Adam is not dealing with just an animal that he had previously named; he is
dealing with greater intelligence and an adversarial relationship. The
serpent uses his abilities in sinister ways. This inventor of lies begins a
conversation that will bring about an unimaginable disaster.
The story begins with God. As the universe begins, there is only one
character because God is the ultimate cause and reality of all things. God
created all things, therefore all things have their being in God. God did
not create due to loneliness. God does not need anything. God exists in
perfect unity, harmony, and community. He is one in being and three in
subsistence, namely the Father, Son, and Spirit. God created and creation
itself is an act of love and grace.
Jesus shared our life so that we might share his life in heaven. God
declares from his throne that all things have been created anew, and all
who are thirsty may come and drink deeply from the spring of the water of
The king bears a sharp sword that comes out of his mouth with which he will
strike the nations and rule over them. He treads the winepress of God’s
wrath and fury. He will crush and trample the wicked like grapes. This is
the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
Prosperity can be as great a threat to God’s people as adversity in spite
of the fact that it is usually overlooked as an imminent threat. This
church received the most severe rebuke of Christ’s letters. He issues a
scathing indictment of the church’s disgusting and sickening lukewarmness.
The church at Ephesus was doing many good things, but it suffered from a
serious flaw. These good deeds did not excuse the fact that they had
abandoned their first love. The people were not expressing love with the
same intensity and passion at the beginning.
Having seen the seven golden lampstands, John saw Jesus as a remarkable
human figure. He saw Jesus clothed in a robe reaching to His feet, having a
golden sash. Like the Ancient of Days we read about in Daniel, this
glorious figure with brilliant white hair. His eyes were like a flame of
fire. His voice was like the roar of many waters and in his right hand he
held seven stars.
John again underscores the importance of showing genuine love. Our love as
an inclination finds its origin in the divine nature. The greatness of the
divine love for us leaves us with an incentive to love one another. Our
practice of love for one another provides evidence that God’s love for us
has attained its goal.
James urges his readers to count it as joy in the face of trials. Believers
are not to pretend that the sufferings of this life are not real and
painful. James makes the point that joy can be found in the midst of
suffering and that there is purpose in suffering will be over. Wisdom and
understanding are needed and God will give generously to those who ask him.
The church is described as a living body, a building built on the
foundation of Jesus, and as a select people. Peter was eager for God’s
people to demonstrate distinctive, obedient behavior in order to convince
critics of their faith. Since they are living as God’s people in a pagan
world, they are called to live in such a way that the only thing they can
be accused of is being honorable and doing good deeds.
In light of these truths, Paul seeks to persuade others, not by commending
themselves, but because the love of Christ controls him. Christ died and
was raised, and that changes everything. Paul does not see people the same
way anymore. If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation because they
have been reconciled to God through Christ who has also given them the
ministry of reconciliation and made them his ambassadors and the secondary
means of God's appeal.
Paul defines some of the characteristics of Christian love so that there
will not be any confusion for the church at Corinth. Paul starts with the
positive attributes and then explains what is antithetical to Christian
love. It is important to understand that Christian love is not some
sentimental and uncontrollable emotion.
There is a great deal of curiosity, and much speculation is made concerning
the time of Christ's return. Paul tells the believers that his coming will
be sudden and unexpected so they are to live with an urgent expectancy
concerning his return. We are called to live unto Christ, and if we give
ourselves to following Christ and obeying his commands, then we will be
ready when he comes for his bride.
Timothy had been given a solid foundation in the Old Testament Scriptures,
which he had received from his grandmother and his mother. These sacred
writings made Timothy wise for salvation through faith in Jesus. The Bible
has its origin in God, and it is profitable for teaching, reproof,
correction, and training in righteousness. This is the way that God equips
his followers and moves them to maturity.
Timothy has already been advised to guard the deposit of truth and to be
steadfast in preaching that truth in the face of any opposition he might be
faced with in his ministry at Ephesus. Now, Paul urges him to pass on the
truth of the gospel to the next generation. Paul is well aware that his end
is drawing near, and he is considering the future as he writes to Timothy.
Paul affirms Timothy as a man of God and encourages him to look after his
spiritual health. He urges him to strive for righteousness, godliness,
faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. Paul tells Timothy that faith
is a fight. We should remember that a life of faith is not delivered from
struggle, a life of faith brings one into a life of struggle, a fight.
These verses are not just a set of instructions on how to identify and
appoint new leaders. The church at Ephesus required a radical overhaul of
the church’s leadership. Some men had wandered from the truth and led
others astray which necessitated that they be replaced with men of
integrity who could lead the church.
Creation exists for Christ. Every particle and molecule in the universe is
held together by Jesus, and he has dominion over all things. He is the head
of the church, and he exercises his authority by the Spirit and the word.
Jesus is the greatest, supreme, foremost, best, finest, and most excellent
over all things.
Paul has calls these readers to follow his example as he did on previous
occasions in the book of Philippians. This call to practice what has been
learned, received, heard, and seen is the essence of discipleship; follow
me as I follow Christ. We are called to show the world what Jesus is like
by the way that we live.
These words should render us speechless as a sense of awe and wonder
envelops our hearts. Jesus did not insist upon what was rightfully his.
Instead, he willingly laid aside his glory and took our humanity. Jesus
never ceased to be God, but he took on our humanity becoming fully God and
fully man at the same time.