jesus’ statement  does not apply to believers: “But you, brethren, are not in darkness,  that the day should overtake you like a thief…” He then proceeds to  explain why: “for you are all sons of light and  sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not  sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.” Paul is referring,  of course, to the light of the Holy Spirit who indwells all true  believers and who can enlighten us through our study  of Scripture to know the season of the Lord’s return (1 John 2:27).

God’s Attitude
As a matter of fact, God is obligated by His character to warn the world  of the imminent return of His Son. The reason is that Jesus is  returning in great wrath to “judge and wage war” (Revelation 19:11), and  God never pours out His wrath without warning.

God does not wish that any should perish, but that all should be brought  to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Therefore, God always warns before He  executes His wrath. He warned the world through Noah for 120 years. He  warned Sodom and Gomorrah through Abraham. He  sent Jonah to warn the pagan city of Nineveh, and He sent Nahum to the  same city 150 years later.

Likewise, God is warning the world today that His Son is about to  return. He is calling the world to repentance. The message of the hour  to unbelievers can be summed up in these words: “Flee from the wrath  that is to come by fleeing into the loving arms of  Jesus now.” Jesus came the first time as an expression of God’s love;  He came to die for the sins of Mankind. But when He returns, He will  come in vengeance to pour out the wrath of God on those who have  rejected God’s love and grace.

The soon return of Jesus also carries with it a message for believers.  Lukewarm Christians and carnal Christians are being called to commit  their lives to holiness: “The night is almost gone, and the day is at  hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness  and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day,  not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and  sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus  Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to  its lusts” (Romans 13:12-14).

God’s Method of Warning
God is alerting believers of the soon return of His Son through what are  called “signs of the times.” These are prophecies concerning world  events that we are told to watch for, prophecies that will identify the  season of the Lord’s return.

The Bible is full of these signs. There are about 500 prophecies in the  Old Testament that relate to the Second Coming of the Messiah. In the  New Testament, one out of every 25 verses is concerned with the return  of Jesus.

In fact, there are so many signs that it is difficult to grasp all of  them. The best way I have found to do this is to put them in categories:

1) The Signs of Nature — We are told to watch for earthquakes, famine,  pestilence, and signs in the heavens (see Matthew 24:7 and Luke 21:11).

This is the least respected category of signs for several reasons. For  one thing, many people simply shrug their shoulders and say, “There have  always been natural calamities, so what else is new?” Note that Jesus  says these signs will be like “birth pangs”  (Matthew 24:8) — that is, they will increase in frequency and intensity  as the time draws near for His return. In other words, there will be  more intense earthquakes and more frequent ones. That is exactly what is  happening today.

Another reason these signs are given little respect is because most  Christians are so rationalistic that they do not really believe in the  supernatural, and they therefore find it difficult to believe that God  speaks to the world through signs of nature. Yet,  the Bible teaches this principle from start to finish.

God dealt with the world’s sin through a great flood in the days of Noah  (Genesis 6). He called the nation of Judah to repentance through a  terrible locust invasion (Joel 1). In like manner, He called for the  nation of Israel to repent by sending drought, wind  storms, mildew, locusts, famine and pestilence (Amos 4:6-10). The  prophet Haggai pointed to a drought as evidence that God was calling the  people to get their priorities in order (Haggai 1:10-11).

The New Testament begins with a special light in the heavens marking the  birth of the Messiah (Matthew 2:2). On the day that Jesus was  crucified, there was three hours of darkness and an earthquake (Matthew  27:45-51). And when Jesus returns, the earth will  experience the greatest earthquake in its history as every mountain is  lowered, every valley is raised, and every island is moved (Revelation  16:17-21).

God has always spoken through signs of nature, and He continues to do so today. We had better pay close attention to them.

2) The Signs of Society — Jesus said that society will become  increasingly lawless and immoral as the time approaches for His return.  In fact, He said it would become as evil as it was in the days of Noah  (Matthew 24:12,37-39).

Paul paints a chilling picture of end time society in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.  He says it will be characterized by three loves — the love of self  (Humanism), the love of money (Materialism), and the love of pleasure  (Hedonism). He then points out that the payoff of  this carnal lifestyle will be what the philosophers call Nihilism —  that is, a society wallowing in despair. Men’s minds will become  depraved (Romans 1:28), and people will call evil good and good evil  (Isaiah 5:20).

We are seeing these prophecies fulfilled before our eyes today as we  watch our society reject its Christian heritage and descend into a  hellish pit of lawlessness, immorality, and despair. Even worse, we are  exporting our nihilism around the world through our  immoral and violent movies and television programs.

3) The Spiritual Signs — There are both positive and negative spiritual  signs that we are to watch for. The negative ones include the appearance  of false christs and their cults (Matthew 24:5,11,24), the apostasy of  the professing church (2 Thessalonians 2:3),  an outbreak of Satanism (1 Timothy 4:1), and the persecution of  faithful Christians (Matthew 24:9).

These negative spiritual signs began to appear in the mid-19th Century  when Christian cults started forming. First came the Mormons, then the  Jehovah’s Witnesses, and then a great variety of spiritualist groups  like the Church of Christ Scientists and the Unity  Church.

The apostasy of the mainline Christian denominations began in the 1920’s  when the German school of higher criticism invaded American seminaries  and undermined the authority of the Scriptures, teaching that the Bible  is Man’s search for God rather than God’s  revelation to Man.

During the 1960’s Satanism exploded on the American scene and has since  been exported worldwide through American movies, books, and television  programs. Dabbling in the occult has become commonplace in the form of  astrology, numerology, crystal gazing, transcendental  meditation, and channeling. The whole trend has consummated in the  appearance of the New Age Movement with its teaching that Man is God.

As society has secularized, true Christianity has come under increasing  attack. Judeo-Christian values, once the foundation of Western  Civilization, are now openly mocked, and those who still adhere to them  are castigated as “intolerant fundamentalists” by  the media.

The positive spiritual signs include the proclamation of the Gospel to  the whole world (Matthew 24:14), a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit  (Joel 2:28-32), and spiritual illumination to understand prophecies that  have been “sealed up” until the end times  (Daniel 12:4,9).

As with the negative signs, we are seeing these positive signs fulfilled  in our day and time. Through the use of modern technology, the Gospel  has been proclaimed throughout the world in this Century, and the Bible  has been translated into all major languages.

The great end time pouring out of the Holy Spirit that was prophesied by  the prophet Joel has also begun. Joel called it “the latter rain” (Joel  2:23), and he said it would occur after the Jews had returned to their  land. The state of Israel was re-established  in 1948. In 1949 God anointed two ministries that would have a  worldwide impact — the ministries of Billy Graham and Oral Roberts.  Then, in the 60’s, came the Charismatic Movement which prompted renewal  in worship and gave emphasis to the continuing validity  of the gifts of the Spirit.

The acceleration in the understanding of Bible prophecy began in 1970  with the publication of Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth.  It seemed to open up to popular understanding many prophecies that had  been “sealed up” until the end times (Daniel  12:4, 9). Remarkably, it became the number one best seller in the world  — with the sole exception of the Bible — for the next ten years!

4) The Signs of Technology — The book of Daniel says that there will be  an explosion of knowledge in the end times and that people will move  about quickly (Daniel 12:4). There are many Bible prophecies that cannot  be understood apart from modern technology.  For example, how can the whole world look upon two bodies lying in the  streets of Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8-9)? Modern television satellite  technology makes it easy. How can the False Prophet build an image of  the Anti-Christ that appears to be alive (Revelation  13:15)? The answer, of course, is the science of robotics. How can the  False Prophet require all people on earth to take the mark of the  Anti-Christ in order to buy and sell (Revelation 13:16-17)? It would not  be possible apart from computers and lasers.

Jesus said that the Tribulation will be so terrible that all life on  earth would cease to exist if He did not cut the period short (Matthew  24:21-22). How could all life be threatened prior to the advent of  nuclear weapons? Another reference to nuclear power  is likely contained in Luke’s statement that men in the end times will  “faint from fear” because “the powers of the heavens will be shaken”  (Luke 21:26). That certainly sounds like a reference to the splitting of  the atom.

5) The Signs of World Politics — The Bible prophesies that there will be  a certain pattern of world politics that will characterize the end time  geopolitical map.

The focus will be the re-established state of Israel (Zechariah 12:2-3).  It will be besieged by a menacing nation from the “remote parts of the  north,” the nation of “Rosh” — or modern day Russia (Ezekiel 38:2,6).  There will also be a threatening nation to  the East that will be capable of sending an army of 200 million —  namely, China (Revelation 9:13-16 and Revelation 16:12-13). A third  source of danger to Israel will be the Arab nations that immediately  surround it. They will covet the land and will try to  take it from the Jews (Ezekiel 35:10 and 36:2).

Another key player on the world political scene in the end times will be  a coalition of European nations that will form a confederation centered  in the area of the old Roman empire (Daniel 2:41-44, Daniel 7:7,23-24,  and Revelation 17:12-13). This confederation  will serve as the political base for the rise of the Anti-Christ and  the creation of his worldwide kingdom (Daniel 7:8).

Other international political signs include wars and rumors of wars  (Matthew 24:6), civil wars (Matthew 24:7), and general international  terrorism and lawlessness (Matthew 24:12).

6) The Signs of Israel — The signs related to the state of Israel are prolific and very important.

The most frequently repeated prophecy in the Old Testament is the  prediction that the Jewish people will be regathered from the “four  corners of the earth” in the end times (Isaiah 11:10-12). The Bible  states that a consequence of this regathering will be the  re-establishment of the state of Israel (Isaiah 66:7-8). The Scriptures  say that once the Jews are back in their land, the land itself will  experience a miracle of reclamation (Isaiah 35). The desert will bloom  and people will exclaim, “This desolate land  has become like the garden of Eden” (Ezekiel 36:35).

Another end time miracle will be the revival of the Hebrew language  (Zephaniah 3:9). Most people are not aware of the fact that when the  Jews were dispersed from their land in 70 A.D., they ceased to speak the  Hebrew language. The Jews who settled in Europe  developed a new language called Yiddish — a combination of German and  Hebrew. The Jews who migrated to the Mediterranean basin created a  language called Ladino — a combination of Hebrew and Spanish.

Other significant signs of Israel that we are told to watch for in the  end times include the re-occupation of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24), the  resurgence of Israeli military strength (Zechariah 12:6), and the  re-focusing of world politics on Israel (Zechariah 12:3).

All these signs have been fulfilled in this century. The nation has been  re-established, the land has been reclaimed, the ancient language has  been revived, the Jews are back in Jerusalem, and Israel is the focal  point of world politics.

Jesus says in Luke 21:28 that when these signs begin to happen, we  should “straighten up and lift up our heads” because “our redemption is  drawing near.”

The Key Signs
The most important signs are the ones that relate to Israel because God  uses the Jews throughout the Scriptures as His prophetic time clock. By  this I mean that very often when the Lord is revealing an important  event that will take place in the future, He  will point to the Jewish people and state that when a certain thing  happens to them, the important event will also occur.

A good example of this principle can be found in Daniel 9 in the famous  “Seventy Weeks of Years” prophecy. The prophet tells us to watch for a  decree to be issued that will authorize the rebuilding of Jerusalem. He  then says that the Messiah will come sixty-nine  weeks of years (483 years) after that decree is issued to the Jewish  people.

There are two key prophecies which relate the return of Jesus to events  that have occurred in Jewish history since 1948. These two events  clearly established the period in which we are now living as the season  of the Lord’s return.

The State of Israel
The first is the re-establishment of the state of Israel which occurred  on May 14, 1948. Jesus singled out this event as the one that would  signal His soon return.

His prophecy is contained in the fig tree parable (Matthew 24:32-35)  which He presented in His Olivet Discourse. The day before He delivered  this speech, He had put a curse on a barren fig tree, causing it to  wither (Matthew 21:18-19). This was a symbolic prophecy  that God would soon pour out His wrath upon the Jewish people because  of their spiritual barrenness in rejecting His Son.

The next day Jesus reminded His disciples of the fig tree. He said to  watch for it to bloom again. In other words, He said watch for the  rebirth of Israel. He indicated that when the fig tree blooms again, He  would be at the gates of Heaven, ready to return  (Matthew 24:33).

Equally significant, He added an interesting observation: “Truly I say  to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take  place” (Matthew 24:34). What generation? The generation that sees the  fig tree blossom.

We are that generation. The fig tree has blossomed. Jesus is at the gates.

The City of Jerusalem
The second key event was prophesied by Jesus in the same speech, as  recorded by Luke: “[The Jews] will fall by the edge of the sword, and  will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled  under foot by the Gentiles until the times of  the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).

The first half of this prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D., forty years  after Jesus spoke the words. In that year the Romans under Titus  conquered Jerusalem and dispersed the Jews among the nations. Jerusalem  remained under Gentile occupation for 1,897 years  — until June 7, 1967, when Israel won the city back during the Six Day  War.

The Jewish re-occupation of the city of Jerusalem is proof positive that  we are living in the season of the Lord’s return. Jesus said it would  mark the end of the Gentile Age.

A Call to Action
There is no way to escape the conclusion that we are living on borrowed  time. The signs of the times are upon us, and they are shouting for our  attention.

Are you ready? If Jesus were to return today, would He be your “Blessed  Hope” (Titus 2:11-14) or would He be your “Holy Terror” (Revelation  6:12-17)? If you have never received Him as your Lord and Savior, now is  the time to act. Repent of your sins, and call  upon the name of the Lord that you might be saved (Acts 2:14-39).

And if you are a Christian, are you living as if Jesus might return any  minute? Have you committed your life to holiness? Are you praying for  the lost and witnessing for the Lord when you have an opportunity?

Are you yearning for the Lord’s return? Can you say with Paul that you  are a candidate for a “crown of righteousness” because you have lived  your life “in the love of His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)?

Yes to Jesus

Here is a suggested prayer. This is not a ritual based on specific  words, but rather a prayerful guideline for your sincere step of faith.  “Father, I know that I have broken Your laws and my sins have separated  me from You. I am truly sorry, and now I want  to turn away from my past sinful life toward You. Please forgive me,  and help me turn away from sin. I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ  died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my  prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of  my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Thank You  for sending Your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will  for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”

Congratulations! Welcome to the family of God

BORN  AGAIN…… A born-again Christian is someone who has repented of their  sins and turned to  Christ for their salvation, and as a result has become part of God’s  family forever. All this takes place as God’s Spirit works in our lives.  the Bible says that mankind has a problem, and that problem is called  sin. Sin is any action or attitude that falls  short of God’s perfect standard. Every one of us has the problem of sin.

(Romans 3:23). And the Bible teaches us that there is a  consequence to sin – sin separates us from a holy God

(Habakkuk 1:13). In fact, the Bible tells us that end result of sin is death

(Romans 6:23) and that there is nothing that we ourselves can do to  solve the problem of sin. Second, the Bible says that there is a  solution to the problem of sin, and that solution is the person of Jesus  Christ

(Romans 6:23). The Bible tells us that God loved us so much that he sent  Jesus, His only Son, to die in our place (John 3:16). Jesus paid the  penalty of your sin so that you would not have to be forever separated  from God (I John 4:10). The Bible also tells  us that Jesus is the only solution for our sin problem

(John 14:6). Third, the Bible demands a decision. It is not enough to  just know about Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for you. You  must choose to put your trust in Christ, to receive this free gift of  salvation that God offers

(John 1:12). You see, by nature we aren’t members of God’s family, and  we don’t have any right to inherit eternal life. The reason is because  of our sin. We have rebelled against God, and because of that, the Bible  says, we are “separated from the life of God…  due to the hardening of (our) hearts”

(Ephesians 4:18). No, you may not see yourself as a bad person (and you  probably aren’t) but in God’s eyes even one sin is enough to keep you  out of heaven. But Jesus Christ came to save us and to make us part of  His family forever! He did this by dying for  our sins on the cross and by conquering death through His resurrection.  You see, as a human being you were born into a family and nothing can  ever change that. But when we come to Christ we are spiritually reborn  into another family the family of God. The  Bible says to Christ; followers, “You have been born again… through  the living and enduring word of God”

(1 Peter 1:23). My prayer is that you too may be born again and become  part of God’s family. By a simple prayer of faith, tell God that you  know you are a sinner, and you are sorry for your sins. Then ask Christ  to come into your life and save you. When you  do, God will come to live within you by His Spirit, and you will be  born again. Prayer  Lord comming to my heart live inside of me for give me I repent from all  my sin.I Want to recieve you as my personal savior. teach me your  ways.I want too know you.I’am bone again I’m a new creature in Christ life will never be the same any more.Amen  and Jesus Name
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If Jesus returned today…right now…would you be ready? Would the “Holy City” be your eternal home??
Were you able to say “Yes!” with confidence? Or, did you honestly have to answer “No” along with a sense of fear or uneasiness in your heart? Or, do you ask yourself, “What is salvation?”
Salvation is the deliverance, by the grace of God, from eternal punishment for sin. It is granted to those who accept, by faith, God’s conditions of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. Accepting Christ is the most important decision you can ever make in life. That decision assures eternal joy as opposed to eternal damnation. This decision outweighs your wedding, birth of a child, job promotion, etc. Do you want eternal joy, love and peace? When Jesus returns, do you want to go to heaven with Him and live forever with Him in the eternal Holy City? (If you desire more information about salvation, click here to read an insightful teaching about “Keys to Salvation.”)
If you are not saved, meaning that you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, we hope that you will make the decision right now to accept Him as your Savior and follow Him. If you are already saved, but you know someone personally who is not, forward or share this message with them. We do not believe that it is just coincidence that you are reading this message. You either know someone who is not saved or you are not saved. Please don’t wait. If you are ready to step out on faith and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please say the following prayer with all sincerity:
Heavenly Father, I come to you confessing that I am a sinner. Please forgive me. I do not want to go to hell and be separated from You forever. Right now, I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I believe that He died on the cross, paid the price for my sins and was resurrected from the dead. I repent from my sins and ask that You wash them away in the name of Jesus. Please send Your Holy Spirit to dwell in my heart and anoint me with Your love and power so that I may overcome sin. Thank you Father for Your grace and mercy and thank You for sending Your Son to sacrifice His life so that I may have eternal peace and happiness in Your presence. I thank You Lord and I love You. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen!
If you have just given your life to Christ and accepted His gift of salvation, please contact us and let us know! We would love to rejoice and pray for you as you begin your new life with Christ! It is important that you take the next step and receive baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Please know that ALL of heaven is now rejoicing over your decision to accept Christ!
May God bless you!
God 1st Ministries
For more information about Jesus’ soon return and Salvation,
Signs of Jesus’ Soon Return (series)
Salvation & Christian Living

Reflections on Paul’s letter to the Church in COLOSSAE – Introduction

Paul writes the final greeting to the Colossians with his own hand

Biblical scholars debate the overall theme of Paul’s letter to the Colossians, but let’s encapsulate Paul’s encouragement and exhortation to the church (remember the letter was also to be read in the Laodician church which was nearby Colossae), under the banner of “THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST” .

How do we contextually define “preeminence” – Noah Webster defines ‘preeminence’ as ‘the state of

having paramount (or ‘supreme over all others’) rank, dignity, or importance’.

To understand more clearly Paul’s sense of Christ’s preeminence, let’s look at two illustrative passages from Paul’s letter to the Colossians. The first illustrative passage reads,

“He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God [the Father], the firstborn over all creation. For by Him [Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him [Jesus] and for Him [Jesus]. He [Jesus] is before all things, and in Him [Jesus] all things hold together. And He [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church; He [Jesus] is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He [Jesus] might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His [the Father’s] fullness dwell in Him [Jesus], and through Him [Jesus] to reconcile to Himself [the Father] all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His [Jesus’] blood, shed on the cross”

Colossians 1 : 15-20

Christ is preeminent over all creation because –

He is the perfect image of God [Hebrews 1: 3]

He is the revelation of God [John 1:1-18]

He is the Creator [1 Corinthians 8:6]

He is the goal of creation [Colossians 1:16]

He is eternal [Hebrews 7:3]

He is the Head of the church [Ephesians 1:22-23]

He is the firstborn from the dead – the resurrection and the life [Romans 8:29]

He is all sufficient in salvation, reconciliation and peace [2 Peter 1:3-4]

The second illustrative passage is found later in the letter to the Colossians and reads,

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 1and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”

Colossians 2 : 9 – 10

This passage serves to reinforce two aspects of the preeminence of Christ.

Firstly, the fact of His Deity, His indissoluble fusion in the Trinity [John 1:1]. At the same time, He walked in the fullness of His humanity – in the church we call this concept the ‘hypostasis’ of Jesus Christ, which we will discuss in more detail in a later blog.

Secondly, this passage reemphasizes the fact that Christ is ‘over’, in command of, sovereign to, EVERY power and authority. HE IS PREEMINENT!

Posted on February 3, 2019

Reflecting on Paul’s Letter to the Church in Colossae

Paul writes the final greeting to the Colossians with his own hand

Most Biblical scholars agree that Paul wrote his letter to the church in Colossae (‘Ko-LOS-ee‘) around 60 A.D. during his first imprisonment in Rome.


Colossae was an ancient city in the region of Phrygia in Asia Minor (today Turkey) and was founded in the 5th century B.C. In earlier times it had been a thriving major city located on the main trade route between Greece / Macedonia and Asia. By the time of the Apostle Paul, however, the main junction had been diverted further west to the neighboring cities of Hieropolis and Laodicia in the Lycus Valley.

Historically, the town was known for its fusion of religious influences (“syncretism“) forming out of the traditions of Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity and Paganism. Centered here, too, was an unorthodox cult that venerated the archangel Michael – it was said that Michael had called forth a curative spring to gush out from a fissure in the earth near Colossae.

Devastated by a catastrophic earthquake just a few years after the letter was sent by Paul, the city was later rebuilt by the Romans. In the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. the city of Colossae was overrun by the Saracens – Arab Muslims, on their way to conquering the old Persian Empire. The city, including it’s famous historical church, was eventually destroyed in 1193 A.D. during the Byzantine civil war, and it’s population relocated to nearby Chonae (now Honaz in Turkey).


The Church in Colossae, as well as the churches in nearby Hieropolis and Laodicia, had been established by one of Paul’s disciples and co-workers, Epaphras, who was a native of Colossae.

In around 60 A.D., Epaphras came to visit Paul in prison in Rome, and brought with him a report on the progress of the church in Colossae, as well as elaborating on some of the challenges that the churches faced from the heretical teachings of the Gnostics (see box below), Judaizers and angel worshippers. Paul’s principal purpose in writing this letter to the church in Colossae was to refute these heretical teachings. His focus was not to directly counter each false premise and argument, but to point to the all sufficiency of Christ and His sacrifice on the Cross.

Did you know that when Secret Service agents are trained to identify counterfeit notes, they spend most of their time studying the genuine article and almost no time studying counterfeits? Why?

There are many different counterfeiting techniques, some more obvious than others. New ways of counterfeiting, using emerging technologies are being introduced almost every year. Trying to keep up with the changing landscape of counterfeiting would require continual updated training – but, once you have studied and fully recognize the genuine, it becomes the litmus test for all other comparison.

Paul uses this exact same technique in his letter, by reemphasizing the genuine Gospel of Jesus the Christ, rather than refuting each heretical teaching individually.




Paul’s opening prayer, thanksgiving for and encouragement to the believers in Colossae

As we review Paul’s opening prayer, his thanksgiving for and his encouragement to the Colossian church, found in the first chapter of his letter verses 1 – 12, we are impressed by the Apostle’s emphasis on faith in Christ. His beautifully eloquent introduction found in verses 3 – 5, encapsulates the foundation of his unwavering faith that he sees reflected in the believers in Colossae.


We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the Gospel.

Colossians 1:3-5

In his letter, Paul introduces himself as, “…an Apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will (GREEK ‘thelema‘ – determination, purpose, decree) of God…”. Remember Paul, himself, had not visited the believers at Colossae, for it was Epaphras, a disciple of Paul’s, with the help of Timothy, that had been instrumental in planting all three churches in the region, at Colossae, at Laodicea and at Hierapolis, at which this letter was to be read.

Paul refers to himself in many of his letters as an Apostle, notably as “the Apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13; I Timothy 2:17; II Timothy 1:11). This begs the question. Were there only thirteen true Apostles (those selected by Jesus Himself, plus Matthias chosen by lot – Acts 1:20-26) or can others be considered Apostles, such as Paul, or James, the brother of Jesus and leader of the early church in Jerusalem (I Corinthians 15:7; Galatians 1:19), or Barnabas (Acts 14;4, 14; I Corinthians 9:6), or Andronicus and Junias (Romans 16:7), or Silas and Timothy (I Thessalonians 1:1 & 2:7), or Apollos (I Corinthians 4:6, 9) or others mentioned in Paul’s epistles, the book of Acts and early church writings.

There are two main streams of thought in the church today regarding Apostleship

The first, perhaps the more traditional and evangelical view, is that the term Apostle can only rightfully be used to describe the twelve disciples of Christ minus Judas and plus Matthias, and possibly Paul, and their ministry during what is referred to as the Apostolic age.

The Apostolic age is defined as – the period in which the Apostles of Christ as described in the Bible lived, speaking and writing authoritatively, and bearing the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). The majority of the evangelical community maintains that the Apostolic age closed long ago, along with the disbursement of the spiritual gifts to the church – cessationism is the teaching that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing ceased with the Apostolic age.

On the other side of the spectrum are those, mainly from the charismatic stream in the church, that believe that we have entered a new Apostolic age, where God is raising up Apostles and Prophets once again as God’s intended form of church governance. One of the leading proponents of this thinking is the New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR, which is a loose collection of non-denominational and independent churches rallying around a particular set of biblical interpretations. The NAR approaches church leadership and biblical interpretation differently from mainstream Protestant denominations. Of particular distinction are the role and power of spiritual leaders, a literalist approach to spiritual warfare, and an overt interest in cultural and political control. The NAR movement has become closely associated with the emergence of ‘Dominion Theology‘ (Dominion theology / Christian reconstructionism is largely based upon a post-millennial view of ‘covenantalism‘. Post-millennialism is the belief that Christ will return to earth after the thousand-year reign of God’s kingdom, and ‘covenantalism‘ refers to the belief that biblical history is divided into three major covenants described in Scripture—of redemption, of works, and of grace).

Adherents to this way of thinking believe that we currently exist under the covenant of grace, that the church and Israel are the same, and that we are now in the millennial Kingdom of God. Man, under the covenant of grace, is responsible to rule the world and to hold dominion over it in obedience to the laws of God.

As is often the case in Christian theological thought, both of these extremes of thinking have fatal flaws, and in the end God’s truth can seldom be contained in man’s theories, thoughts or dogma. The truth can only be found in Jesus, who is the ‘Logos‘ (‘Divine expression’) and the ‘Rhema‘ (‘Divine revelation’).

My thoughts, and I stress these are my contemplations based on my own limited intimacy and depth of knowledge in our Lord who is all wisdom and revelation, is that there are indeed ‘apostles’ in the church today, but that they are rarely those that consider themselves as such and almost never those who would have that title engraved on their business card.

Some have drawn the distinction between a big ‘A’ Apostle (the original group of 12, without Judas and presumably with Matthias), and those who operated in the days of the early church in the office of an apostle, the so called small ‘a’ apostles, like Paul and James and others mentioned in Acts and Paul’s letters, as well as those who today operate in the ‘gift’ and anointing of an apostle (Ephesians 4:7-12).

The requirements to be one of the original Apostles of Christ included being a faithful eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry and His resurrection (Acts 1:21-22; 1 Corinthians 9:1) and being personally called by Jesus (Galatians 1:1). Their personal testimony of Jesus as well as their witness to the Way were vital to the establishment of His church, but the office, gift and anointing of apostleship continued on through gifted apostolic leaders like Paul, James, Barnabas and many others, and has continued on through the church age to this present day. So whether you distinguish between a big ‘A’ Apostle and a small ‘a’ apostle, the apostolic office, gifting and anointing remain as vital to the church today, as they did in the formative years of the church.

The mission for those with the office, gift and anointing of apostleship today is to plant new ministries and churches, go into places where the Gospel is not preached, reach across cultures to establish churches in challenging environments, raise up and develop leaders, call out and lead pastors and shepherds, and much more. The true apostle is imbued with many different spiritual and natural gifts that allow them to fulfill their ministry. These are leaders of leaders and ministers of ministers. They are influencers. They are typically entrepreneurial and are able to take risks and perform difficult tasks. Missionaries, church planters, certain Christian scholars and institutional leaders, and those leading multiple ministries or churches often have the calling of ‘apostleship’ over their lives. See also Ephesians 4:11, I Corinthians 12:28, Acts 1:21-22, 1 Corinthians 9:1

This understanding is perhaps the most Biblically based and one that we can find the most affinity with. Next week we will look at apostleship in a deeper way and I hope to offer greater illumination into this vital concept to the body of Christ. Have a blessed week!

Paul’s opening prayer, thanksgiving for and encouragement to the believers in Colossae (cont.)

Paul moves quickly from his greeting to the Colossians, onto his thanksgiving for them and his encouragement to them to continue in the faith, a faith based on the “…the word of truth, the Gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing, as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth…” – Colossians 1:5b – 6

This week’s KEY VERSE

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.”

Colossians 1:3-5a

There is so much contained in these 1st few verses of Paul’s introduction to his letter.

“We always thank God,…” – Paul speaks elsewhere in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 that we are to, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Consider that statement by Paul carefully. Remember he, himself, tells us that his life was one of extreme difficulty and of overcoming adversity, (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). He details in this passage his beatings, his lashings, his imprisonments, his stoning, his shipwrecks, the dangers that his faced on every side, his deprivations of sleep, food and clothing, yet through it all he continues to encourage himself and all of us, to ‘rejoice always‘, ‘to pray continually‘ and to ‘give thanks in all circumstances‘. Is that something that we do today? Is that a picture of our lives? Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us to, “Rejoice always, pray continually [and] give thanks in all circumstances,” for this is the will of God for us in Christ Jesus!

“…the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,…” – Paul reminds the Colossian church, and us, that Christianity is a ‘family affair’. Under the leadership of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the church, His body upon the earth, are called to be witnesses to the Gospel (“Good News”) of Jesus’ incarnation, life, death and resurrection, that made a way for sinful man to be reconciled with and have a restored access to an intimate relationship with the perfectly holy Father God, who’s greatest desire has always been sons and daughters living in the perfection of His love reciprocated, just as He experienced with and through the earthly life of His Son, Jesus, who was fully imbued with His very own nature and goodness. We are called to be living embodiments of the selfless love, obedience and holiness demonstrated to us by Jesus.

“…since we heard of your FAITH in Christ Jesus, and of the LOVE that you have for all the saints, because of the HOPE laid up for you in heaven.” Here Paul reiterates what can be defined as the three most important ‘metaphysical’ components of Christianity. ‘Metaphysical‘ is defined by the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary as – ‘of or relating to the transcendent (beyond natural comprehension), or to a reality beyond what is susceptible to the senses‘. These three eternal, metaphysical concepts jointly form the underpinnings of our belief system and are clearly stated by Paul in his first letter to the church in Corinth, chapter 13, verse 13, when he writes, “And now these three remain, Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is Love“.

Paul’s encouragement to the believers in Colossae

Paul goes on to recognize that the transforming word of the gospel, which had been presented to the Colossians by one of Paul’s disciples, Epaphras, and which they had accepted gladly into their hearts, was in the process of radically reshaping the whole Roman Empire. In these verses Paul builds on the construct of the “grace of God in truth“. The thought that the Gospel is the grace (‘Divine influence’) of truth.

“Of this you have heard before in the word of truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing – as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,…”

Colossians 5b – 6

Paul refers here to the gospel as being “the word of truth“. Let’s explore this concept a little deeper, first by defining the terms used:

“gospel” – GREEK ‘euagellion‘ meaning, ‘good news’ or ‘glad tidings’. It is this Greek word that is at the root of the English term “evangelist“, one who propagates and proclaims the gospel.

“word” – GREEK ‘logos‘ meaning, ‘word’, but in a much deeper sense it means ‘the Divine expression’.

‘Logos’ is the same Greek word used in John 1:1 : “In the beginning was the Word (‘Logos’), and the Word (‘Logos’) was with God, and the Word (‘Logos’) was God.” Clearly stated in this passage and in many others in the New Testament, is the fact that Jesus is the ‘Word’ of God, or as the term is defined, the ‘Divine expression‘ of the Godhead.

Two of the keys to the productive study of the Bible (often referred to as “God’s Word”) is firstly, to let the Bible interpret itself. We are not to superimpose our own understanding over the Bible’s own interpretation of a passage of Scripture. Or for that matter the interpretation offered by Bible commentators, or denominational doctrine or dogma, or indeed an interpretation drawn from secular thought or the wisdom of the world.

Secondly, we must always allow the Bible’s usage of a word to define its meaning, rather than relying on the secular Greek or Hebrew understanding of the word’s meaning.

“truth” – GREEK ‘aletheia‘ meaning, ‘conformity to the nature and reality of existence’. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is the ‘Word’ of God (“Divine expression”). Just as clearly the Bible teaches that Jesus is the embodiment of the ‘Truth’ of God.

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.” [JOHN 14:6a]

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [JOHN 8:31b-32]

“God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship Him in Spirit and truth.” [JOHN 4:24]

So to summarize, we could expand on what Paul was conveying to the Colossians when he wrote, “…the word of truth, the gospel…” to more fully read, “…the good news that Jesus, as the Divine expression of the Godhead, has appeared as a man to lead us into a new reality of eternal life and intimacy with our Father God through His Holy Spirit.” It is this proclamation of the gospel message which was “bearing fruit and increasing” at the time that this letter was written, and still does today.

Some 2,000 years ago a young itinerant preacher from a small rural village in Galilee stood beaten, bruised and bleeding in a dirty, blood stained, tattered robe before the Roman prefect (governor) of Judea in modern day Israel. The interrogation was brief, but ended with one of the most pivotal discourses in the Bible:

“Then Pilate said to Him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. Indeed it is for this purpose that I was born and it is for this purpose that I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.’

Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’”

John 18:37-38

The truth stood right in front of Pontius Pilate. Yes, the Truth was disguised in the cloak of a hardly recognizable, poor, filthy, beaten, bleeding, condemned and uneducated young man.

But what Pilate failed to recognize, was that his natural eyes were deceiving him, for if he had been able to see with supernatural eyes, he would have fallen to His knees in worship.

The One who stood before Him was, in fact, the Son of the living God, heir to the riches of heaven, perfectly pure and cleansed, unbeaten and unbowed, already shedding the blood of the innocent Lamb of sacrifice that would, once and for all, atone for the sin of man and even conquer death itself. The One who personified TRUTH itself stood before Pontius Pilate.

What is the truth that we base our lives upon today. Is it the truth of that which we perceive with our natural senses? Is it the truth of our circumstances, surroundings or situation? Is it the truth of man’s wisdom and advise? Is it the truth of our own life experiences, hurts and failures?

Or is it the Truth of who He is? Is it the Truth of the ‘Logos‘ Word of God – the Divine expression of the Godhead? Is it the unfailing Truth of a life conformed to the reality of the unseen and not the temporal nature of the seen and naturally perceived? Is it a Truth that stands as the bedrock of our existence and our faith?

Paul’s powerful prayer for the believers in Colossae


After affirming his thankfulness to God for revealing the Gospel of “ truth” and praising the church in Colossae’s founder, Epaphras, calling him “our beloved fellow servant…a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf…”, Paul assures the Colossian church that, “..from the day we heard of you, we have not ceased to pray for you…”. Paul then launches into a powerful prayer over the Church.


  1. F. D. Moule writes, “Paul’s prayer makes two great requests: It asks for the discernment of God’s will and then for the power to perform that will.”


Paul’s prayer, which runs from verse 9 to verse 14 of the 1st Chapter of Colossians, is a powerfully succinct summary of who we should aspire to be in Christ. Because of the richness of the concepts contained in the prayer, we are going to break the prayer down into three studies. The first portion we will look at today.

“…that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…”

Colossians 1:9b – 10

Before we tackle the concept of how to, “…be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,…”, let’s first consider the biblical meaning for the words translated here as “knowledge” and “wisdom”. Is the meaning of these two words essentially the same and the use of both of the words in this passage for emphasis only, or are they diverse in meaning?

The GREEK word translated as “knowledge” in this passage is ‘epignosis‘ (‘recognition’ or ‘discernment’), while the GREEK word translated as “wisdom” is ‘sophia‘ (which in the natural sense the word means -‘practical wisdom’; ‘natural & moral insight’; ‘enlightened understanding through the cultivation of the mind’, while in the biblical sense, it is translated as, ‘the divine gift of deep understanding, including the idea of practical application’; ‘divine wisdom’). So what is the difference between the concepts of ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’ as used in the Bible?

C H Spurgeon said that “Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.“

That pretty much sums it up. But, can we really discern God’s will for our lives? And, if so, how?

The Bible clearly encourages us that we can, indeed should discern God’s will for our lives, both His will for us as members of the ‘catholic’ church and also for our lives individually. O.K. I sense that you all jumped involuntarily at my use of the word ‘catholic’ in the previous sentence. Calm down now, the word ‘catholic’ simply means ‘universal’, it has nothing to do with the Roman Catholic church Really what we are saying is that the will of God for our lives is really not about ourselves and our personal ‘destiny’ or ‘purpose’, but all about how our lives fit within the corporate body of Christ, and serve to advance His kingdom on the earth so that, “…the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)

From this perspective, we are to discern and have knowledge of God’s purpose and design for our lives, as we are incorporated into His body on the earth. But, how do we do that? Below are 7 steps to discerning the specific will of God for your life and reinforcing how His specific will for you is always within the context of a symbiotic relationship with His body.

ABIDE IN CHRIST – First and foremost intimacy with God is the founding principal of Christian life. Without a vibrant and growing intimacy with the Father & the Son through the Holy Spirit, our spiritual lives will always remain in constant flux and uncertainty.

“Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me” (John 15:4)

SURRENDER YOUR WILL TO GOD – We must recognize that all the ambitions, dreams and plans that we hold onto in our own heart may prevent us from discerning the true will of God for our lives. ‘Self will’ most often opposes ‘God’s will’ & we must first learn to set aside our own will in order to allow ourselves to be fully persuaded by God’s will for our lives. “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21) “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12: 1 – 2)

OBEY WHAT YOU ALREADY KNOW TO BE GOD’S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE – A simple first step is to revisit what the Bible says about our calling in Christ. Are we living out that calling? Here are some helpful verses that describe YOUR Biblical calling:

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace.” (2 Timothy 1:9)

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Colossians 5:13) – The next calling of God on our lives, according to the Bible, isn’t preached too often in America…

“…if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” (2 Peter 2:20 – 21)

“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7)

SPEND TIME JUST LISTENING FOR HIS VOICE – How often do we spend time just sitting in His presence & listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit. Two of my favorite Scriptures speak to this concept:

“Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) If we will but be still & wait, if we will put aside all distractions & competing noise we will hear the “still, small voice” of our Master, who speaks as clearly to each of us in those moments of quiet, abiding intimacy, as He did to the prophets of old.

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21)

GROW IN INTIMACY WITH HIM – All else in the Christian life pales to insignificance when compared to abiding in intimacy with our Lord. All ministry, outreach, good works, sacrifice, faith or even holiness, has no basis or reward outside of an ever developing intimacy with the Father, through Jesus, His Son and His Holy Spirit. It is from this foundation that are spiritual lives are to be built and our calling and destiny fulfilled. Oswald Chambers put it this way, “God’s call is for you to be His faithful friend & partner, for whatever purpose He has for your life.”

TAKE A PERSONAL INVENTORY OF GOD’S GIFTINGS IN YOUR OWN LIFE – We have all been given gifts & talents, no matter how small & insignificant they may appear, that can be used mightily by God in the kingdom. Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5,000 men (not including woman & children), recorded in all four Gospels, was precipitated we are told in the Gospel of John, by a young boy offering the disciples use of his meager lunch of five small barley loaves and two small fish. Andrew, one of the Lord’s disciples, questioned the sufficiency of this offering as a solution. Jesus, however, took this small offering and blessed it & multiplied it, so that at the end when the crowd numbering perhaps ten to fifteen thousand people had finished eating , twelve baskets of fragments of the barley loaves were gathered. Interestingly enough, in Biblical numerology twelve is the product of 3 (the perfectly Divine and heavenly number) and 4 (the earthly, the number of what is material and organic). Also, have you ever wondered why it was only the fragments of the barley loaves that were gathered up afterwards & not leftover fish? Perhaps, because later in the same chapter of the gospel of John, Jesus declares Himself, the ‘Bread of life’?

STEP OUT IN FAITH – There comes a time, the ‘kairos‘ (‘appointed’) time in each of our lives that we must decide to act on what we believe God has revealed to us about our specific calling within the body of Christ. Even if it is not perfectly clear – “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) – we are to step out in faith. There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a step“. William Bradford (an English Puritan separatist in the 16th century) is quoted as saying, “Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many.”

Be encouraged, God has promised to guide us this path of life, and Jesus has shown us the Way and assures us that by the Holy Spirit, He will never leave us, or forsake us, giving us guidance & direction, as each of us, like Christian in the John Bunyan’s allegorical tale, “The Pilgrim’s Progress” seek the way to the ‘Celestial City’.

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look;

ask for the ancient paths,

ask where the good way is, and walk in it,

and you will find rest for your souls.‘” (Jeremiah 6:16)

Posted on March 10, 2019Leave a comment on Paul’s powerful prayer for the believers in Colossae