Being of the Same Mind

March 8, 2022

One important concept that we often see in the scriptures is that we should be of the same mind.  Paul tells the church at Philippi to, “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind…” (Philippians 2:2, NASB) What does it mean to be of the same mind?  Does it mean that we should all have the same opinions about every topic?  Does it mean that no one should be allowed to have a thought that differs from the majority? 

Let us look at some other instances where the phrase is used and try to determine the meaning.  Paul writes in Romans chapter 12, “Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly.” (Romans 12:16, NASB) Here we see that being of the same mind means not thinking too highly of yourself. It means associating with those who may be of low position.  In the church, the rich and poor, the formally educated and those who are not, the spiritually mature and immature are all one in Christ, and therefore we should have the same mind toward one another!

In Romans chapter 15 we read, “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another…so that…you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us…” (Romans 15:5-7, NASB) Here we see that being of one mind is about accepting one another.  What does he mean by that?  This verse follows closely after Paul’s discussion in Romans chapter 14 about not passing judgement on the opinions of a brother or sister (we are speaking here of opinions, not of clear commands of the Lord).  We need to accept one another in Christ, even if we have different convictions about matters of opinion.  Being of the same mind is not about being in lockstep on every matter of opinion, but rather it is about accepting one another—despite our differences of opinion—because Christ has accepted us!  In fact, to demand complete uniformity on every matter of opinion in the church will destroy same-mindedness.

We need to strive to be of the same mind in the church, which means that we need to have the same care and concern for all.  We need to accept one another in Christ—no matter anyone’s so-called social status.  We need to live in harmony with one another in Christ—even if we have drawn different conclusions about various matters of opinion.  In so doing, we will be able to glorify our Father with one voice, as He desires.

—Scott Colvin

Spiritual Gifts and a Christ-centered Perspective

March 1, 2022

What a wonderful thought it is that Christ, through the Spirit has given each member of the church a spiritual gift.  I hope that you are excited about using your gift for the common good of the church.  I hope you are excited about where the Lord will take us as His body as we exercise His gifts.  I hope you are excited about the spiritual growth that God will cause among us as we faithfully use the gifts He has graciously given.

It is good for us to be aware of the spiritual gifts God has given to the church and it is good to be excited about using those gifts.  But in all of this, we must also make sure that we keep the proper focus and perspective.  Spiritual gifts and the exercise of those gifts should never be about us.  It is important to remember that fact.  To think, “Look at us!”, “Look at what we are accomplishing through the Spirit!”, or “Look at the marvelous thing God is accomplishing through us!” is to have the wrong focus; a dangerous focus. 

Our focus should not be on ourselves as we exercise our gifts, but on Christ.  The Spirit of God’s focus is always on Christ!  As Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “He will glorify Me…” (John 16:14a, NASB).  The Spirit’s role and desire is to glorify the Lord Jesus.  That should be our goal and desire, too!  As we use our gifts, we should never point to ourselves, but always to Christ. 

Our focus should not be on ourselves as we exercise our gifts, but on serving and building up others in love.  As Paul writes, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:7, NASB).  Paul also says, “So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:12, NASB).  Our gifts are never to be used for self-promotion (this was a major problem in the Corinthian church).  Rather, they are to be selflessly used for the good of the whole, and to build up (edify) one another.              

May each one of us zealously use the gifts God has given us through His Spirit, and let us be careful to keep a humble, service-minded, Christ-glorifying focus as we do. 

—Scott Colvin

Gracious Gifts from Heaven

February 22, 2022

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever, Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11, NASB)

Are you aware that if you are in Christ—and therefore part of His church—you have been graced with a gift from heaven?  Notice in the above passage that there is no question about this truth.  “As each one has received a special gift…” Each member of the Lord’s church has received a spiritual gift from Christ, including you!  This is not something you have earned; it is a gift!

What are we to do with the gifts Christ has given us?  First, notice that Peter says we are to use them in serving one another.  They are to be used to help and build up the body of Christ.  Second, notice that God expects us to be good stewards of His gracious gifts.  That means that we need to be using whatever gift He has blessed us with!  To bury our gift in the sand is to be a poor steward of His grace.  Finally, note that we are to use our gifts to glorify God.  Our gifts are not to be used in a self-glorifying or self-promoting way.  We are never to boast in our gifts or to think of ourselves as superior in any way.  Whatever talents or abilities we have were freely bestowed upon us by the Lord, and it is all because of His grace!  Our gifts have nothing to do with our own goodness, power, skill, or any such thing.

Have you given any thought about what spiritual gift the Lord has given you?    There are many examples of spiritual gifts that we can find in scripture.  In the above passage, we see that speaking and serving are gifts from God.  In other passages we see that wisdom, knowledge, faith, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, and showing mercy are examples of spiritual gifts (see Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:7-10). 

What is your gift from God?  In what ways are you using it?  As each of us use our gift to serve others for His glory, God will bless us, fill us, and cause the church to grow.  May each of us take part in the work God is trying to accomplish in us!

—Scott Colvin

Be Holy in All Your Behavior

February 9, 2022

Striving for a life of holiness is of utmost importance for us as the children of God.  God did not send His Son to save us from the power of sin so that we could just go back to living how we always lived.  The holiness of God demands that we live holy lives. 

The Spirit, through Peter, makes this very clear to us.  “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am Holy.’” (1 Peter 1:14-16, NASB).  God wants us to be obedient children by no longer being conformed to our former lusts.  To be conformed is to be shaped and molded by something.  We need to stop being shaped and molded by the sinful desires that used to drive us.  We need to stop being conformed to the shape of this world.  Now that we are in Christ, God is calling us to be holy in all our behavior.  God is holy, and He expects us to be holy.

What does it mean for us to be holy?  It means to be set apart to God.  It means to be set apart from the world around us.  It means to be set apart from our former sinful pursuits.  Simply put, it means that we are supposed to be different now!  Because of the gift of Jesus—His death and resurrection—we are not supposed to think, speak, or act in the same way anymore. Let me ask you, is your life in Christ appreciably different from your former life?  Can people detect that you are different from the world around you?    

Holy living is a very serious thing to our Holy Father.  He gave His all so that we could be holy in His sight.  Now that He has made us holy, let us pursue holiness realizing that we were redeemed from our former life at countless cost, “with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (1 Peter 1:19, NASB)    

—Scott Colvin

Glimpses of Heaven

February 4, 2022

The Book of Revelation is difficult reading. Yet, Revelation is also rewarding. Five major and contradictory approaches to Revelation can be found in the religious world. Such facts can boggle the mind, yet I think there are some simple guidelines for reading the book. Read Revelation for what it says about itself, rather than what others say about it. Read Revelation in light of the rest of scripture. Scripture is its own best interpreter. If all we get from Revelation is that Satan will be defeated and God wins, then we’ve understood the major lesson. Passages may puzzle us, but some things are crystal clear. Among the clear things is the fact that John gives us glimpses into heaven.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:9-17, ESV

Heaven is assured by the teaching and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Revelation, John gives evidence for heaven and glimpses of our future hope.

Heaven answers a deep longing. With C.S. Lewis we too cry, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”* Christ conquered death, and so will the Christian. Paradise lost in the garden will be paradise regained in heaven.

Heaven gives purpose. The person who most fully believes in heaven will also be the one who most faithfully lives for the Lord in daily life.

— Russ Holden

*C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 120

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

The Prosperous Soul

December 31, 2021

“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2, NASB) This was John’s prayer for Gaius, his faithful brother in the Lord, and this is my prayer for each of you in the new year—that you will prosper in all respects.

I pray that God will grant each of you success in school and in your careers.  I pray that you will find contentment in life, and satisfaction in your work.  I hope that business will be good, and that you will use whatever financial blessings God may choose to bless you with for His kingdom and His glory. 

I pray that God will bless you with good health.  What trying times we have been through for nearly two years now.  Times like these really make us appreciate good health, don’t they?  May God bless each of you with good health, and may we use the blessing of good health for the sake of Christ.  Let us use whatever physical strength and vitality God may grant us to be busy about His work and to serve one another.

Most of all, I pray that your soul will prosper in the new year.  This is of utmost importance.  What good is it to have physical blessings and good health if we neglect the condition of our soul?  As Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26a, NASB) A prosperous soul is a blessing of the highest order.  When our soul prospers, we will find unspeakable joy, peace that surpasses comprehension, and renewed hope.  When our soul prospers, we will find satisfaction, and contentment.  When our soul prospers, we will truly be living the good life. But when we neglect the condition of our soul, we will find trouble, sorrow, and confusion in life.  I plead with you; do the things which will cause your soul to prosper in the year ahead.

Let’s make 2022 a year in which each of us grow spiritually like never before.  I pray it will be a year in which each of us are granted deeper spiritual understanding.  I pray it will be a year in which each of us will find the deepest joy and satisfaction in a closer walk with God.  May your soul prosper in the new year!

— Scott Colvin