Suffering with Christ

January 28, 2022

Are you prepared to share in the sufferings of Christ? Brethren, I think we need to get ourselves prepared. Think about the direction the world is going regarding the things of God. The world is growing ever more hostile to truth. Many in the world believe that speaking about God and Christ is offensive. Speaking the truth in love about sin and the coming judgement is considered a definite faux pas, if not outright “hate speech.” Christians who support the traditional, biblical view of morality, the family, gender, sexuality, and the like are often branded as hateful bigots. 

Let me ask you a question: Do you think things are going to get better or worse in the coming years? 

We need to prepare ourselves to suffer with Christ. We need to prepare our children and grandchildren to be ready to suffer with Christ. One of the keys to being prepared is to learn to rejoice when we suffer for Christ’s sake. Peter writes, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you … But if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” (1 Peter 4:12-14, 16, NASB) Suffering for Christ is cause for rejoicing! If people look down on you for your faith, don’t be ashamed. Keep on rejoicing! When people say nasty things about you because you’re trying to hold to the truth of God’s word, don’t hang your head. Keep on rejoicing! When we suffer with Christ, don’t feel alone in your struggle. You are not alone because the Spirit of God is resting on you! Suffering with Christ is not a time to be downcast. It is a time to lift up your voice and glorify God. 

We need to dwell on these things. We need to be preparing ourselves and our families for the suffering that will come to those who are striving to live godly lives. And when suffering comes, let us rejoice and give glory to God. 

—Scott Colvin 

The Impact of Prayer

January 25, 2022

Do you realize the profound impact for good that you can have on your brothers and sisters in Christ?  Do you realize the profound impact you can have upon the life and health of the church as a whole?  Do you realize that there is something you can be doing that will directly affect the ability of your brethren to stand firm in their battle against the evil one?  Do you know there is something you can do to help others to grow in love, spiritual wisdom, and strength?  How is it that we can have such a profound impact?  By praying spiritually-minded prayers!

We desperately need to be praying for one another.  God works powerfully through prayer!  Prayer changes things!  The apostle Paul knew this.  Paul was constantly in prayer for the churches.  Even though he was a man who was extremely busy, always traveling, and always preaching and teaching, he was a man who took the time to pray fervently for the church.  Why is that?  Because Paul knew what impact prayer could have.  For Paul, prayer wasn’t just some empty exercise in spiritual discipline—he knew it made a difference in the lives of people!

There are many prayers of Paul recorded in the New Testament, but let us look at one example to see the kind of things Paul prayed for.  In Ephesians chapter 1 he prays, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:17-19, NASB) What a beautiful, powerful prayer!  These are the kinds of things that are according to the will of the Lord.  These are the kinds of things that the Father is pleased to give.  These are the kinds of things that we need to be asking for one another.

Let us continue to ask God for the physical blessings and physical healing that we all need.  This is good and right.  But may we all, with renewed fervency and urgency, come before our Father to ask for spiritual blessings for our brethren.  There is nothing greater that we can be doing for each other.  Will you bow your head and ask God to impact those around you?

—Scott Colvin

Walking in Love: A Matter of Life and Death

January 21, 2022

“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.” (1 John 3:14 NASB) There is a test that will tell us if we truly share in the life of God. The test is this: do you love the brethren? If you are practicing the love of God, then you can know that you are no longer walking in death but have passed into the life of God. On the other hand, if you are not practicing love, then the word of God is very clear: You are abiding in death. Practicing love is a matter of spiritual life and death.

This truth is made even more plain in 1 John chapter 4. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8 NASB) Only those who walk in love really know God. Many will claim to know the Lord, but the stark reality is this; if we don’t love each other, then no matter what we say or feel, the truth is we don’t know Him. It is not possible to continue in unloving attitudes and actions and also be in a relationship with God, because God is love!

So, if love is this important to God, let us walk in it! Here’s how: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 4:31-5:2 NASB)

Brethren, let’s not deceive ourselves. If we are not practicing these things, then we don’t know God. We are abiding in death. It’s that serious. Are you walking in love?

The Church, the Fullness of Christ

January 17, 2022

When we look at the church of Jesus merely through human eyes, it is easy for us to misunderstand its true nature. When looking at things from a human perspective, we see imperfect people like you and me who, at times, struggle with sin, spiritual weakness, doubts, fears, anxieties, and lack of faith. In all of this it is easy for us to miss what the church of our Lord really is. The fact is, God has made His people— His church—to be something glorious.

How does God see His church? Listen to these words: “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22-23, NASB) The church is the body of Jesus. Jesus is its head. The church is the fullness of Christ and is being filled by Christ. Not only that, but those who are members of the church are God’s family and God’s temple. God Himself dwells in the members of the church, both individually and collectively. As Paul writes, “…But you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22, NASB). The church of God is glorious! It is glorious, not because of the nature of the members themselves, but because God has united His church to Himself and to Jesus Christ in a profound and special way.

How do you view the church? We are precious to God. He gave the life of His son to purchase us. He dwells in us. He is at work in us. Given these stunning realities, I encourage you to make sure that the church is precious to you, too. Make every effort to make the church precious to your family. I encourage you to give of your time and energy to encourage and build up the members of the church here at Grandville. I encourage you to be an active part of what the Lord is doing among us. May each of us begin to more clearly see the church, not as man sees it, but as God sees it!

— Scott Colvin