Men's Workout #38 - March 10, 2018


We opened up our time together by singing "O Father, You Are Sovereign" (hymn #17).


As a group, we spent some time reviewing James 2:24-26 by memorizing, reciting, and reflecting as a group.

James 2:26

Faith without works is dead, just as the body without the spirit is dead.

Faith is ultimately hearing, believing, and trusting.

"When did you hear what God said and start to believe in it?"

Preview of James 3:1-5

  • Many people desire to become teachers in the church, but James discourages it because teachers will certainly incur a strict judgment that will come in the future.
    • This judgment and accountability is before God, not men. In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul says that the one who examines him as a steward of God's word is God alone.
    • Everyone is accountable before God, but those who are teachers have a higher and stricter accountability before Him. For example, in 2 Timothy 4, Paul charges Timothy to preach the word in season and out of season.
    • This accountability before God has to do with whether the handling of the Word is being done faithfully and accurately. Are teachers being faithful to teach what Scripture says?
      • In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul charges Timothy to "be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."
      • Faithful teaching of the Word has nothing to do with personal charisma or attractive presentation - it has everything to do with whether you are accurately handling the Word.
    • Does the church need teachers? Absolutely! But those who embrace the role of teacher must take it seriously, for they handle the very Word of God and teach others in the church to understand and obey it.
  • Question: Is James addressing incumbent teachers, or prospective teachers?
    • Both, but primarily those who are already teaching in the church in some capacity.
  • Question: Is James specifically addressing those who hold the office of pastor?
    • The way James refers to teachers does not seem to be limited to pastors only.
    • 1 Corinthians 12 points out teaching as a spiritual gift, and so it is not limited only to those who are in the role of pastor-teacher. There are capacities other than those of the pastor-teacher that can involve a teaching responsibility.
  • If you can control your mouth, you can bridle and control your own body.
    • This ability demonstrates an obtaining of a level of maturity. For example, words of anger that are staved and suppressed can calm down anger and avoid potential opportunities for sin.
    • Horses are large, powerful, and intimidating creatures. But when we place a small bit in the mouth, we are able to direct the horse to wherever we want it to go. In a similar analogy, ships are also large and powerful, yet they are directed by the captain of the ship by a small rudder. These analogies help us comprehend the fact that although the tongue is but a small part of the body, it is able to boast of and accomplish great things. Our words can be a great source of good and encouragement for others, but they can also be a cause of great damage, even from unintended slip-ups.
      • In Ephesians 4:29, Paul commands us to speak words that are good for edification according to the need of the moment so that they will give grace to those who hear.
    • Let us use our tongues rightly and have our speech be seasoned with grace, rather than letting our tongues be causes of great strife and damage.
  • Question: What are some ways that our tongues can cause great damage?
    • Lying
    • Gossip & slander
      • Before we feel compelled to speak about others, we should train ourselves to ask, "If I say this, and the other person found out, how would they feel? If I were that person and someone said that about me, how would I feel?"
    • Defiance
    • Criticism
    • Ridicule
    • Hateful assault
    • Partiality
    • Boasting
    • False promises
    • Approval of evil
    • Retaliation
    • Reviling

Men's Workout #37 - March 3, 2018


We opened up our time together by singing "It Is Well with My Soul" (#407).


As a group, we spent a few minutes reading through, reciting, and discussing small portions of James 2:19-23.

James 2:19-20

  • We can be the kind of people that are unwilling to recognize that faith without works is dead.
  • There is a real tendency and desire to bifurcate faith and good works. This can be a real struggle for God's people. Are we really willing to recognize the fact that faith without works is useless?
  • Genuine saving faith is demonstrated in an ongoing manner with good works. The faith that we have in Christ is meant to produce consistent obedience in our lives.

James 2:21-23

  • James brings up the example of Abraham. Cross reference texts are found in Genesis 15 and Genesis 22. Through Abraham's example, we see that faith is always accompanied with obedience and a proving out of the faith.
    • Genesis 15 - The Lord told Abraham that he would be a blessing to the world by making him a father of many nations. Although he was old and had no children, Abraham believed in the Lord that what He said would come to pass, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
    • Genesis 22 - Abraham (almost) sacrifices Isaac in obedience to the Lord, and the Lord blesses Abraham because he obeyed His voice.
  • When we have the knowledge of the Word of God, we are often faced with opportunities and situations in our lives that test our faith and whether we will obey what we know and have been told. Some examples of how we can be tested in our faith today:
    • Loving others as ourselves vs. loving the self only
    • Obeying parents vs. obeying the Lord
  • Considering the example of Abraham, he chose to obey and love the Lord above the safety and even the life of his own child. Although we are not also called to sacrifice our own children, we can be challenged to consider our own priorities and relationships in our pursuit of an obedient life. We should remember that our command is to love God first and worship Him alone, and so we ought to consider the costs of our discipleship and our willingness to let everything go in obedience and love for the Lord and His commands if and when it is called for (see Matthew 10:32-39, Luke 14:25-33).

Preview of James 2:24-26

  • Man is justified by works and not by faith alone. Taken out of context, this text might lead someone to conclude that faith and works can be separated. However, they are not separated, but they are two sides of the same coin that operate together.
  • For example, Rahab exhibited a working faith, as we can observe from the account in Joshua 2. She did not have the revelation of God, but she exercised faith in the best way she knew how from what she knew about God. She demonstrated her faith by her works. She didn't just take her knowledge, but took action to side with God and His people. She demonstrated her faith in God and her commitment to take action according to her faith.

Men's Workout #36 - February 24, 2018


We opened up our time together by singing "Tell Out, My Soul" (#47).

Recitation and Review of James 2:14-18

  • In 2:14, James does not explain whether faith saves, or whether works save, but rather explains what kind of faith saves. A faith that saves is an active faith, or an obedient faith. In contrast, a latent faith is no faith at all.
  • Referring back to James 2:1-13, we can see that James describes a faith that does not discriminate. This is a faith that demonstrates itself. For example, one way to act out faith is to practically love your neighbor as yourself, especially toward those in need.
  • It's possible to have a wrong definition or understanding about faith.
    • Faith is not just intellectual understanding, nor is faith merely a profession of beliefs. Genuine faith is professed and then evidenced in works.
    • If profession of faith is not accompanied by a working out, it is dead and useless and cannot be considered as saving faith.
      • We can see in verse 19 that even demons have proper theology and understanding and therefore a profession of a kind of faith, but one would hardly say that this faith is a saving faith, nor would it be the kind that produces good works.
  • Also, one who has works but no faith is not saved either. One is not saved by good deeds, but by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Preview of James 2:19-22

  • The demons also believe that God is one, and even shudder in fear. They understand the import of who God is, and maybe in some ways we don’t! But that doesn’t really matter; what matters is what we do with our profession of faith. James restates what we've already reviewed; faith without works (in loving obedience to God) is useless.
  • It is still important to have right doctrine and to understand God's Word properly. But what matters is not merely having knowledge and understanding, but what one does with it in working out their faith.
  • We must have a "faith that works" rather than "faith and works." We believe, therefore we honor the Lord because we believe. This is faith that shows itself in works. Faith and works are not compartmentalized, but are married together in truth and deed.
  • When James mentions that faith was perfected (verse 22), we should understand this phrase as faith having been brought to completion, rather than faith having been qualified to a level of perfection.
  • James brings up the example of Abraham to show how his faith was proven through obedience via the offering of his son, Isaac, on a sacrificial altar.
    • Abraham is called the friend of God. He has been declared righteous before God (v23), and can therefore could be considered a friend. Other biblical references to Abraham being called "friend" can be found in Isaiah 41:8 & 2 Chronicles 20:7.
    • The declaration of Abraham's righteousness comes in Genesis 15, before Abraham actually offered Isaac upon the altar. However, it was this act of obedience that finally demonstrated the proof and genuineness of Abraham's faith that he already had.
  • Question: Does faith have to be perfected before it is considered legitimate?
    • There is tremendous value to having our faith actively being demonstrated as real.
    • Testing of faith is valuable and refines faith toward purity.
    • Without testing of faith and the production of obedient works, how can we really know whether our faith is genuine? Feelings, hunches, and experiences don't cut it and don't confirm salvation.
    • Faith is not confirmed by feelings; faith is confirmed by obedience.


  • Question: Is obedience always tied to physical, tangible actions?
    • Not always. For example, to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength is not always a physical and tangible act of obedience. However, so much of life that we live is through our bodies in physical action. It would be hard to not use our bodies in service to others.
    • Faithful obedience is balanced with both tangible and intangible aspects.

Men's Workout #35 - February 17, 2018


We opened our workout with a singing of "O God, Our Help In Ages Past" (#55).

Question: In light of family-centric celebrations and gatherings during the Chinese New Year, what is your perspective as it relates to your family history? And what is the biblical perspective we should have?

  • Genealogies are lists that describe our family history. They are a record of our attachment to people before us. Our family histories gives us a connection to those who came before us and forces us to think outside of ourselves.
  • At the very least, all people - Jew or Gentile - are descendants from one of Noah's sons (genealogies starting in Genesis 10).
  • People don't just spring up out of nowhere - all men are connected and are traced back to Noah and his sons. Conceptually, we should grasp the fact that we are all connected, and not purely self-made.

Recitation of James 2:10-13

  • Continuing the theme from verses 8-9, James picks up on the issue of partiality shown toward the rich and discrimination practiced against the poor. True believers who have faith in Christ ought not to discriminate against the poor. If we are fulfilling the law of Christ in loving all people, we do well; but if we show partiality, we are sinning against the law of Christ and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
  • If we do not love our neighbor as ourselves, but rather buck that law, then we also bucking the law in its entirety.

Question: What does "the law of liberty" refer to?

  • James ultimately is referring back to the law of Christ. Believers live in accordance to Christ's words and are free from sin's mastery over their lives.
  • Christians are called to love their neighbors as themselves, not to discriminate - especially against the disadvantaged!

Question: Where else in Scripture describes our freedom from sin and a call to love others?

  • John 13:34
    • Jesus gives us a new commandment to love one another.
  • Galatians 5:5-6, 16-17, 22
    • Neither circumcision or uncircumcision means anything, but rather faith working through love.
    • The fruit of the Spirit is love.
  • Romans 12:9-13
  • Romans 13:8-10
    • Love is the fulfillment of the law.
  • 2 Timothy 1:5
    • We can't love truly or effectively people when we are harboring sin in our lives. Love springs forth from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
    • True love is not mere charity, but love borne through the Spirit (see also Galatians 5).
  • 1 John 4:7-14
    • To love others is part and parcel of being a Christian.
  • 1 John 2:3-11
    • We know we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
    • Do not love the world nor the things in the world.
  • 1 John 3:11, 15-23
    • We are commanded to love one another.

Question: 1 John 3:16 says that Christ laid down His life for us, and so we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. What are some examples of how we can lay down our lives for each other?

  • Defend against physical assaulters and attackers
  • Risk your life to bring the gospel to the unreached (e.g., Jim Elliot).
  • Give up and sacrifice entitlements or resources for each other's sake (comfort, sleep, health, time, pleasures & enjoyment, etc.)

Question: As mentioned in James 2:10, how is one guilty of all of the law?

  • If we don't love our neighbor, we are guilty in God's eyes. We are like a murderer, or like an adulterer. Discrimination is as serious an offense against God as murder, adultery, or other sins.

Preview of James 2:14-18

  • What kind of faith saves someone?
    • One that shows itself or proves itself with works.
    • A faith that does not show itself with works is dead.
    • You can't just give lip service; you actually need to act upon what God has commanded.
  • True faith is active and works out salvation in obedience to God. Faith does not merely believe, but persists in a following of Christ in submission and obedience to His authority.

Men's Workout #34 - February 10, 2018


We opened our workout with a singing of "O Father, You Are Sovereign" (#17).


We spent a few minutes reading through, reciting, and discussing small portions of James chapter 2.

James 2:1-4

  • This chapter deals with discrimination against the poor and showing favoritism toward those who are rich or wealthy. To put it simply, God does not want us to show favoritism or make evil distinctions among His people.
  • We ought to care for one another regardless of age, status in life, financial situation, etc. In the early church, even slaves and masters served God in the same way and were called to be faithful to God in holiness. There were no distinctions between the two.

James 2:5-7 & 2:8-9

  • Royal law comes from Christ the King. Matthew 5:17 states that He came to fulfill the law, or to fill up the law. Christ showed us how to love others in full. This points us back to the teaching of the law - not just the Mosaic Law, but the fulfillment of it in Christ.
  • If we show partiality, we have committed sin and are convicted by this royal law of Christ.
  • A truly saved person loves others as themselves, not showing partiality to any particular individual because of social/financial status.
  • It is crucial for us to love our neighbors as ourselves. When it comes to the needy and poor, we must never show partiality or discriminate against such as these.

Preview of James 2:10-13

  • In verse 11, James mentions the transgressor of the law. Law here is referring back to the royal law, which is the law fulfilled in Christ and His teachings (e.g. love God and love your neighbor as yourself).
  • In verse 12, James mentions the law of liberty, not just the Mosaic Law. Christians are those who live by the words of Christ. If you say you are a Christian but do not abide by His words, your faith is not genuine.
    • Liberty refers to freedom from the bondage of sin.
    • Practically, we are accountable to the words of Christ and ought to abide and live by them. As Matthew 7 describes, everyone who hears the words of Christ and acts on them are like those who build on solid foundations. Those who are forgiven by Christ must follow Christ in their lives. True Christians are truly saved and regenerated, and therefore will always persevere and bear fruit.
  • When James mentions mercy in verse 13, he is not describing a mercy of forgiveness but more of a mercy toward the poor. In not showing loving mercy to others, we transgress the royal law and fail to emulate Christ.
  • How do we practically and biblically show mercy towards others?
    • By showing mercy, we should show compassion, not pity. Pitying has an association with condescension or disparagement. We should help others for their sake, not for our own fulfillment or evil motives.

Men's Workout #33 - February 3, 2018


We opened our workout with a singing of "All Glory Be To Christ".


We spent time in chapter 1 of James by memorizing, reciting, and reflecting as a group.

James 1:16-18

  • Verse 18 says that God is the one who brings us forth by the word of truth.
    • Other scriptural examples:
      • Ephesians 2:10 - We are His workmanship.
      • 1 Peter 1:3 - He made us born again to a living hope, according to His great mercy.
      • Titus 3:5 - We are saved not according to our deeds, but according to His mercy.
  • What is the difference between "every good thing given" and "every perfect gift"?
    • The main focus should not what's being given, but on the giver. Both things come from our unchanging God, and God is always good. Because God does not change, so also His goodness does not change.
    • As sinners, we often tend to forget that God blesses us with many blessings and benefits. But we should remember that we receive God's good blessings every day without fail and give Him glory.
  • What (or who) are the first fruits mentioned in verse 18?
    • The first fruits refers to Israel, which is appropriate because James' letter is addressed to the twelve tribes of Israel dispersed abroad.
    • Gentiles receive the blessing of Abraham and Israel as a blessing from God. Gentiles are not direct descendants of Abraham, but God has grafted Gentiles into His plan of salvation that was originally plotted out for Israel.

James 1:19-21

  • Is there such a thing as righteous anger?
    • Sometimes there are instances where righteous anger can be an obvious and justified reaction, such as when God's name is blasphemed. But, being sinful people, we must be cautious to almost never give ourselves an opportunity to act upon our anger, because our anger often gives birth to sin rather than accomplishing any sort of righteousness or justice.
  • Reconciling Ephesians 4:26 and 4:31
    • Ephesians tells us to "be angry and do not sin," but also to "put away all anger." This means that we must  deal with anger when it arises before it leads to sin.
  • What are we supposed to be "quick to hear" about?
    • Sometimes we know we should not be angry about something, but those reactions may already be boiling in our minds and our hearts. At this point, it is important that we step away from these kinds of situations so as not to encourage the development of sin.
    • Always hear everything out in patience and seek out the truth in every matter. Sometimes not hearing the entire story can cause greater anger due to lack of true understanding. Get the facts right, and don't act out in anger.
  • We must receive the word of truth, but merely receiving the word will not result in true change or salvation. We must also be doers of the word (verse 23).
    • Luke 8:4-15 recounts the parable of the sower. It's one thing to hear the word and be joyful, but an entirely other thing to receive the word and then endure in an obedient life, letting the word grow and bear fruit in our lives. We must be doers of the word; up until then, everything else can be superficial.
    • We must turn knowledge of the Word into a practical doing of the Word.
    • We ought to carry out what the Word says on every level - from the individual level to the level of the collective church body.

James 1:22-25

  • "Perfect law" and "law of liberty" refers to the word of truth, the gospel, Christ, and the apostles' teaching.
  • Jesus finishes God's revelation to His people. His words bring freedom from sin to His people. This freedom is not freedom to live a lawless life, but rather life of submission to Christ and of love for God and one another.
  • Looking intently at the perfect law portrays a picture of one who would stoop low in order to pay close attention to details. We must carefully think about what the word teaches us and how we can apply those lessons in our lives.
  • We must continually be doers of the Word. Sometimes we might think that we have already learned something, "claimed victory", and have no further need for that lesson in our lives. To do this would be to delude ourselves into complacency and false security.
  • What are some ways we can guard ourselves from such self-delusion?
    • Honest prayer before the Lord. Follow the example of the Psalmists and be dead honest before God. Work through all things before God, who knows us intimately and whom we have access to.
    • Be close with people who can be honest with us and point out our sins and delusions.
    • Look carefully through the word of God, which can expose us for who we really are and whether we are deluding ourselves.

Men's Workout # 32 - January 20, 2018

We opened our workout with a singing of "Take My Life and Let It Be" (#375).
As a group, we spent a few minutes reading the through small portions of James chapter 1, memorizing, reciting, and reflecting as a group.
James 1:1-4

  • Trials are not meaningless; they are opportunities for growth. We should consider them as such, rather than just mere inconveniences.
  • Perfect and complete are pointing to spiritual maturity, which God produces in His people
    • This is why we should consider trials with all joy
  • We find joy in our lives in the midst of trials because of the comfort and truth we receive from God's Word
  • James calls himself a bondservant, or a slave.
    • We are also slaves of God in that we serve Him. He is our Master, and our lives are not our own.
    • We don't live our lives according to our own desires or whims. We live for God's glory, to please and obey Him. 

James 1:5-8

  • When James speaks of wisdom, he is referring to Old Testament wisdom - God's eternal and divine wisdom to know how to live in our lives in the fear of God.
    • One who doubts whether God will dispense this wisdom to live according to His will is completely off base. Proverbs speaks of wisdom as one who calls all who seek after her and receive her (Proverbs 1:20-33). Therefore, those who doubt that God will give this wisdom are double-minded; they may pray for it, but in reality they don't really want it.
      • Those who sincerely seek after God's wisdom will always receive it.
  • Prayer
    • God always hears us when we pray according to His will.
    • When we pray, we should ask with faith ("ask, seek, knock").
    • We should pray according to God's will, not our own self-seeking will ("not my will, but your will be done").
    • Often, we don’t have because we don't ask. In faith, we should pray to God and ask that His will be done in our lives and in others' lives (i.e. pray for spiritual maturity, salvation for others). We can be confident that our prayers that align with His will are heard and that God will answer.
    • God answers our prayers according to His sovereign will, and we are called to pray in faith. At the very least, we can be confident that when we pray according to His will, He hears us.
  • It's not wrong to ask for wisdom for other areas of life (e.g. practical matters of life, like work). God welcomes and invites everyone to seek after God and pray for help.
    • Example: even within the Lord's prayer, Christ prays for both lofty matters and practical matters ("Hallowed be your name" and "Give us this day our daily bread").

James 1:9-12

  • "The rich man will pass away in the midst of his pursuits"
    • We should be reminded that we can't take any of our material blessings with us into eternity.
    • Those in humility should focus not on what they have in this life but what they do have in God's eyes and the glory he will receive in eternity ("the crown of life", verse 12).
    • We should be of the mind that we use whatever God has given us for God's glory.
    • There is a parallel thought found in Luke 12:13-34.
      • Be on guard against every form of greed.
      • Be rich toward God, give to others, and do mercy.
    • Warnings and dangers associated with becoming rich
      • Proverbs 23:4-5
        • Do not wear yourself out in the pursuit of wealth, because it is fleeting.
      • 1 Timothy 6:9
        • It is easy to fall into temptation and become distracted with foolish and harmful desires, resulting in ruin and destruction.

James 1:13-15

  • Spiritual death & the fight against sin
    • The death that James mentions is spiritual death, or hell. This is the outcome of accomplished sin.
    • When sin creeps up in a believer's life, it must be stamped out quickly, and not left to fester or grow.
    • Sin begins with our lusts and desires. In order to head off sin, we must deal with our lusts and desires.
      • It is better to be rid of what we value in life in order to gain eternity.
    • "Make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lust" [Romans 13:14]
      • We must deal with the fleshly opportunities for sin in our lives, but we must also replace the desires in our hearts with better things. Comprehensive dealings with sin means removal of physical opportunities and a renewing of our minds and hearts.
      • We are not necessarily trying to "produce" the right desires from scratch. Rather, we must encourage and nurture the good and true desires that are present in our lives due to the presence of the Holy Spirit and the abiding of God's Word.

Men's Workout #31 - January 6, 2018

We opened our workout with a singing of "All People That On Earth Do Dwell" (hymn #18).
We recited James 2:1-4 as a group.
Discussion points:

  • The point of the passage is to not practice personal favoritism. What are some ways that we could be practicing personal favoritism against people in the church today?
    • Racial and cultural discrimination
      • Ethnic churches tend to rally around their culture. It can be a really good thing to leverage your culture to reach people. But to gear a church body around a particular ethnic culture can lead to a "passive" discrimination in the interest of preserving a sense of identity. This can go against a proper obedience to reach out to all souls for gospel obedience.
    • Age discrimination
      • Multigenerational churches are great for worshiping with saints of all ages and experiences. But if they are separated, an attitude can be fostered where each side can look across the way and develop discriminatory attitudes, whether intentional or not.
    • Clique forming
      • It is easy to spend time with people you're more comfortable with rather than reaching out to someone you don't know as well, especially when they are in times of need. Being "clique-ish" can be very subtle and you could not even realize you are practicing favoritism.
    • Maturing children
      • Children can mature, become baptized, become members, and become willing and active participants in gatherings, ministries, and activities. We should welcome this and not look down on anybody simply because of their assumed lack of maturity due to age.
    • Distinctions between people of different life stages
      • Singles, married people, parents
      • A church with many children must not lose focus on ministry needs for single people.
    • Special attention toward rich people
      • Be generous and inclusive of all people, rather than excluding people based on your knowledge of their financial situations.
      • Practice generosity and make personal sacrifices.
  • The church must not practice favoritism.
    • Our faith in the Lord precludes favoritism. Why? Because the Lord received all people to Himself and did not discriminate. We ought to emulate our Lord's example and heart.
    • We ought to practice love toward those in need.
    • We ought to practice love toward the elderly who need special help. 

James 2:5-9

  • "Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?" Where else in Scripture can we find a similar notion of the poor being blessed by God?
    • Luke 6
    • The rich man & Lazarus - Luke 16:19-31
    • 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
      • God's chosen the base and despised things of the world so that no one can sya that they have become acceptable to God by their own doing
    • The rich young ruler
      • How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God
      • Riches can be an obstacle to salvation
    • Scripture never teaches that one is saved by virtue of being poor. However, being in poor circumstances provides one with a greater situational opportunity to seek for help from God rather than in one's own provisions.
    • Barnabas sold his property in order to help those who were poor in the church
  • How do we reconcile being Christian and being wealthy? Is it impossible to be rich and also be saved?
    • Example of Job. Job was "filthy rich" but he cared for those less fortunate.
    • In this age, it is easy to learn about the needs for all of the less fortunate in the world, but it is practically impossible to help the entire world's needs
    • We can act in compassion and sacrifice to help those in need in our own communities, rather than staying within our own comfortable bubbles. We ought to use our positions, provisions, and blessings to reach out to our communities and serve their needs. This can provide a platform for the work of the gospel. We ought to actively seek these opportunities out.
  • We need to love others as ourselves because God has loved us first. "Put yourself in their shoes" and treat them the way you would want them to treat you.
    • If you love your neighbor as yourself, then you will not show favoritism.
      • James put its clearly in v9 and says that if you show partiality, you are sinning. Why? Because if you show partiality, you are not loving your neighbor as yourself.

As a group, we developed some propositions from Colossians 1:21-29.

  • The gospel of Christ reconciles us to God.
  • God's will for every Christian is to be holy, blameless, and beyond reproach.
    • This comes about through the ministry of God's Word.
    • We must deal with every sin and every shortcoming in our lives, remembering that our sins are why Christ came to die on the cross.
  • All Christians should be striving to become complete in Christ - no one is under any exception.
    • The strive for holiness begins with repentance.
    • Holiness is expected of all believers.
    • No man can ever be sinless
      • 1 John 1:8 - "if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."
    • Sin is inevitable and no man can ever truly be sinless in this life, but this is not an excuse to practice sin or be lazy about repentance. On the contrary, God's Word exposes our sins and reveals our shortcomings to us in order to compel us to live in greater holiness for God's glory.

Question: Is it heretical for Paul to say that Christ's afflictions were lacking (verse 24)?

  • No. Paul does not mean to say that Christ's afflictions are inadequate. Rather, Paul is stating that he is suffering for the church in a way that Christ did not literally suffer. Paul carries on the work of preaching the gospel at great personal cost and suffering for the sake of the church.