The cultural responsibilities of man have been dictated by God.
In Genesis 1, God blessed mankind and gave commandments concerning His creation.
“Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
Mankind was given the garden “to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2).
Man was given the responsibility of dressing and keeping the garden in which he was placed. The same word dress is also found in Deuteronomy 28:39.
“Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them.”
Dress has to do with tilling or preparing the earth to be fruitful. Mankind was given the responsibility to care for the earth in which he was placed.
After man sinned, his responsibility to till the earth was suddenly met with the corruption of sin that confronted him daily.
“Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat bread, till thou return unto the ground” (Genesis 3:18).
“Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken” (Genesis 3:23).
Man’s responsibility of tilling the earth remained. He still faced the responsibility of making the earth fruitful even though he would be confronted with the thorns and thistles that the earth brought forth.
Dress also has to do with service. The ground that the man was to dressbelongs to God. As a steward of God’s property, mankind is to “[b]e fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion.”
Man was given a “helpmeet” to help him fulfill his responsibility.
In order for man (Adam) to be fruitful and multiply, God gave him a helpmeet, a woman.
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
Thus marriage and the fruitfulness thereof was instituted by God. Soon after this first marriage, however, man rebelled against God’s authority and thus began the conflict that continues unto this day.
Man within himself continues to struggle against the forces of darkness that wish to lead him in rebellion against God’s authority and in rebellion against the responsibility that God has placed upon mankind.
Man in his natural state wishes to be his own authority. He does not wish to submit to the governing ruler of this universe.
God set the rules for man’s stewardship.
However, as Creator, God has the power and authority to dictate the rules concerning the universe and all that dwell therein.
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).
God set in motion the rules of nature and mankind’s stewardship of the same at the moment of creation.
“[W]hatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
As man continued in his rebellion against God, the sowing brought forth fruit that led to destruction by a great flood. Only Noah and his family remained to once again “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.”
As the great conflict continued, God Himself came in flesh to this earth to break the stronghold of sin that held men captive.
“And, having made peace through the blood of [Jesus’] cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.
In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Colossians 1:20-22).
Man’s obedience brings prosperity.
As man submits to God’s authority, accepts His redemptive plan for his life, and follows in obedience to God’s commands, mankind will prosper in his stewardship of that which God has given him.
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season” (Psalm 1:3).
Mankind’s obedience dictates the culture.
Man’s submission to God or lack thereof is the basis for the culture in which he lives.
The culture in which man disobeys God’s authority is filled with “fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5).
This culture is in stark contrast to the one in which man obeys God’s directives. The culture that submits to God’s authority lacks anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, cursing, swearing, and racism. (See Colossians 3:8, 11.)
It is filled with mercy, kindness, humility, self-control, longsuffering, forgiveness, and love toward others. (See Colossians 3:12-14.)
In other words, the culture that dressesand serves the Lord is a culture that is filled with righteousness and peace and is exalted by God.
However, the culture that rebels and turns from following God is one that is filled with chaos and reproach.
As mankind submits or rejects God’s authority, he is in effect setting the standards for the culture.
Will those standards be built upon the unchanging “rock” of God’s Word, or will they be set on the “shifting sands” of man’s opinions?
What will be the basis upon which law and order is established?
How will man determine what is truth and justice?
What provision will be made for the “orphan and the widows” of society?
Man’s obedience will be judged.
The outcome of these two differing cultures is fully explained in Deuteronomy 28. It is a must-read for those who wish to understand why societies rise and fall.
However a man decides to follow or reject the responsibility that God has placed upon him, he will be called into question at the Day of Judgment.
How has man stewarded the gifts that God has given him?
Has he sown those gifts in God’s fields and brought forth a harvest for the Lord?
Or has he hidden those gifts in the earth and remained idle with no harvest?
“And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you, And they went their way.
And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?” (Matthew 20:3-4,6)
Man’s obedience will better society or bring its downfall.
Culture is developed by what mankind sows into it. That culture affects all mankind for his betterment or for his curse.
Every man must accept his own responsibility in the course of that culture. After all, that culture is what he and others around him have sown into it.
Can you have the peace of God and not have peace with God?
Peace: a settled mind, an untroubled heart toward another, not being anxious in the presence of another, safety, feeling secure, to be at one
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your minds by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister. Colossians 1:19-23
Peace of God
God the Father sent Jesus Christ His Son in the flesh to die on an old rugged cross so that you and I might be reconciled to Him. That reconciliation is possible only because of Christ’s death at Calvary. When we received His gift of reconciliation, we were given the peace of God.
Peace with God
But to maintain peace with God after salvation, we must continue in the faith grounded and settled. We have been given the peace of God, but we must remain in a right relationship with God to have peace with Him.
When a man and woman join themselves in holy matrimony (a covenantal relationship), they are given the blessing of the law in that they are married and are considered as one. They have the peace of that legal relationship as they build a house, make purchases, and enter into business contracts, etc.
However, just because they are married does not mean that they will always be at peace with one another. They must maintain the relationship.
They must work at keeping a right relationship with each other. They must walk together, talk together, dream together, and share in each other’s wishes and desires.
When one spouse grows cold in the relationship, it unsettles the other. Insecure feelings creep into the relationship. Hearts become troubled. They are still married, but they are not at peace.
However, when the two renew the relationship with each other, peace ensues. Insecurity leaves and their hearts are at peace.
It is the same in our relationship with God, our hearts grow cold at times. We move away from our relationship with Him. Our hearts soon become insecure and weary.
God woos us back into a right relationship with Him.
When we allow Him to draw ourselves back to Him, our relationship is renewed. We are at peace once again with Him.
Our conscience does not bother us when we feel His presence. We enjoy hearing His voice. We long to feel Him tug at our hearts. We have communion with Him daily. That is when we have peace with God.
Is your heart troubled?
Do you have the peace of God in a covenantal relationship (salvation)? If He came for you today, would you be ready to go with Him to heaven?
Do you have peace with God?
Is it okay if He interrupts your day with His presence?
Does the preaching of the Word of God bother you about any area in your life?
Is there anything that is hindering your relationship with Him? Confess those areas to Him and allow Him to cleanse you and to renew your fellowship with Him.
Yes, you can have the peace of God and not have peace with God.
But wouldn’t you rather have the peace of Godand enjoy peace with God?
Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If not, you can experience the peace of God when you call upon His name and receive Him into your heart.
Seek Him while He may be found.
Call upon Him while He is near.
Receive Him and be forgiven of all your sin.
Enjoy your relationship with Him.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.
True liberty cannot be enjoyed by a people who do not recognize the sovereignty of Almighty God.
It is God and God alone who has absolute authority over the affairs of men.
The Institutions of Home, Church, and Government
It is God who rules in the Heavens and the Earth, who has created the Laws of Nature, and who has instituted the home, Church, and government as societal institutions under His authority.
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” Colossians 1:16
To protect these institutions, God gave laws governing the conduct of each.
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
“And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.” Genesis 9:7
Mankind was to exercise dominion over the earth.
The responsibility of the institution of family is one of reproduction. The display of government in the home is also a reflection of God and His glory.
The rejection of God’s laws concerning the home is a rejection of not only God’s sovereignty but a rejection of God Himself.
“And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10:5-6, 8-9
The Church (local body of Christ) as instituted by God has also been given an important role in society.
Under God’s direction, the Church is to provide moral and spiritual guidance.
It is also to give instruction and provision for worship and fellowship.
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18
In rejecting God’ssovereignty over the church, man is declaring himself to be sovereign.
The deception of a man’s heart will lead him to follow vain philosophies and traditions.
His unrealistic view of life will cause him to blame his environment, government, or other factors as the cause for the complications and consequences of his uncontrolled desires. He will not see himself as a sinner in need of a Saviour.
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Romans 13:1-2
Not only did God institute the home and the Church, He also instituted civil government.
“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Romans 13:4
Civil governments were instituted by God to restrain evil.
The law is a schoolmaster to show us clearly our sinful natures. That law is based on God’s natural laws and the laws or principles as given in His Word, the Scriptures.
God’s laws do not change according to man’s desires. They remain the same.
When man rejects God’s sovereignty in this area, he will create his own laws. Those laws will change as his desires change. He, therefore, will lose respect for present law and for those whose duty it is to implement that law.
Refusing to adhere to God’s laws, society will continue in a downward spiral. The continued lack of respect for godly authority will give way to ungodly authority and that society’s eventual downfall.
“But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” Colossians 3:25
True liberty comes as we subject ourselves to the commandments of God concerning the three areas He has instituted for society.
As families follow God’s principles for the home, families will be blessed. Wives and children will be protected.
As local churches follow God’s instructions for evangelism, worship, fellowship, and guidance, families and communities will grow stronger.
As civil governments and civil servants follow God’s mandate for the implementation and obedience to God’s unchanging standard concerning good and evil, society will be safer.
“He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.” Proverbs 21:21
“And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Colossians 1:17
True liberty can be experienced by all men as they submit themselves to God’s sovereignty and divine will.
For further study in Colossians, a great resource is So, What's the Latest News: Messages from a Prisoner in Rome. This title is available from WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan.
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After hearing of the establishment of the church at Colosse, Paul’s response, as recorded in The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians, was not to immediately begin making preparations for a series of sermons to be delivered; but rather his focus was on the spiritual needs of the body of Christ in order to further stabilize them and increase their knowledge and discernment of the things of God.
Paul’s First Response
Paul’s first response was to get a “word” from God.
In Colossians 1, we see that the “word” Paul received began with a message of grace and peace. His response in seeking God continued as he did not cease to pray.
Paul’s prayers revealed his desire for the Colossians — that they might be filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; and [t]hat [they] might walk worthy of the Lord.
Paul obviously saw his main duty toward men as instructional.
He followed Christ’s example in that Christ set about training and developing disciples who would then take the gospel message to the world.
Paul was seeking to build saintly men who would further seek to train saintly men who would continue the pattern.
Paul’s letter to the Colossians is filled with instruction born not from Paul’s mind but from the mind of God. It was Paul’s prayer life that brought forth God’s Word that was revealed to the saints at Colosse.
Man of Prayer
The preacher is first and foremost called to be a man of prayer.
The preacher’s communication with God brings forth the “word” from God that is needful for his congregation for it is God and God alone who knows what is in the heart of men and what message is needed to facilitate change desired by God. The preacher relies on God as the only One that can give the wisdom and discernment needed to deliver that message.
Revealed By Prayer
When the preacher mounts the pulpit, his message conveys whether or not he has been in communication with God. In other words, a strong prayer life reveals the true preacher.
Revealed By His Message
The message given from the pulpit must be doctrinally accurate. Much time must be given to study God’s Word so that truth will be conveyed both by the preacher’s manner of life and manner of speech.
Paul’s example as a great man of prayer and as a man of the Word is the example of the “preacher” that is desperately needed today.
Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
There are several tools that we may use to help us study the Bible; however, they are no replacement for the Bible itself.
One can study the Bible alone and with the aid of the Holy Spirit be successful in attaining knowledge and wisdom. Never underestimate the power of the Written Word.
Sometimes it helps to add some tools to help us get a job done faster. Those tools assist us as we work toward the goal of repair or correction or as we build on a new foundation or continue a construction project. Every mechanic needs a good screwdriver and every plumber needs a good pipe wrench.
One tool that will greatly assist the Bible student is a concordance. A good study Bible will contain one in the back of the book. It will list a variety of words in alphabetical order and give references where those words are found in Scripture. However, this type of concordance is limited due to space.
I personally use Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. There are many others but this is the one that I prefer.
It lists every word in the Bible and gives every reference where a particular word may be found. This is very helpful when you are trying to find a particular verse but can only remember a part of it or can’t remember the reference.
This particular concordance contains a Hebrew dictionary for the Old Testament and a Greek dictionary for the New Testament so that you can also find the meaning of any given word.
Another useful tool is a good Bible dictionary. Some are called Pictorial Bible Dictionaries.
These give definitions of words, character studies, information on Bible places, archeological findings, etc. The pictorial ones obviously include many pictures of places and things. Use discernment with these as they are not a replacement for the Scriptures.
Other tools that may assist us are Bible atlases, Bible maps, Bible handbooks, and commentaries.
A good map can help us understand where a story took place, learn about the terrain of an area, and the distance one had to travel between locations.
Commentaries can give us another person’s insight on a particular scripture passage.
The Best Tool Is the Bible Itself
Just remember that these tools are available to assist us in our study not to become a replacement for our study of the Bible itself. If there are any discrepancies, then we must not let these tools sway us from the truth of the Scriptures. Remember, God’s Word is truth and mankind is fallible.
May your knowledge of the Bible be increased and your skills in teaching others the Word be maximized as you put these tools in use in your daily Bible study time.
In chapter one of The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians, we see a godly example of prayer on the behalf of the body of Christ. This particular prayer grew out of a desire to see the Colossian brethren grow and mature in the faith.
As Paul and Timothy labored in prayer, their regard for the Colossians and their spiritual needs gave them purpose and direction.
Following the format of their prayer will aid us in praying for our beloved brethren.
Give thanks to God.
Verse 3 begins with thankfulness to God for what He has already done in the lives of the believers.
2. Daily intercession and supplication is a must.
In verses 9-12, we learn that Paul and Timothy ceased not to pray. They were committed to the task of prayer for the spiritual needs of others.
This was not a general prayer, but one with detailed petitions. We will discover what those petitions were as we do the exercise below.
4. Give thanks to God. In verse 12, these men began sharing their thankfulness to God and to their brethren for what God had and was presently doing in and through their lives.
1. What did Paul and Timothy desire for the Colossian brethren?
Paul and Timothy prayed and desired. Their desires became a list of specific requests.
List these requests given in verses 9-12 separately.
For example: a) that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding b) that you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing c) that you would be fruitful in every good work, etc.
2. Add your own requests to the list above.
You may sense other spiritual needs of the individual or group that you are praying for. Add these to your list.
3. Use your list to form the body of your prayer.
After listing the specific requests, use your list to create a prayer. You may be specific for individuals, a spouse, or for your church family as a whole.
Lord, help me to pray for my brother (or sister) in Christ. I pray that he would be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. Help him to walk worthy of You. May he be pleasing in Your sight. May he be fruitful in every good work that he tries to accomplish. Increase his knowledge of You. Strengthen him with all might according to Your glorious power unto patience and longsuffering. Give him a joyful attitude and countenance.
4. Give thanks. Use the rest of the chapter to help you with your list of thanks.
Paul and Timothy recorded a list of things for which they were thankful to God. That list begins in verse 12.
You may use the rest of the chapter to make your own list of things for which you are thankful.
5. Use your list of thanks to form the ending of your prayer.
Don’t forget to give God thanks for the work that He is doing in the lives of those for whom you are praying and for the work He is doing in your life also.
I hope this prayer exercise has helped you to formulate your own prayer. However, no prayer is answered until it is prayed. So keep your prayer handy and use it to help you as you grow in your prayer life.