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Posts Tagged ‘practical’

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After all of the detailed instructions were given about what was to be made for God’s house, God instructs Moses on who was to make these things.

The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand,10 and the finely worked garments,[a] the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, for their service as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. According to all that I have commanded you, they shall do.” ~Exodus 31:1-11

As In Exodus 28:3, here, in Exodus 31:1-11 God elaborates further upon who he had called to work for him with their hands.  These passages highlight the truth that God calls and equips people to work specific trades for his namesake in the assembly.

Specifically, Bezalel was called to head up this undertaking.  Bezalel was like the foreman over the craftsmen.  He was from the tribe of Judah.  Judah – the apple of God’s eye.  Apparently skilled craftsmen called to work as builders and mechanics were quite valuable and honorable in the kingdom work God was dealing out.  In fact, these men were just as valuable and honorable as the men called to any other type of ministry in the house of God.

We have to get this.  The church has strayed so far away from the truth regarding the great variety of God’s calling and giftings that we have begun to consider tradesmen and craftsmen as unspiritual or important in the building of God’s kingdom.  Even our culture considers those who work with their hands as inferior to those who work white collar intellectual jobs.  These ideas could not be further from the truth that scripture teaches us here in Exodus. Matthew Henry says this:

“Skill in common arts and employments is the gift of God…He teaches the husbandman discretion and the tradesman, too…God dispenses his gifts variously, one gift to one, another to another, and all for the good of the whole body, both of mankind and of the church.  Moses was the fittest of all to govern Israel, but Bezalel was fitter than he to build the tabernacle.  …the genius of some leads them to be serviceable one way, of others another way, and all these worketh that one and the same Spirit.”

Consider carefully this passage next time you are tempted to think tradesmen are not called, not Spirit led, not as important, and not as necessary as the priests and preachers in the building of God’s house and kingdom on earth.  Clearly, God fills certain men with the Spirit IN ORDER TO have, “…the ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood to work in every craft,” and he has given, “…all able men ability, that they may make…” all that he had commanded Moses concerning the building of his house.

Moses was the voice of God for the people.  The tradesmen were the hands of God for the people.  Moses was the fittest of all to govern Israel, but Bezalel was fitter than he to build the tabernacle.  God gives us each other that we all might work together for the building of his great and glorious kingdom.  We need one another.  We need variety and diversity within the body.  Can the foot say to the hand, “I don’t need you” ?  Surely not!  Stop ranking men according to their job titles.  Every job is valuable and infinitely important in the work of the kingdom and every job is Spirit led when the man or woman working it loves and follows the Lord.  AMEN.

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practical

In Colossians chapter 1 Paul emphasized the supremacy of Christ.  In chapter 2 he told the Colossians what not to do and whose example not to follow.  Chapter 3 is full of practical instructions on how to follow and serve Christ.  Let’s let the format of Colossians sink in, teachers and preachers.  There is great wisdom in leading the church this way – especially in a culture where everyone has their own opinion and instruction on what being a Christian looks like.  Here’s how Paul demonstrates:

1. Preach the gospel; magnify Christ

2. Debunk heresy, false teachers, and misinformation that is plaguing the church within your culture.  Be specific.

3.  Give practical, specific instructions for the persons you are ministering to.  I cannot stress this point enough.  Be practical. Be practical.  Be practical.  Do not stop teaching at #1.  Do not stop teaching at #2.  Be practical.

Since I have come to the second portion of Paul’s practical instruction, I have to stress the dire importance of not only these particular instructions, but equally importantly, these kind of instructions.  They are invaluable to those listening.

Today I will talk about why practical teaching is so important and tomorrow I will deal with the specifics of this text.

Many men have amazing theological minds.  They are well read and can answer almost any Bible question one might have.  They preach the gospel in its entirety and do so very systematically and extremely well.  They tell you who Christ is, what he did, and urge repentance.  They refute false ideas.  They tell you what Christianity is as well as what it is not.

Consider yourself unduly blessed if you can find a preacher or teacher like this in our culture of confusion and misinformation in the church today.  Still, if door #3 – specific, practical application – is left unopened by that good man or woman, the sheep are still left meandering for their own food on many occasions.  When we are told what to do but not how to do it, nine times out of ten we do not “get it.”  If I do not know how you apply the text in your life, I often do not know how to apply the text in my life.  Tell  me.  In so doing, you teach me.

 Sheep need stories, parables, personal accounts of when and how these truths were learned and understood by our teachers.  Otherwise, as my very practical, straight-shooting mechanic husband says, it feels a lot like someone is trying to tell us how to build a shelf.  We have step by step codified instructions, but we do not have a model.  There is no hammer in our hands.  No nails or screws with which to build.  All we have is a how to lecture and Mr. Vila and all his tools and example models have left the building.

Sheep need practical application.  Sheep need for instances.  Sheep need not only a picture of the finished framework of what the end result is supposed to look like, but also a picture of all the half built stages in between.  When we set out to put this thing called Christianity together, we need a lot of help – especially if there have been no close master builders in our lives.

Therefore, I cannot stress Paul’s example enough.  After preaching the gospel, what it is and what it is not, we must tell others how to apply it.  We must tell about when we fail.  We must tell about what overcoming has looked like in our own lives.  We must be specific and practical in preaching and teaching.

Colossians 3:17-25 is practical application of that which Paul has just painted with a broad brush.  He told his readers to set their minds on the things above and to forsake sin.  He told them to be compassionate, humble, forgiving, loving, and unified.  He said to do everything for Christ.

Now, he puts some practical flesh on the bones of his outline of spiritual disciplines.  Here’s what he says:

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters,not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Here are some real life situations, guys.  Here are the most common and important relationships you are all in.  Here’s how to act in those relationships.  Here’s how not to act.  Here’s why.

Wives, submit.  Husbands, love.  Children, obey.  Fathers, be patient.  Slaves, obey.  All of you, work hard, always.  Masters, be fair.  God will bless.  God will repay.  Trust him.

I will go further into what these instructions look like in our lives in my next article…practically.   I believe Paul did not go further because his words needed to be timeless.

That’s our job.  That’s our job.  That’s our job.

 It is the job of a good teacher to apply the Biblical text to their cultural situations and problems.  The reason we have so many knowledge infused non-action taking Christians is because we often fail to give practical instructions.  We go through the text and we stop.  We cannot afford to do that.  Christians need challenged in very specific ways.  We need very clear pictures of what a submitting wife and a loving husband looks like.  We need very clear pictures of what a rebellious wife and a loveless husband looks like.  We must use every means available.  Yes, we are the very pictures ourselves.  We are witnesses.  But we must also open our mouths and share our lives lest we live them in obscurity and fail to bring glory to Christ clenching tightly to our illegitimate right to privacy.

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In Ephesians chapter 4, Paul speaks of unity in the church.  He goes on to describe the differences between converted and unconverted Gentiles.  Christian Gentiles are to be different, he says.  They should no longer be following greedy desires, worshipping idols, coveting worldly possessions, or practicing impurity.  The problem is that all those around them are doing just that, and, it’s just what they had been doing before.  Doubtless these people were their long time friends, family, and close neighbors.  Living among those who do the very things they are tempted to do, converted Gentiles were instructed here for good reason.  They were not to live like these others or their former selves.  Paul tells them why it was so dangerous to do so.

-They were “darkened in their understanding.”  These men had no light.  Everything they thought, said, and did was wicked and deceitful.  They had no knowledge or desire for God.

-They were “alienated from the life of God.”  Not only did they not practice godliness, they estranged themselves from anything or anyone who did.  They stayed as far from God as they could.  This condition was a result of their willful ignorance about the things of God.

-Their ignorance, in turn, was a result of their hardness of heart.  These were those who had rejected all the truth and light God had given them.  As they continued to do so, they continued to give themselves over to sin, greed, and every kind of filthiness without shame.

But that is not the way you learned Christ! ~Ephesians 4:20

Paul is saying, “But not you!”  You do not live this way anymore.  This should not be true of you.  You Gentiles – you converted Gentiles – “learned Christ.”  Christ is your teacher.  You are no longer without knowledge or understanding.  You are no longer ignorant or hardened.  You are no longer deceived.  You are saved.  Act like it.  Heres’s how…

Paul tells them to “put off” their old self and “put on” the new one.  He describes this “new self” as being like God, truly righteous, and truly holy.  He gives six specific examples of changes that ought to be taking place in these (and all) believers.

-Stop lying.  Tell the truth to others always and  in all circumstances.

-Control your anger.  Let it not turn to wrath, bitterness, or revenge.

-Stop stealing and work honestly.

-Let your speech be always edifying and clean.  Put away gossip, slander, boasting, corruption, and filthy language.  Build up with your talk and do not tear down.

-Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.  If He convicts you of your sin, repent.  Do not continue in sin and dismiss your conscience like the heathens do.

-Get rid of all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice.  Instead, be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving.  This is how God has treated you.

Paul’s exhortations are clear.  We ought to be changed if we are his.  We ought to look 180 degrees different from those around us who are not his.  We ought to look completely opposite of how we did before we met Jesus.  We ought to look like Christ.  We are saved!  May God help us act like it.

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