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An Epistle of Christ

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Radio transcript for the week of January 31, 2016

Harold Bigham preaches on "An Epistle of Christ" on Seeking the Lost - International Radio.

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Lesson Text:
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 - "Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the hear."

Lesson
Influence is defined thusly; "the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others". When Jesus talked about influence He used many metaphors in describing the influence that we are to have. For example, Matthew 5:13 states, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." Jesus used the metaphor of salt. Jesus also used the metaphor of light. Matthew 5:14-16 says, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Paul used another metaphor in describing our influence. He used the metaphor "the epistle of Christ; 2 Corinthians 3:2-3"

As an epistle of Christ, we have undergone a change in our lives.
This change is called conversion. We have been converted to Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 18:3, "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Acts 3:19 says, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." This conversion or change in our lives is produced by the word of God. God's word is the source of our conversion. It is the source of our change in our lives. Psalms 19:7 states, "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple." Romans 1:16 states, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." The result of this conversion or change in our life is a new life; 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." In Christ we can be a new creature or a new creation. We have a new life. Old things are passed away and all things are become new; Galatians 6:15 - "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." Galatians 3:26-27 - "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."

As an epistle of Christ we show our influence onto others.
2 Corinthians 8:9 - "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." Jesus Christ was rich in heaven. He left Heaven and came to earth for our sakes. He became poor so that you and I through his poverty might be rich spiritually. Matthew 20:28 - "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." The Scripture states that no man should seek his own but every man another's wealth. "Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth" (1 Corinthians 10:24). We are to seek for the betterment of other people. We then that are strong in Christ are to bear the infirmities of the weak in Christ and not to please ourselves; Romans 15:1 - "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves."

As an epistle of Christ we convey the expression of Christ unto the world.
We are to have the mind of Christ. Philippians 2:5-8 states, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

Galatians 2:20 - "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." We are to magnify Christ in our lives; "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death" (Philippians 1:20).

Our lives are to be transformed into the very image of Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:18 states "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." John 14:9 states, "Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?" . Jesus says to have seen Christ was to have seen the Father. In other words that Christ was doing the will of the Father and as an epistle of Christ we do the will of Christ. Can people see Christ in us? By the way that I talk? By the way that I dress? By the way that I do things? By my attitude? By where I go? Can others see Christ in my life? What impression of Christ do others get by reading my life?

As an epistle of Christ we bear the signature of Christ.
We wear His name. The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. Acts 11:26 - "And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." James 2:7 - "Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?"

As epistles of Christ we wear the name of Christ. We are to live in such a way as to never bring reproach upon this name. We are to reflect the true meaning of the name of Christ.

Have you obeyed the Gospel of Christ?
The Bible states that we can obey the gospel and be added to the Lord's body by the Lord himself. Hear the gospel (Romans 10:17) ; Have faith (Mark 16:16); Repent of your sins (Luke 13:3,5); Confess the dear name of Christ (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized to wash away your sins (Acts 2:38). We then meet the grace of Almighty God (Ephesians 2:8). Be faithful even until you die for the Lord (Revelation 2:10) so that Heaven can be your eternal reward.

Thank you my friend for studying the Bible with us today and may God bless you as you continue to read and study the Bible.

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