Tuesday after the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Colossians 3:18—4:18 (NKJV)
3:18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. 20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
4:1 Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. 2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
7 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. 8 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, 9 with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.
10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me.
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis.
14 Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you. 15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house.
16 Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”
18 This salutation by my own hand—Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.
A dear member, who continues to struggle with church attendance, informed me that he had begun to attend the Pentecostal church in town. Furthermore, he had quit chewing tobacco. To him, it would seem that the Lutheran faith had been powerless to break the habit of tobacco addiction and now he had found victory in his Christian walk.
I am well aware that the evil axis of tobacco, alcohol, and dancing are the “sins” that are hit hard and frequently from Pentecostal pulpits. Despite his excitement, I knew that my member had been down this road many times before. These changes in behavior had the “appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ did not leave Heaven and take on human flesh to defeat the abuse of substance, which perishes with use, but to disarm “principalities and powers.” Jesus Christ defeated the transgressions of sin, the curse of death which sin earned, and the power of the devil. The real victory comes in putting sin to death in confession and putting on forgiveness through faith in the Gospel message.
St. Paul exhorts the Colossians to live a truly righteous life in the vocation of wife or husband, child or father, servant or master. Christians are to continue earnestly in prayer, walk in the wisdom of the Word, and speak gracefully to each other. As Christ forgave us, we forgive others, putting on love.
Give us, O Lord, Your peace that it might rule our hearts in love. Amen.