Free in Christ, Be on Guard

25 05 2020

McKee Road Baptist – May 17, 2020 Wednesday Evening – Coronavirus Emailed

Colossians 2:18-23 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and
worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed
up by his fleshly mind. (19) And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints
and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the
increase of God. (20) Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the
world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (21) (Touch not;
taste not; handle not; (22) Which all are to perish with the using;) after the
commandments and doctrines of men? (23) Which things have indeed a shew of
wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to
the satisfying of the flesh.

Note: Some strange laws that can be found in several of our states and churches.
Arizona – It is illegal for donkeys to sleep in bathtubs.
Arkansas – It is illegal to mispronounce Arkansas.
California – It is illegal to bowl on the sidewalk.
Nevada – It is illegal to drive a camel on the highway.
Wyoming – You may not take a picture of a rabbit from January to April without an
official permit.
Alabama – It is illegal to wear a fake mustache that causes laughter in church.
Rehoboth, Delaware – It is illegal to whisper in church.
Boston, Massachusetts – It is illegal to eat peanuts while in church.
In some churches it is illegal to Bring glitter to church.

Members cannot have assigned pews. No one can bring a colored drink to church, especially red Kool-Aid. How is it that believers get so tied down in rules and regulations? Why is it that believers in Christ insist upon living by some set of man-made rules and regulations and then imposing those rules on other people? The non-Christian community does not care if someone is eating peanuts in church. Regulations make many people “feel spiritual.”

Legalism is always a threat to the church, Paul says to the Colossians, “Let no one man
therefore judge you” Colossians 2:16. We are to ignore their judgment. But remember,
the only way to truly ignore those who are condemning us is to know that they are
wrong. It is knowing the truth that sets us free from judgement.

Now Paul moves from legalism 16-17 to mysticism in verses 18-19 and then to
asceticism in verses 20-23.

Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and
worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed
up by his fleshly mind.

There were those in Colosse teaching a certain kind of mysticism. Mysticism may be
defined as the pursuit of a “deeper” or “higher” religious experience. That spiritual reality
is perceived apart from the human intellect and natural senses. It looks for truth
internally, weighing heavily on feelings.

Paul opens this section by saying, “Let no one man beguile you of your reward.”
Commenting on this verse, one man writes, “Paul says man-made rules and regulations
will disqualify you from the prize. The prize that Paul is referring to here is clearly
heaven. Paul is saying that human rules and regulations will disqualify you from heaven.
Following merely human rules and regulations will keep us out of heaven.” Paul is not
talking about losing your salvation.

The Greek words translated here as “beguile you of your reward” literally means: “to act
as a judge or umpire;” to decide against one, or to declare him unworthy of the prize.
The attitude of the false teachers would involve their sitting in judgment as to the future
reward of those who refused their doctrine. Paul speaks from the standpoint of their
claim. The false teacher judges as a referee that the Colossians were not worthy to
receive a prize. They disqualified, condemned and judged them as not worthy of a
reward.

Paul tells the Colossians, “Let no man beguile you of your reward.” So the idea is not
“Do not let them rob you of your prize or reward,” but “Do not let anyone tell you that
you are disqualified from obtaining the prize of spirituality because you haven’t reached
the level of self-humility, or understood the worship of angels, or haven’t had the right
visions.” The words, “Let no man” means: “not even one (man, woman or anything.)

We are not to allow even one person to sit as an umpire in our life telling us that we are
disqualified of spirituality, because we do not live up to their standard. How do we keep people from acting as an umpire in our lives? The same way we keep them from acting
as a judge. We know the truth, and we ignore their false judgement.
Paul now gives us several traits of these false teachers. He says they are,
“Voluntary humility”

We could render this “delighting in humility.” There is nothing in the word “humility” to
indicate that it is false. The context indicates that it is a false humility.

True humility is dependence upon God. Man lives in dependence upon God, and
understanding this is humility. Pride is self-sufficient. True humility focuses upon God
and his grace (provisions) to us. False humility draws attention to self. By the context
we see that the Paul was describing those that were not humble. They were not
dependent upon God but were quite proud.

This false humility was manifest in “and worship of the angels.” They viewed the worship of angels as a display of modesty or humility. It was a humility of their own making, not a humility commanded from God. These notions were purely the inventions of men and not from the Bible. Therefore, this whole thing was phony.

Religious pride makes man presume (suppose that something is the case on the basis
of probability) upon the Word of God. Their worship of the angels denied the truth that there is “…one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus:” 1 Timothy 2:5. When John tried to worship an angel, he was rebuked for doing so:

Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou
do it not: I am they fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus:
worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Angels are created beings:

Psalms 148:5 Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were
created.

This means no one should worship them. We do not worship created things; we only
worship the Creator Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:16 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.

The next thing Paul says about these false-teachers is that they are: “Intruding into those things which he hath not seen” The words “intruding” means primarily: “to step in, or on”. This is the only occurrence in the New Testament. It means: “to frequent, dwell in”. This word could mean: “to invade, to enter on.”

Like many heretics and cultists down through the ages, they claimed support for their
aberrant (departing from an accepted standard) teachings in visions they had
supposedly seen. Today this brand of mysticism is often seen in the charismatic
movement, where Scripture is a distant second in importance to visions and revelations.
There is no need for extrabiblical revelation through visions.

2 Peter 1:18-21 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with
him in the holy mount. (19) We have a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do
well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn,
and the day star arise in your hearts: (20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the
scripture is of any private interpretation. (21) For the prophecy came not in old time by
the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Believers, we don’t need visions – we have the Word of God. When someone comes along with a notion, however spiritual it may sound; a vision, however authentic it may seem, if it contradicts the plain teaching of the word of God, mark it down, they are incorrect. You have to always judge the experience by the word of God.

Paul says the false teacher is: “vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind” “puffed up” has the
idea of “a pair of bellows”. We see this same word used in: 1 Corinthians 8:1

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have
knowledge. Knowledge puffed up, but charity edifieth.

“By his fleshly mind” literally, by the mind of his flesh. They were the intellectuals, the
teachers that boasted they were guided by the higher reason. Paul describes their
higher reason as carnal.

Colossians 2:19 And not holding the Head, rom which all the body by joints and bands
having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

“And not holding the Head, this is the heart of the error! The headship of Christ is the
keynote of this Epistle to the Colossians and the heart of Paul’s Christology. Speaking
of Jesus Christ, he said:

Colossians 1:18 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.

Our relationship to Christ is a living union, He is the Head, we are members of the body.
A body functions through nourishment. Who can say to his stomach, “Start digesting!
Stop hurting!” That’s foolish! Yet people think the Christian life personally, and the
church collectively, can be made spiritual by fleshly regulations and disciplines.
Spirituality does not come through the law of man but by the law of God.

Spiritual growth comes from union with Christ. All errors of believers relate to this as
well. If the believer does not have a healthy relationship to the head, the life that flows
from the head will be sickly. Fruit depends upon a healthy fellowship with the head:

John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it
abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (5) I am the vine, ye are the
branches; He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for
without me ye can do nothing.

We, like the Colossians, must not be intimidated by those who would make something
other than knowing Christ through His Word a requirement for spiritual maturity.
“From which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit
together.” “knit” means: “to cause to join or knit together, to bring together, to unite, to
combine”. It means to bring a number of ideas together to come to a conclusion.
“Increase of God” means: “to supply fully, abundantly, to provide something besides
what already exists to make available whatever is necessary to help or supply the
needs of someone.

God is the benefactor here. He provides everything we need to live the Christian life. He defrays any expenses we may face to live before him: If you have been born again, you have all that you need. The reason why so many Believers are not living in victory is because they do not know what they have in Christ.

They do not step out by faith on their spiritual account because they really believe that
there is nothing there. They do not realize that God has made the deposit already, and
we’re overflowing with riches. You just need to learn to step out and walk in what you
have.

Now in verses 20-23 he deals with asceticism. An ascetic is one who lives a life of
rigorous self-denial. In addition to practicing legalism and mysticism, some of the
Colossians were attempting to gain righteousness through self-denial:

Colossians 2:20-21 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the
world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (21) Touch not:
taste not; handle not:

Asceticism is the twisting of a good principle. Asceticism focuses on self-denial. When
this self-denial is then elevated into a Christian virtue that becomes mandatory, this is
where you begin to have problems.

The good principle is that as Believers, we should be disciplined. If we are going to be
disciples, we need to be disciplined. And that’s the good principle. A disciple is a
disciplined follower of Christ. We need to focus on the basics, and there are a lot of
Believers who are not disciples, because they refuse to be disciplined. They refuse to
focus on the basics. They refuse to set up devotional time with God where they read
and study the Scriptures and pray. They refuse to minister. They refuse to order their
lives in a disciplined fashion to follow Christ.

But when you take it to the extreme and then put that extreme on everyone as the only
true path to holiness, you’re walking down a path that becomes oppressive. That’s what
Paul is saying here. You can force people to walk like you believe is correct.

After all we are all walking in lock-step showing unity. But if it does not deal with our heart, you can discipline yourself, you can fast. But if your heart can remain unchanged that does not make you a more-holy believer.

In fact, it can generate a sinful pride in you because of how disciplined you are. Discipline is good if it focuses on Christ and enables you to follow Christ. But taking it to the extreme doesn’t make you a more holy person, because it doesn’t deal with your heart. Only God can deal with your heart. We have been set free from all of these laws not so we can come back under them when we become Christians, but so we can pursue a living relationship with Christ.

“If ye be dead with Christ.” All the sins were poured out upon Christ. At the moment we believe, God finally and forever forgives our sins by Christ’s death, our position before God is perfect forever. The death Christ died he died to sin, Romans 6:10; you died with Christ; therefore, you died to sin as well. Sin has no more power over you than it has over Christ!!

Why on earth would you need the old regulations, especially the ones made up by men?When we look at the cross, we see Christ dying there. When God looks at the cross, He
sees both Christ and the believer dying there. God sees every person who would ever
believe dying there with Christ.

Colossians 2:21 “Touch not; taste not; handle not;” These “regulations” which Paul rejects, “touch not; taste not, handle not,” are often exactly what modern Christians think about when we think about the Christian life. We think that Christians are people who don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t watch “R” rated movies, don’t gamble, don’t swear, etc. Now I’m not advocating that you all get up and go do all these things, but Paul is saying, “That is not the point!”

Those things are external. You can avoid every single one of them, and still be a pagan
Paul tells us that we do not belong to the world anymore. We don’t get to heaven by
following a list of do’s and don’ts. And, we don’t live the Christian life that way either. We
cannot earn God’s favor. All we can do is receive it. Charles Spurgeon puts it this way:
“I have found, in my own spiritual life, that the more rules I lay down for myself, the more
sins I commit.”

Colossians 2:22 Which all are to perish with the using) after the commandments and
doctrines of men?

“Which all are to perish with the using,” literally, are for corruption; destined for
corruption, in the physical sense of decomposition.

Colossians 2:23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and
humility, and neglecting of the body; not in honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

“Shew of wisdom in will worship,” is simply a mode of worship which a man chooses for
himself, independently of the revelation which God has given. It is arbitrarily invented
worship, devised by man’s own will, not God’s. So jealous is God of self-made religion,
that He struck Nadab and Abihu dead for burning strange incense Leviticus 10:1-3.
Uzziah was stricken with leprosy for usurping the office of priest 2 Chronicles 26:16-21.
Compare the self-made worship of Saul 1 Samuel 13:8-14 for which he was doomed to
lose his throne.

Asceticism might make a person appear spiritual, because of its emphasis on humility
and poverty, but it serves only to gratify the flesh. It is a vain attempt to appear more
holy than others. Jesus warned His disciples against it:

Matthew 6:16-18 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad
countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto me to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (17) But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine
head, and wash thy face; (18) That thou appear not unto me to fast, but unto thy Father
which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

When we strive for “spiritual perfection” or “spiritual fullness” by means of formulas,
disciplines, or rituals, we go backward instead of forward. We must also beware of
“deeper life” teachers who offer a system for victory and fullness that bypasses devotion
to Jesus Christ. In all things, He must have the preeminence!

We need to come to understand, to believe, and to live by the principle that God loves
us perfectly. Nothing more is required on your part. Often, we think that we have to do
something so we can deserve this grace.

That is the point of grace. You will never deserve grace. There’s not a certain thing good enough for you to do. You can do it a thousand times and it’s still not good enough. You do not deserve grace. But God gives the grace anyway. There’s nothing you need to add. God cannot love you anymore than He already loves you.

Whenever that gets hold of you, it will change your whole perspective. Now you can relax. We live for Christ, not out of obligation, but because we delight in serving Jesus. When you operate out of a sense of obligation, it becomes a chore. When you operate out of a sense of delight in serving God, it becomes an offering of worship. And that is what your life is to be. That’s the good news.

So, believer, guard your freedom, don’t let anyone acts as your judge or an umpire on
your life. We are complete in Christ and we don’t need legalism, mysticism or asceticism
to make us more spiritual. We are already as righteous as Christ, because we share His
righteousness.

Pastor Don Thomason





Forgiven You All Trespasses

8 05 2020

McKee Road Baptist – May 6, 2020 Wednesday Evening – Pastor Don Thomason

Colossians 2:13-15 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your
flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14)
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us,
and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (15) And having spoiled principalities
and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Review

In 2:8 Paul warned the Colossians believers about the dangers of false teaching. He
tells them to, “Beware.” It is a command for a constant circumspect watchfulness,
because of the dangers of the Colossian heresy.

Now notice how he prepares them to be able to deal with the false teaching. He does
not say, “Here’s what they are teaching.” What he does is he tells them who Christ is,
and who they are in Christ.

Colossians 2:9-10 For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And
ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

We do not need to study error in order to avoid it, we simply need to know the
truth. If we know the truth, we’ll be able to spot error when we hear it.

He is saying that Jesus Christ is God in a bodily form. He is the God-Man. And believers
are complete in Him. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are in Christ. And
because you are in Christ, and because He is complete, you have been made
complete. Because Christ is who He is, we have been made complete in Him. His
fullness is imparted to us. As all the fullness of the eternal God is Christ’s, all the
fullness of Christ is yours and mine.

Paul then explains how this happened to them. In these next statements he tells how
believers share in the fullness of God in Christ. Paul declares, they were circumcised
& baptized with Him:

Colossians 2:11-12 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made
without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of
Christ: (12) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the
faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Paul says believers have been given a circumcision, not of the flesh by the hands of
men, but with the circumcision done by Christ. By this spiritual circumcision, the old
sinful nature (flesh) has been cut away or put off. He is speaking of our death to sin and
union with Christ. Your sinful nature has been killed, crucified with Christ on the cross.
You have been crucified with Christ and your old sinful nature has been washed away.

Paul does not mention “water baptism” in this verse! This verse has NOTHING to do
with water baptism, it speaks of identification. Water baptism is no more in view in 2:12
than physical circumcision was in 2:11. Both verses speak of spiritual realities. We must
not confuse rituals with realities.

Now to our text.

Forgiven You All Trespasses

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

Notice Paul says, “And you being, dead in your sins”. He says the same thing in:
Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with
Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

There are two questions that we need to answer here. How did the Colossians get
dead? And what does he mean by dead?

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

“Wherefore, as….” “as” is a comparison, but verse 12 does not complete the
comparison, there is no “even so.” Verse 12 gives us half of the comparison, Adam.
Verses 13-17 are set off by parentheses for clarification. Verses 18b and 19 complete
the comparison started in verse 12.

One man did one thing resulting in sin and death; the other man did something else,
resulting in justification and life. “As” the one act of Adam affected every member of the
human race, “even so” the one act of Jesus Christ affects every member of the new
covenant community.

Notice the Results of Adam’s sin, “sin entered into the world”. The Greek word for “sin”
is hamartia, it means: “to miss the mark.” The mark is what God commands of us to do
or not do.

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the
transgression of the law.

Sin is disobeying God. It is violating his Holy law. God is the Creator and law giver, and
any violation of his moral will is sin.

Adam introduced sin into the human realm. Sin is violating the commands of God.
When Adam sinned, “sin entered into the world.” Adam did not bring sin into the world
by setting a bad example. Adam’s sin brought about a change of unholiness within the
heart, which he passed on to his descendants. Men became sinners, as Paul said in:
Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the
obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

This corruption of man’s nature is what is called in theology “Original Sin.” It’s not that you sin, and that’s what makes you a sinner. You’re a sinner, you were born that way, and that is why you sin. Every human being born is born with original sin. Paul tell us that death came as a result of sin, “and death by sin.” As a result of Adam’s sin, he died.

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:
for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Adam did not die physically that day, but he did die spiritually. He died spiritually the
moment he disobeyed. Spiritual death is separation from God who is life. The text in
Genesis is dealing with “spiritual” death, so is the text in Romans 5, and so is our text in
Colossians 2:13.

The comparison in this passage is between Adam and Christ. What we lost in Adam is
restored in Jesus Christ. If the death referred to is physical, then having gained in Christ
what we lost in Adam, Christians should never die physically.

Because of Adam’s sin, we are all born dead, separated from God. But through Jesus
Christ we receive eternal life. We see this same comparison in:

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord.

The life that is a gift is spiritual life, so the death must also be spiritual.
The death referred to here and in our text in Colossians is spiritual death, which is
separation from God. If a man dies physically while in a state of spiritual death, he will
spend eternity in the lake of fire, which the Bible calls the “second death”.

Paul goes on in Romans 5:12 to say, “and so death passed upon all men.” Spiritual
death spread to all men. Every human being born is born separated from God, dead in
sin.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

All men are born spiritually dead, “for that all have sinned.” We are all born spiritually
dead. Why? Did we personally sin before we were born? No! We sinned in Adam. He
represented us, and what he did, we did.

Paul says all men were dead in sin, “and the uncircumcision of your flesh”. Our nature
was “uncircumcised,” that is, separated from God. This describes our state of being
before we came to know Christ. We were dead in our state to God. We were without
any spiritual life at all.

The Bible teaches that dead men cannot receive the things of God:

1 Corinthians 2:14-15 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God:
for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned. (15) But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is
judged of no man.

The word “natural” describes the person without the Spirit. Jude uses this same word in
verse 19. The “natural” or “sensual” person is the person without the Spirit. This is the
unregenerate man who has no ability to understand spiritual things. Natural man is dead
and totally unreceptive to the gospel.

The bottom line is this: our hope does not lie in our own will. If not for the grace of God
we would all suffer condemnation.

Paul continues in Colossians 2:13 to say, “And you, being dead in your sins and the
uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with Him…” The word
“quickened” means “to make alive” and “with”. Paul again emphasizes the believer’s
union with Christ (see 2:10, “in Him”; 2:11, “in Christ”; 2:12, “with Him”). Those who
were hopelessly dead in sin received new life through that union. Please get this, we
were dead, and God gave us life. Why did God give us life? It’s a one-word answer;
grace:

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye save through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is
the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Notice what else God does, “…having forgiven you all trespasses…”. The word
“forgiven” means: “forgiveness as the result of grace or an act of love.” It means to
bestow a favor unconditionally. The favor bestowed unconditionally here is the
remission of debt against God.

Not just the past sins, not just the present sins, not just the big sins, not just the little
sins, but ALL of them. It means those times in your past that plague you with guilt, He
forgave those sins. And those times when you let others down and hurt them, He
forgave those sins too. And all those times you promised you did something for the last
time, and then you fell again; God forgave those in Christ too. He forgives the hidden
sins and the public sins.

God’s forgiveness is a prominent theme in the New Testament. Our Lord told His
disciples at the Last Supper:

Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for
the remission of sins.

Peter told those assembled in Cornelius’s house that:

Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever
believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

In Acts 13 Paul said:

Acts 13:38-39 Be it know unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man
is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: (39) And by him all that believe are
justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

To the Ephesians, Paul wrote:

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,
according to the riches of his grace;

Our debts were paid in full by Jesus Christ. The believer’s debt has been paid in full,
there is no possibility of going into debt again. Jesus paid the debt of all our sins:
past, present, and future. This is GRACE!

Paul now illustrates God’s forgiveness.

Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which
was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.

The word “handwriting” literally means: “something written with the hand,” or “an
autograph.” Paul describes this as “ordinances that was against us.” The word
“ordinances” means: “decree, ordinance, decision, command, a formalized rule (or set
of rules) prescribing what people must do.” This refers to the Mosaic law as an
ordinance of requirements that puts us in debt to God.

Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of
commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man,
so making peace.

All peoples (including Gentiles, read Romans 2:14-15) owe God a debt, because they
have violated His law. The certificate was “contrary to us,” that is, it was enough to
condemn us to judgment and wrath, because:

Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is
written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written, in the
book of the law to do them.

The written code stood as a constant reminder to the Israelite that there was a debt
which needed to be paid that the people of God might stand perfect before God.
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every on that
believeth.

“Blotting out” means: “to wipe off,” like erasing a blackboard. History lesson: Ancient
documents were commonly written either on papyrus, a paper-like material made from
the bulrush plant, or vellum, which was made from an animal’s hide. The ink used then
had no acid in it and did not soak into the writing material. Since the ink remained on the
surface, it could be wiped off if the scribe wanted to reuse the material.

In Christ, under the New Covenant, we have been set free from the condemnation of
the Law. Our text says, “and took it out of the way, having nailed it to his cross.” The
word “took” means: “to lift up, to bear, to take away.” The word is used by John the
Baptist when he said of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of
the world.” His statement emphasizes the permanence of the removal of our sin, which
has been paid and canceled and cannot be presented again.

Paul was telling the Colossians that fleshly circumcision has now been canceled and
nailed to the cross.

Colossians 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of
them openly, triumphing over them in it.

The word “spoiled” means: “to disarm” observing that it’s a compound word from the
verb “to arm oneself” and a prefix denoting that what’s conveyed is the opposite. He disarmed “principalities and powers” this speaks of those spiritual forces which have
set themselves as opposed to God.

Our text says, “He made a show of them openly” The picture Paul is painting here is
one of Roman conquest. Those he was writing to were familiar with this image. History
lesson: When the Roman army would return from a victorious campaign, they would
enter the city in a triumphal procession.

Into the city they would parade, displaying the treasures of their conquered foe. Those who had been captured in battle and who would become slaves would march in chains before the cheering crowd. The dignitaries that had been captured would-be put-on display.

The Roman army itself would parade down the street. And the triumphant Roman general would ride in on his chariot to the adulation of the crowd. The defeated foe would-be put-on display. They would be made a public spectacle. This is the image Paul uses here for Christ’s victory over the powers of darkness.

Paul goes on to say, “triumphing over them in it.” The words “triumphing over” mean to
lead prisoners of war in a victory procession. The picture is of a military procession
leading captives of war. It means to demonstrate one’s successful conquest of the
opposition.

Colossians 2:15 And having spoiled principals and powers, he made a show of them
openly, triumphing over them in it.

This passage is explaining that we were all dead in our sins, and Christ has given us life
in union with Himself. We share Christ’s life. Not only that but He has forgiven us all our
sins.

He removed the Old Covenant that was contrary to us. And He disarmed principalities and powers. This is true of every believer no matter how they feel or live. When you truly understand these truths, the natural response will be one of gratitude.

If we understand what has been given to us, we will be grateful to God for the rest of our
lives. No matter what life brings, we will not complain, we will only give thanks that we
did not get what we deserved. We will be grateful that we have God’s strength, power
and provision in our lives. Praise God!





Circumcised and Baptized

3 05 2020

McKee Road Baptist – May 3, 2020 AM Worship – Coronavirus Emailed

Colossians 2:11-12 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made
without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of
Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the
faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Today we are going to discuss circumcision and baptism and how they relate to the
child of God. Pay close attention as we allow God’s Words to clarify our understanding.

Colossians 2:9-10 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye
are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

In these two verses the Apostle Paul explained to the church of Colosse that they are
complete in Christ! They have, in Christ, already received all that God is, and nothing
can be added, Paul now rehearses how this happened to them.

Colossians 2:11-12 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made
without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of
Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the
faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

The Judaizers were a group of people who went around in the first century promoting
Judaism. They were saying that in order to be a Christian, you must first come through
the door of Judaism. You must be circumcised and keep the law:

Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, [and
said], Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

This is an attack on the gospel. This is faith plus circumcision. We first read about circumcision in Genesis 17. In chapter 15, we have the inauguration of the Abrahamic covenant. God promises to make of Abraham a great nation. God meets with Abraham and promises him that he would be a blessing.

In this Abrahamic covenant is the promise of a Redeemer. That Redeemer is Christ. That is how Abraham is going to be a blessing to all nations, through Christ. The book of Galatians makes it clear that this promise was in reference to the coming Redeemer, Christ. Then in
chapter 17, God gives Abraham a symbol of the covenant so he will not forget the
promise that was made:

Genesis 17:10-14 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and
thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall
circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me
and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man
child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any
stranger, which [is] not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your
flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of
his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken
my covenant.

Today we wear wedding rings as tokens of the covenant that we made with our spouse.
This is God’s token of the covenant, circumcision. The English word “circumcision”
comes from a Latin word, which means: “to cut around” it describes the original biblical
reference to a surgery that was performed on males.

It was God who instituted circumcision as a sign or token of the covenant that He had
made with Abraham. All Israel and those associated with them had to be circumcised.
To the Jews, this was their badge that they were the children of God.

Man is a sinner at the root of his existence, whatever comes from the loins of man is
wicked. When man procreates, he produces a sinner, so the nature of sin is passed on
to the next generation. Remember, Jesus Christ had no human father, was sinless.

When God demanded that the male be circumcised, He was giving them a symbol that
the outward part of man was cleansed to remind them that man needed to be cleansed
of sin at the deepest root of his being. Man needed a spiritual surgery to cleanse him.
Every time they circumcised a person, they were reminding themselves of the fact that
man was a wicked sinner and in need of a cleansing. Even the blood shed that occurred
in circumcision symbolized the need for sacrifice to accomplish that cleansing. So, there
was even a picture of the pain and sacrifice needed to cleanse the sinner in
circumcision.

God intended it to be a physical symbol of a spiritual reality. Circumcision was to be
much more than just an outward sign. It was to be the outward sign of an inward reality,
but they lost the true meaning and kept only the outward sign:

Deuteronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more
stiffnecked.

Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your
heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire,
and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Circumcision was a spiritual thing. They were keeping the outward symbol, but were not
realizing the spiritual significance of it. The symbol means nothing without the reality.

The Jews were circumcised on the outside but not the inside. Circumcision is the
external symbol depicting the need for a total cleansing from sin. However, many Jews
felt as long as they were circumcised, they had God’s blessing.

Now the Apostle Paul comes along preaching grace to the Gentiles. Paul is teaching
that salvation is by faith alone. The Jews are getting very upset, and were causing
trouble in the new churches with their Old Testament ceremony. In Acts 15, we have the
first church council to deal with the issue of circumcision:

Acts 15:5-8 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed,
saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law
of Moses. 6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and
brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the
Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God,
which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he
did unto us;

Peter is saying that the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit just like the Jews had, and they
were not circumcised. The council declared that circumcision was not necessary for
salvation. Note: This process is known as doctrinal development. Every generation experiences this process.

Galatians 5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit
you nothing.

Paul is saying, Christ plus circumcision equals nothing. You cannot add anything to
faith. If you do, you destroy faith. If you think in order to be saved you have got to be
circumcised, then Christ will not do you any good, because you are believing in
salvation by works.

Colossians 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without
hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

God circumcised us at the point of our salvation. At that moment we entered into union
with Christ. We did not earn or deserve that privilege; it is an act of God’s grace.

Paul says we have been given a circumcision, not of the flesh by the hands of men, but
with the circumcision done by Christ. By this spiritual circumcision, the old sinful nature
(flesh) has been cut away or put off. We have been delivered from the old sinful nature.

In other words, Christ has set us free from the bondage to sin. The power of sin has
been broken, and we are no longer slaves to it. “Putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ”

Romans 5:12-21 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by
sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin
was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death
reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of
Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the
offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much
more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath
abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the
judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto
justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they
which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by
one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men
to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men
unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,
so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law
entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more
abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul introduces the theme of our union with Christ. We were joined to Adam; his sin was imputed to us. Now by faith, we are joined to Jesus Christ; and His righteousness has been imputed to us. Because we are in Christ, all that belongs to Jesus Christ becomes ours. Your salvation and mine depends only, entirely, and exclusively upon the obedience of Jesus Christ.

Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly,
his faith is counted for righteousness.

There are no works involved in salvation, it is a free gift of God’s grace to all who
believe.

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

Here then is a question, “If everything depends on what God has done, then what does
it matter, how we live?” There are those that say, “Once saved, always saved leads to lawlessness. You preachers of salvation by grace through faith alone weaken our sense of moral responsibility. You only encourage sinful behavior with that kind of teaching.”
Notice what the Apostle Paul said.

Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

He shouts out, “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer there in?”
He says that we “died” to sin. He is describing something that happened to us as a fact.
We died to sin. This is what Paul is saying in Colossians when he says, “Putting off the
body of the sins of the flesh.” In what sense have believers put off the body of the flesh
or died to sin? The answer is found in:

Romans 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through
righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

We have died to the rule and reign of sin. Sin’s reign came in Adam and was broken by
the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.

How can Paul say we are dead to sin? We still sin, we still feel the power of temptation.
How can Paul say this? We must differentiate between what is true of our position as a
fact and our experience. Paul is talking here about our position before God.

Positionally, we have died to the reign of sin under Adam. We died to sin’s reign, and we no longer have to live in sin. We have been set free. So why do we still sin then? We still sin because there is a great difference between being given a position and realizing that you are in that position.

By way of illustration, at the end of the Civil war, slavery was abolished in the United
States. But what actually happened was that many of the slaves who had endured long
years of servitude found it very difficult to understand their new status. When they saw
their old master coming, they would respond as a slave. They were free, but for some, it
took them a long time to realize it.

The sixth chapter of Romans was written to make believers understand that we have
died to sin. How did we die to sin? Paul’s answer in verses 3-11 is the doctrine of our
union with Jesus Christ:

Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were
baptized into his death?

The best way to understand the doctrine of our union with Jesus Christ is to be clear as
to the meaning of the phrase, "baptized into Jesus Christ." To understand this phrase, we need to understand the word, "baptized." Its primary meaning is: to plunge, to dip, to immerse. In days of old, it could speak of a smith who dips a piece of hot iron in water, tempering it.

There is more than one meaning for the original word, baptize. In any language, there
may be literal and metaphorical (a comparison between two things that are unrelated)
meanings of a word. For example: If I said to you, “I am the black sheep of my family. I
am not saying that I am black nor am I saying that I am a sheep. I am using those words
to describe a condition of myself. It has nothing to do with a color or an animal. It is a
metaphorical saying.

In exactly the same manner, the word baptize has a meaning far removed from
anything to do with water. Thinking of water in connection with this passage of the Bible
leads to error as it does with many passages dealing with baptism.

The word baptize used metaphorically means: a change of identity or to identify.

1 Corinthians 10:1-2 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how
that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all
baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

Baptism here means initiation into a new relationship, or identification with Moses. It
does not mean immersion; the Israelites were never in the sea at all; they passed over
on dry land (Exodus 14:21-22). It was Pharaoh’s soldiers who got wet. They were all
united and identified with Moses. Moses was God’s appointed leader of Israel. The
basic Christian significance for baptism is identification with Christ. We are united to
Christ, the Son of God, our leader.

Note: Ritual baptism is immersing someone in water. Real baptism is the act of the Holy
Spirit placing the believer in the body of Christ, this is identification. The very moment
we believed on Christ as our Savior, we were baptized by the Holy Spirit, placed into the
Body of Christ. By being members of the Body of Christ, everything that is true of the
Head is true of each member of His Body:

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be
Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one
Spirit.

When we believed the gospel, the Holy Spirit put us into the body of Christ, united. This
is not physical but a spiritual identification.

Our salvation is guaranteed because everything that happened to Christ happened to
us. As we were united to Adam, so we are now united to Christ, and it is the Spirit who
unites us to Christ. I am in Christ and Christ is in me, union.

Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were
baptized into his death?

We were baptized (identified) into Christ’s death. When Jesus Christ died, we died with
Him. We are one with Him, and His death is ours.

The late L.E. Maxwell, an educator and minister from Canada, told this story. I think it
will help us in seeing our identification with Christ:

“During the Civil War a man by the name of George Wyatt was drawn by lot to go to the
front. He had a wife and six children. A young man named Richard Pratt offered to go in
his stead. He was accepted and joined the ranks, bearing the name and number of
George Wyatt. Before long Pratt was killed in action. The authorities later sought again
to draft George Wyatt into service. He protested, entering the plea that he had died in
the person of Pratt. He insisted that the authorities consult their own records as to the
fact of his having died in identification with Pratt, his substitute. Wyatt was thereby
exempted as beyond the claims of law and further service. He had died in the person of
his representative. There we have the truth of identification in a nutshell. God’s way of
deliverance is through death – through the identification with our Substitute in His death
and resurrection.” Taken from Maxwell’s book, “Born Crucified” chapter one “The
Believer’s Identification.”

Wyatt was dead to the Confederacy just as you are dead to sin. The Confederacy had
no authority over a dead man. Likewise, Christ went to the cross in your place, signed
your name and died as your substitute. It is written in the document of the Heavenly
Court that you died on a cross in the service of God to satisfy the draft of the law of sin
and death.

Just as George Wyatt was freed from the Confederacy draft, the cross of Christ has
freed us from the law of sin and death.

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ
was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in
newness of life.

Paul is saying that as that is true of Christ, "even so" it is true of us. "Even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Christ walks in newness of life as the result of the resurrection, and so do we. The newness of life here does not refer to a new quality
of experience or conduct, but to a new quality of life imparted to the individual. Verses
1-11 of Romans 6 do not deal with the Christian’s experience or behavior but with his
position before God. Newness of life is the newness which consists of 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.

This is not dealing with my walk, but with my position before God. We died with Christ
and were buried with Him, but it doesn’t stop there.

Romans 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall
be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

What has happened to Christ, literally and physically, has happened to us spiritually.
Physically, we did not die when Christ died, but judicially in the reckoning of God we did.
This is identification.

Verse 5 is the key verse in this section, teaching our union with Christ. Verses 6 &7 are
a description of the first half of verse 5, For if we have been planted together in the
likeness of His death…

Romans 6:6-7 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin
might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is
freed from sin.

Knowing this We only know this because Scripture teaches it. The old man is the
man that I used to be in Adam. The word crucified means: was crucified with Christ.
That man that was joined to Adam was crucified together with Christ.

Because of our union with Christ in his crucifixion, we are dead to sin; we have been set
free from its power. We are no longer slaves of sin. Verses 8-10 explain the last half of verse 5, “we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection.”

Romans 6:8-10 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with
him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no
more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he
liveth, he liveth unto God.

Christ temporally came under the power of sin, and it killed him. By rising from the dead,
He broke its power, and when he came out of the grave, we came out with him.

Remember, what is true of Christ is true of us. All that Jesus Christ is and has, we are
and have; we are one with him. The Lord God has put believers in Christ. Our destiny is bound up with His. What He has gone through, we have gone through. Where He is, we are.

Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive
unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The believer is to look upon himself in the light of this truth. He is to remind himself that
he is freed from the penalty and dominion of sin. He is also to count upon the fact that
he receives his spiritual life from Christ daily.

The word reckon means: to calculate, to take into account, to figure, to count on,
consider the fact. Let your mind focus on these truths. Meditate upon them, keep
saying them to yourselves, remind yourself of who you are in Christ.

Be constantly counting upon the fact that you are dead to sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Someone said, “The secret to holy living is in a mind centered on our position in Christ”. You may not feel dead to sin but remember, feelings do not have anything to do with it. It is a judicial fact, set in place by the high court of heaven. It is a faith fact.
Now we circle back to Colossians.

Colossians 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him]
through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Paul is not writing of water baptism. He is showing the Colossians that in Christ is
everything that is sufficient for their need This verse has NOTHING to do with water baptism, it speaks of identification. This is the exact same thing we saw in Romans 6.
One commentator wrote, The evidence of this spiritual circumcision is baptism. When
the believer stands before the congregation and is baptized, he is telling them that he
has left behind his old ways and is living as a follower of Jesus Christ. He bears witness
to the saving power of God that lives in him.

Paul is not speaking of water baptism in 2:12 just as he is not speaking of physical
circumcision in 2:11. Both verses speak of spiritual realities. The words buried with mean: to bury together, join in burying or to be buried with. The word with indicates a co-relationship with Jesus Christ. This is a co-burial. It is saying, When Jesus was buried, we were buried. God buried us along with Jesus Christ! This obviously does not mean that God put us into the same tomb as Jesus and we laid down beside him! This is our union with Christ.

When Jesus died, we died together with Him. When Christ rose from the dead, we rose
with Him. When Christ ascended to heaven, we ascended with Him and are now seated
with Him in the heavenlies. Our identification with Christ includes the crucifixion with
Him, burial with Him; and our resurrection, ascension and glorification with Christ. Our
identification with Christ is so complete that God reckons us as having experienced co-
crucifixion, co-burial, co-resurrection, co-ascension, and co-glorification. This is the way
God sees us. Should not we see ourselves in the same manner?

Proper biblical hermeneutics (proper interpretation of Scripture) is of utmost importance.
Many of the “Christian Faith” take words or phrases from the Word of God and promote
their “own” truth. These “truths” generated from a false premise (improper assumption)
and built upon a false interpretation of Scripture, results in an incorrect conclusion. Such
teachings have eternal consequences. That is why we study Scripture.

Pastor Don Thomason





Gerry Preaching at FPA

1 05 2020

This is Gerry Collins preaching the Gospel at an FPA abortion clinic in Bakersfield, California.





You Have No Right to Your Rights

30 04 2020

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:52-54)

One of the biggest hindrances to American Christianity is politics. We have so merged the two that to be a conservative republican is to be a Christian. I see Christians everywhere demanding their rights. This is not in and of itself evil. We are guaranteed certain rights and it’s not wrong to want those rights.

What tends to happen is a mean spirit seems to fester and before too long Christians are name calling and angrily demanding their rights. I have seen Christians get into arguments with police officers over their rights while street preaching. Often it is unnecessary and seldom Christ honoring.

In the text above Jesus makes a clear statement that as the Son of God He had certain rights and yet to fulfill the will of God He had no claim to those rights. In other words all of our rights stop at the cross which is the ultimate place of submission to God. Our right to live the life we desire stops at the cross.

Our right to vengeance dies at the cross, our right to self exaltation dies at the cross, our right to our reputation dies at the cross, our right to anything comes to an end at the cross. The cross is the end of self. While the heathen (Republican and Democrat) scream for their rights, believers know that we don’t have a rightful claim on all of our rights.

When I’m taking the Gospel door to door I often leave a tract on a house that says “no soliciting.” The reason is that I know that religious free speech is protected by the 1st Amendment and is not covered under soliciting laws. The problem is that the average person doesn’t understand that. Too often I have seen Christians in shouting matches with people over their right to leave a tract.

While I agree in the right to do it I also have to admit that it may be better to forego that right as a witness to that lost person. I’m not a good testimony when I scream my rights at them. Many point to Paul using his Roman rights while in captivity. True, he did as far as it benefited the Gospel, but he also at times he laid aside his rights in order to further the Gospel.

If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 9:11-12)

Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.” (1 Corinthians 9:14-15)

We as believers find the will of God to be our ultimate authority. All other rights whether political or even Biblical must be held only in the light of their value to the will of God.





Complete in Christ

29 04 2020

McKee Road Baptist – April 29, 2020 Wednesday Evening

Colossians 2:9-10 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye
are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Introduction:

Sadly, many believers live as though they are spiritually handicapped.
They live every day without hope, without power, without confidence and without being
a witness to victories in their lives because they do not embrace the fullness of their
salvation. The Apostle Paul told us that as believers we are complete in Christ and He is
the head of all principality and power.

Jesus Christ alone holds the key to our every need. Children of God struggle in their
Christian lives primarily for two reasons: we do not know, and we do not apply. We are
either ignorant, or we are negligent, or both. We either do not fully realize, or we forget,
who we are in Jesus Christ. If we really believed that Jesus Christ is all we needed, we
would never be out there trying to fill voids and find answers to problems anywhere else
but in Jesus Christ; voids and answers to questions that only He can fill.

The prophet Jeremiah put it this way:

Jeremiah 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the
fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no
water.

That is what it means to make Jesus Christ anything less than all-sufficient for
everything that you need, for everything that is your life. It is forsaking the fountain of
living waters for broken-down, polluted wells. Remember a few days ago we discussed…

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,
after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Paul is calling the church at Colosse to be aware of hollow and deceptive philosophy
that is masquerading as true Christian teaching. Rather than focusing on Christ, this
teaching depends on human tradition and the basic principles of Judaism. This teaching
can captivate them and lead them astray, if they are not careful. He is telling the church
to beware!

Christ is All God

Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

This is perhaps the most definitive statement of Christ’s deity in the epistles. It is the
rock upon which all attempts to disprove Christ’s deity are shattered. “For in Him dwelleth” the word “for” continues the thought of verse eight. The word “for” means: “because.” This word is important, because it introduces another reason for abandoning false teaching.

Verse eight warns us against following false philosophy. This verse gives the positive reason, all the fullness of God dwells in Christ. That is why he is superior to any philosophy or theology. He is all in all.

The words “in Him,” indicate a mighty contrast between philosophy and the Son. The
Son is superior to any philosophy. The word “dwelleth” means: “to settle down and be at home.”

This means that God continually abides at home in Christ. He is fully God forever. And as the One possessing all the fullness of Deity, Christ is the head over all rule and authority. He is not less than God, as the false teachers maintained. Rather, He is God Himself.
Understanding that the word “dwelleth” means to permanently indwell, we now see what
permanently indwells Christ, “all the fullness of the Godhead”. The “fullness” is defined
by this verse as “Godhead.” He is God.

The word “fullness” is the same term used in 1:19. This was also a term used by those
that espoused false doctrine in Paul’s day. They believed that “fullness” meant you
shared a portion of deity but not all. Paul, however, insists that all the fullness of the
Godhead, not a part of it, dwells in Christ. Jesus Christ is completely God. He is exactly
what God is. Jesus Christ possesses the “fullness” of God, not certain aspects of God’s
character. Jesus Christ possesses all power, the all the attributes of God. He is not
merely godlike. He is God himself.

The fullness of God comes into your life when you receive Jesus. What more do you
need? That is Paul’s question. What more can these false teachers add to that? What
new experience, what additional divine person can you receive than what you have
already received when you have Jesus?

One evening Jesus was sitting around with His disciples. He asked them about people’s
opinions of him. Who were people saying that he was? The disciples gave him various
comments that they had heard. Some people were saying that He was a prophet.
Others were saying that He was John the Baptist, or Elijah, or Jeremiah. Then He
turned the question to them:

Matthew 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

Jesus was asking his disciples what they had come to believe about Him. Today, this is
still the central issue of Christianity. Who do we say that Jesus really is? If He is
anything other than our Lord and God, then we are not describing Christianity. This is
the Christ test.

In the church at Colosse, there were some that were teaching that Jesus was not God.
There are many today teaching that Jesus is less than God. They say that He was a
good teacher, a great moral philosopher, a prophet, and a good man. Beware of this
kind of teaching.

Jesus was not just a good man or a good moral teacher. He was not just a moral
philosopher. He was not simply a prophet pointing the way to God. And Jesus is not
simply one way out of many ways to God. Jesus claimed to be the only way to God. He
is the way, the truth, and the life:

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh
unto the Father, but by me.

Josh McDowell wrote that here are really only three opinions that a logical person can
come to concerning Jesus. Based on what Jesus himself said, He was either a liar, or a
lunatic, or the Lord. You see, if Jesus is not the only way, then He was either deceiving
us, in which case He would be a liar, or He was self-deceived, in which case He would
be a lunatic. On the other hand, if He is indeed the only way, then He is in fact the Lord.

Any teaching that does not place Jesus Christ as the only way to heaven is not
Christian teaching. Jesus Christ is the only way, not because we say He is the only way,
but because He says so. Often Christians are labeled as judgmental, because we say
Christ is the only way. We are not trying to be judgmental. We are simply trying to share
what we know to be the truth.

We are not prejudiced against other religions. We are simply saying that Jesus Christ is
the only true way to God, “…no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6. We
do not say that in order to offend someone. We say that because we truly believe that it
is true.

Be on the alert. Do not be deceived. Be discerning. Put all the spiritual sounding
teaching to the Christ test. Who does it say that He is? What place does Christ hold in
the teaching? If He does not hold a central place as all supreme and all sufficient, then
the teaching is not of God. Don’t be taken in by it. Don’t be misled.

Now look at the last word that Paul uses:

Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

How does it dwell? In what way does it dwell? In what fashion? Bodily! This verse
proclaims the fact that God became a Man, bodily!

The word “bodily” means: “corporeally or physically, in physical form,” in the sense of
material in contrast to being symbolic. The complete content of deity exists in Jesus
Christ in real form, “…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” John 14:9.

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a
servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

The word “reputation” means: “to empty himself.” What exactly did Christ empty Himself
of? Not His deity, or He would cease to exist. Not the attributes of deity, it is impossible
to surrender an attribute without changing the character of the essence to which it
belongs. God cannot change. He is immutable! What, then, did He empty Himself of?
His Glory:

John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I
had with thee before the world was.

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I
am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me
before the foundation of the world.

He surrendered His right to manifest Himself visibly as the God of all splendor and
glory. He emptied Himself of His legitimate and natural desires and prerogative as deity.
The natural desire and prerogative of deity is that of being glorified.

Christ veiled His glory by taking on humanity, but He did not diminish or destroy any
part of it. When the sun is obscured by a cloud, there is no real change of its glory. It
does not extinguish its sun-rays. The brilliance of the sun is obscured only for a time.
The sun was never affected by that cloud, but our vision of it was. Christ was never
diminished in glory, but He veiled His glory.

John said,” …and we beheld his glory,”

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Notice the two attributes of his glory, grace and truth. Through these attributes, Jesus
glorified God in his humanity, which is what all of us are to do, but the glory of His deity
was veiled. He looked like a man, like any other man, except for a brief time during the
transfiguration:

Matthew 17:1-3 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother,
and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them:
and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold,
there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

Jesus literally lit the place up with His glory.

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a
servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

In the Incarnation, Jesus took “the form of a servant.” The phrase explains how He
emptied himself by taking the form of a servant. When He took the form of a servant, it
veiled His glory. That is how He emptied himself.

The word “form” means: “essential nature.” This is not a mask or like a Halloween
costume. He became a servant. He came to do God’s will:

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.

This is God voluntarily becoming a servant for us.

Philippians 2:7 goes on to say, “made in the likeness of men” the word “likeness”
means: “similarity, but difference”. Though His humanity was genuine, He was different
from all other humans in that He was sinless. We see this same word in:

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God
sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the
flesh:

Jesus Christ had real human flesh. He felt pain, sorrow, wept, died, but He was sinless:

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we
might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Paul goes on in Philippians to say:

Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The word “fashioned” means: “outer appearance.” People saw him only as a man.
Christ gave up the outward appearance of God, but not the essence of God. His glory
was veiled and He looked like a man.

The reality of Jesus Christ’s humanity is emphasized throughout the New Testament.
He had a human birth, His conception wasn’t human, but His birth was. He came
through the birth canal and was wet and wrinkled like any other baby. He had human
growth and development. He grew up just like any other human being.

Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the
grace of God was upon him.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and
man.

He had human experiences; emotions, feeling, desires and needs. He was hungry,
thirsty, weary, He sorrowed and wept. He had a human relationship with God. Jesus
said:

Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to
pray, and not to faint;

Prayer is the necessary activity of a man who stands in a right relationship to God.
Jesus prayed, why? He was dependent upon God in His humanity. Jesus functioned in
the power of the Holy Spirit, not in the power of His deity. Why is that so important? His
ministry was marked with the repeated necessity of making choices, and He always
made the right choice. Of all men who ever lived, He alone could say,

“…for I do always those things that please Him.” John 8:29.

These choices were very real and involved the exercise of His will. Was it His human
will alone functioning on these occasions, or was His human will under the control of the
divine nature? If the latter is true, then it is hard to see how Christians, who do not
possess deity to control their human wills, can be called upon to look to Christ as their
example.

But if Jesus Christ did, indeed, divest Himself of the exercise of the divine
nature, and lived among men in real dependence upon His Father, and found His
strength and wisdom in a pure humanity empowered by the Holy Spirit, then we can
understand that His prayers were real prayers, His decisions were real decisions, His
actions and reaction were genuinely human, and He is, indeed, our example in all
things.

If Jesus Christ was dependent upon God for all He did, how much more should we be?
Now Paul gets to the heart of the letter. And the key verse, not only to this section, but
perhaps to the entire book, is:

Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and
power:

In Jesus Christ, if you know Him, if you have been born again, if you are a new creation
in Jesus Christ, trusting Him, you have been made complete. You’re complete. It has nothing to do with how you feel. You have been made complete. Christ is sufficient.
Your sufficiency is not in yourself; it is in Him.

“And ye are complete in Him.” The believer permanently holds that position before God from the moment of his salvation.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are in Christ. And because you are in Christ,
and because He is complete, you have been made complete. Get that? Because Christ
is who He is, we have been made complete in Him. His fullness is imparted to us. The
word “complete” means: “entire, finished, made full, perfect.” Our fullness of life comes
from Christ’s fullness:

John 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

We need no outside help from any other source. Every Christian, at the moment of salvation, receives this fullness. God views us as pardoned and as righteous as Christ is righteous. God accomplishes this at the moment of salvation. We do not receive Christ on the installment plan.

We receive a complete Savior and complete results of our salvation at the moment we come to know Him. We may appreciate Him more as we grow in Him, however, we do not receive more of Him. “In Him” means: “in union with Jesus Christ”. This is the believer’s position before God.

As God views us, He looks at us exactly like He would look at Christ, perfect. We are
not perfect in our experience, but in our position before God forever. We share His
fullness. From God’s viewpoint, nothing is wanting in us because of Christ. Jesus fully
meets every demand of God for us.

This is true of every Christian, no matter what their experience of living may be like.
Jesus Christ is our substitute not only at the point of salvation but as an ongoing status
before God. We stand judicially right before God forever.  God’s estimation of us is equivalent to His estimation of Christ. God identifies us with him in everything.

2 Peter 1:2-3 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God,
and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that
[pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to
glory and virtue:

God’s Word says, that Jesus Christ has granted to you “…all things that pertain unto life
and godliness” When you were saved, you received all you needed to live the Christian
life. Everything. There’s no other experience you need. Nothing.

The second half of Colossians 2:10 reads: “…which is the head of all principality and
power:” The word “head” is used three times in Colossians. It’s used in chapter 1:18,
here, and in chapter 2:19. It is a word that is used of a literal head, such as a person’s
head as seen in Matthew 5:36.

It can also refer to a symbolic head, such as the head of a family as recorded in
Ephesians 5:23. When it is used that way, it has the predominant meaning: “authority
over.” To be the head is to be the one in authority.

I will close with a story. William Randolph Hurst, the wealthy newspaper publisher,
invested a fortune in collecting great works of art. One day he read about some valuable
pieces of art and decided that he must have them for his collection.

He then sent his agent out to locate these items and purchase them. Months went by, finally the agent returned and reported to Hurst that the items had at last been found. The agent discovered the items were stored in Hurst’s own warehouse. Years before, William
Randolph Hurst had purchased them. This is like the child of God who is in a desperate
search for what he already has. Do not be held captive by anything other than the all-
sufficiency of Jesus Christ. He is sufficient for our every need.

Child of God, you are well equipped. You are complete in Christ. Serve Him the rest of
your days!

Pastor Don Thomason





Jesus Came to Bring Violence — but What Does That Mean for Us?

29 04 2020

A good episode of Ask Pastor John with John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church and Desiring God. If you don’t listen to this podcast I wholeheartedly recommend it.

 





Beware!

26 04 2020

McKee Road Baptist – April 26, 2020 AM Worship

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,
after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Introduction:

Daily, for the past three to four months we have been alerted to the
dangers of the Coronavirus by the news media. There has not been a dearth of
information regarding this pandemic. The coverage has been non-stop with each news
agency interviewing a different “expert’ every day. The warning is to stay alert. We must
stay alert, because, as we have been informed this disease is highly contagious and in
some will cause death.

We have been asked to keep ourselves separated from others. When we must go out,
we have been asked to keep at least six feet of distance between each other. The
experts have told us that we should also wear masks. This is to keep any air-borne
droplets from being transmitted to others. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the
air. If not transmitted, by someone as close as three feet, they can be transmitted from
other sources such as floors or surfaces. A person can become infected by touching a
surface that has the virus and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing
your hands.

Like many other churches we have determined it best to practice safe habits during the
COVID-19 pandemic and have chosen to not gather together for a time. Meanwhile
many of us have been blessed by countless “live-feed,” Facebook messages we have
watched on our media devices. I am reminded of the story of Joseph, when he told his
brothers in Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it
unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. God is using the
bad things to promote His gospel. But we must be alert as we watch so many that
speak as an authority to the possibility, we might have consumed false teaching

We must be alert spiritually, because there are dangers to our faith. We must keep our
eyes and ears open and be aware of what is happening around us. There are those
who would pervert the truth of Christianity. This perversion manifests itself in subtle
ways. Without a doubt you have already encountered dangerous teachings. Our text
today gives us a stern warning against any teaching that would detract from Christ.
When Paul wrote this letter there was a subtle and powerful false teaching that was
threatening to infiltrate the Colossian church. We know that it contained elements of
false philosophy. Throughout the letter, Paul switches back and forth between his
seeming attack of Jewish elements of this false teaching, and his attack on the Greek
elements of this false teaching. This false teaching, this heresy, was a blend of these
two philosophies.

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,
after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

“Beware” means: “to look at,” but it is also used of mental functions like: “direct one’s
attention to something, watch, beware, be on guard.” It is a command for a constant
circumspect watchfulness, because of the dangers lurking at every corner.
The idea is “look out”. The idea is: “guard yourself from this”. The idea is: “beware of
this”. That is how it is used in Philippians chapter 3 when Paul talks about the Judaizers
(Those that teach it is necessary to adopt Jewish customs and practices to be saved.)

Philippians 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

The Colossian Christians were to: “Beware lest anyone spoil you…” It is a compound
word which means: “booty”, as in booty that you would capture, and “ago”, which
means: “to lead or carry”. It is to carry away a prize won in battle. It’s to be taken
captive.

The brethren at the church in Colosse were in danger of being kidnapped by error. Paul
was warning the brethren that they can be taken captive by wrong philosophy, wrong
teaching, false doctrine. Such teaching only works to deprive believers of their liberty in
Christ. These teachings can hold them hostage for years, if not for the rest of their lives.
Note: contrary to what the world believes, nobody is freer than a Christian. Nobody.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,
and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

There is always the danger of being caught up in false teaching in one way or another.
That is why it is most important to guard yourself. It is so important to the life and the
health of the church and to the members that make up the church.

Some of us are old enough to remember the People’s Temple Christian Church. Jim
Jones was leader of the People’s Temple Christian Church. On November 18, 1978, in
Guyana, Jim Jones murdered 909 people, mostly his followers and then committed
suicide. One of the most frightening discoveries about the People’s Temple Christian
Church was that a large majority of its members came from Christian homes of one sort
or another. Most people that joined the church did so because they believed it offered a
higher experience of Christian living. Paul’s warning is very pertinent to the church
today. Beware!

Note: every false teacher may not be a Jim Jones but every false teacher is dangerous.
Paul knew the danger. That is why he struggled so hard in the ministry. That’s why he
wrote, back in chapter 2, verse 1: “For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for
you…”.

Paul goes on to say, “Beware lest anyone spoil you through philosophy…”
What’s philosophy? Very simply define it as: “the love of wisdom”. “Philos” is the
Greek word for love. “Sophos” is the Greek word for wisdom.

The love of wisdom is a good thing in many cases. There are good and bad
philosophies, but what the apostle has in mind here, of course, is the danger the
Colossians are facing of being seduced by bad philosophy.

In the first-century Jewish historian, Josephus, wrote in one of his books, “There are
three philosophical sects among the Jews. The followers of the first of whom are the Pharisees, of the second the Sadducees, and the third sect called the Essenes”. That
said every age has battled against expounders of false philosophy.

Paul is talking about something very specific here. But there is application here for us
today. We fight against any philosophy that detracts from the sufficiency of Jesus Christ
and the purity of His Word is to be rejected.

One theologian said, “There are too many ‘ball-park’ interpreters and expositors today.
The theological atmosphere of evangelicalism is saturated with a dense fog of
uncertainty and misplaced emphasis in handling the Word of God. Many churches are
on the rocks because of careless hermeneutics (The study of the principles of
interpretation concerning the Bible.), ignorance of Biblical languages, and unsystematic
theology (Systematic theology formulates an orderly, rational and coherent account of
the doctrines of the Christian faith. So, unsystematic theology would be everything that
systematic theology is not.) Rough estimates as to what this or that passage means will
not do. We need qualified expositors who will take the time and make the necessary
sacrifices to do their homework well and bring clarity to the minds of God’s people as
they read and study God’s holy Word.”

Today we live in an age where the philosophy of many is this; do not offend me, do not
bore me, do not preach long, do not preach doctrine but make me feel good about
myself. Do this they say and your church will grow. I site the following paragraph as one
example of proof.

Many remember the Crystal Cathedral of Garden Grove, California. It was a massive
structure constructed with reflective glass and at one time was touted as “the largest
glass building in the world.” Its founder, Robert Schuller once said: “For the church to
address the unchurched with a theocentric (that means a God-centered) attitude is to
invite failure in mission. The non-churched who have no vital belief in a relationship with
God will spurn, reject, or simply ignore the theologian, church spokesperson, preacher,
or missionary who approaches with Bible in hand, theology on the brain and the lips,
and expects nonreligious persons to suspend their doubts and swallow the theocentric
assertions as fact”.

You see, Schuller’s premise was built around the assertion that those that are
unregenerate (the lost) are transformed through human ingenuity and not through a
sovereign act of God’s grace through faith in the Word of the Living God. By the way the
former denomination of this church was listed as Reformed Church in America it is now
listed as Roman Catholic.

Romans 1:16 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.

Paul says that it is the Gospel that is the power of God. Our responsibility is to proclaim
the Gospel. God will take care of how the heart responds to that.

There are many philosophies in our day that are deceiving young people, as well as
many adults. We hear this philosophy much of the time. It is called, “Tolerance”, which
says, “No one can say what is right and what is wrong”.

Some will say that adultery, abortion or homosexuality is wrong for them, but who are
you to decide for everyone else. A recent Gallup Poll, declared that 82% of college students say they believe in no absolute truths. It comes down to this: anything goes out
there. Morality of man is every man for himself. Right and wrong is no longer based on
absolutes, but on individual opinion.

It should be said that this is nothing new. We have just found a way to place a
percentage of those that believe this way. I am reminded that there has always been an
element that believed this. Isaiah said, Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil;
that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put biter for sweet, and sweet for
bitter. Isaiah 5:20. Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every
man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Without a moral compass, people cannot make rational decisions about what is right
and wrong for themselves or for society. We are told that you cannot decide if an
unborn baby is a human being or a blob of tissue, because we have listened to the
rhetoric of the “politically correct” instead of checking out the medical facts that life
begins at conception, an absolute supported completely by the Bible.

Believers, we are engaged today in a battle between worldviews. We must understand
and defend a Biblical worldview in all of life. We must make it our goal to impart this
Biblical worldview to the youth who will lead the next generation. Make it your legacy.

Vain Deceit

Paul goes on to describe this philosophy as “and vain deceit”. “Vain deceit” describes
“philosophy”. The idea is that the particular philosophy Paul had been warning his
readers about was vain deception. These are not two separate dangers.

“Vain deceit” describes the nature of human philosophy. “Vain” means “empty.” It is (a)
“without content, without any basis, without truth, without power,” or (b) of the effects,
“without result, without profit, without effect, without reaching its goal”.

The word “deceit”, was used of the seductive deception that comes from wealth (Mark
4:19), and “the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). It is vain (empty) deceit. But what
does it mean to be deceived? “Deceit” means: “to cheat, deceive, beguile. It is that
which gives a false impression whether by appearance, statement or influence”. This
empty philosophy connives and misleads, it deceives or lies to people about what is
true.

Human philosophy simply said are the human traditions and principles of the world. It is
not according to the person and work of Christ.

After the tradition of men

This is the origin of false teaching. It is from the devices of men and not the voice of
God. “Tradition” means: “a handing down or a handing over”.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye
have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

There are good traditions. But they are the traditions of God. In our text in Colossians,
what is being condemned are the “tradition of men ” it is of men.
We must “beware” that our traditions do not contradict the Word of God. Because if they
do, they are error. If it goes against the Bible, it is not of God.

Paul tell us that these “vain” (empty), deceptive philosophies depend on human
tradition. They arise out of the thinking of men and then are passed along from
generation to generation so as to appear popular and widely supported. Hardly anyone
dares question them, because everybody believes them. An obvious example today is
the theory of evolution. Evolution is now being widely challenged on a scientific level.
Many evolutionists are beginning to question Darwin’s view. But it wasn’t all that long
ago that the theory of evolution was almost universally accepted.

Remember, with “philosophy”, there are biblical or divine traditions that have their
source in God’s special revelation, and human traditions; those that come from man’s
own ideas and theories.

Many people do not evaluate what they believe for themselves. They believe it simply
because their family believed it, “My mom told me so”. How you do know it is true? “I
never question it”. A person without healthy skepticism is vulnerable to seduction.
The test question should be: “Can it be substantiated by the Bible?”

Remember, human philosophy is: drawn from human traditions, and it is inspired by
basic principles of the world.

After the rudiments of the world

What are “the rudiments of the world”? Rudiment means anything in a row or series. It
was used of the letters of the alphabet (alpha, beta, gamma, delta; or in our vernacular,
a, b, c, d). It was used of numbers in a series (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). It was used of soldiers in
rank and file down a line. It had to do with was anything in a series. It came to be
understood in the sense of elementary things (like the ABC’s of life).

The “rudiments of the world” was a reference to the religious practices the false
teachers were promoting in Paul’s day.

Colossians 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world,
why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

Here Paul is talking about Jewish laws.

Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of
an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of
things to come; but the body is of Christ.

It you look at its use in Galatians, you again see its Jewish usage.

Galatians 4:3-5 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the
elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his
Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the
law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

These “rudiments of the world” was part of Jewish legalism. They were the rudiments as
taught them by the law, as their schoolmaster. They were subject to a lifetime of
bondage to these rudiments of Jewish law.

So, this human philosophy is described as: being drawn from human traditions, being
inspired by basic principles of Judaism, and it is not according to the person and work
of Christ, “…and not after Christ.”

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,
after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

This verse can be summarized as the contrast between that which is according to Christ and everything else. Whatever we think of “philosophy”, “vain deceit”, “tradition of men”, or “after the rudiments of the world”, the bottom line is that these can be seen to be totally
against Jesus Christ.

That is the key. It is not according to Christ. Just as grace plus anything else equals
zero. If you add anything to grace, you negate grace. In the same way, Christ plus
anything else equals zero. You cannot make any additions to Jesus Christ, or you
subtract from His all-sufficiency. Everything we do, everything we are as believers in
Jesus Christ must be according to Jesus Christ.

Remember if you are a child of God, He was sufficient to save you. That is what the
gospel is all about. But is He sufficient for you in every area of your life, for every need
of your life, in your relationships, in your marriage, at your job, for your every spiritual
and material need? Is He sufficient? To say, “No” is to deny His sufficiency. He is
sufficient. We need to teach and proclaim that truth and uphold it. We need to
encourage one another to live in His truth. We need to warn each other against
anything, any philosophy, any tradition that is not according to Christ.

Conclusion:

We must open our spiritual eyes. If you are spiritually aware you will be
able to testify that God is at work. Many see this time as one of inconvenience to their
daily routine. Many proclaim that it is just an added exercise that is totally unnecessary.
One day we will be able to better judge these days in our lives and whether all steps
taken were necessary but until that day happens, step back and get God’s perspective.
Watch and see what He is doing. Position yourself to be right in the middle of His will
and further the cause of His kingdom.

McKee Road Baptist Members, “…Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Colossians 1:2

Pastor Don Thomason





Coronavirus

25 04 2020

Good answers from Doug Wilson of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho

 





Grounded in Love

24 04 2020

Ephesians 3:17-21 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted
and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth,
and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth
knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is
able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power
that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all
ages, world without end. Amen.

Introduction:

Please consider what the Word of God is saying. Do not assume that you do not need help in this area of your life. It is especially in times when we think we do not need it at all, that we need it the most. Consider all the times Scripture says something like, I bring you to remembrance or remember. Paul is making the point that we are to be grounded in the love of God. This is a love we do not come by naturally but by God.

Paul is praying that the Ephesians would be strengthened with the power of the Spirit in
their thinking. He is praying that their thinking would fall in line with the Word of God. He
is teaching that the Jew and Gentile are equal before God as the one new man. There
was to be no more Jew, no more Gentile, just children of God. This is critical because if
their thinking does not line up with this, they could fraction into a Jewish Church and a
Gentile Church. Paul was teaching it was most important for them to think correctly.
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith”

This goes hand-in-hand with what Paul said in verse 16, “To be strengthened with might
by his Spirit in the inner man.” This is one action. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts
by faith” is an explanation of how it is that God will strengthen you in the inner man!
When Paul says “inner man” here he is talking about the mind, the thinking process.
Paul’s phrase, “the inner man,” (Ephesians 3:16) is synonymous with the heart
(Ephesians 3:17). And the heart is another reference to the thinking. Paul is praying
that the Ephesians would be strengthened with the power of the Spirit in their thinking.
“That ye, being rooted and grounded in love”

Paul prays that they would “be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner
man” so the result would be that “Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” in order for
that to transpire you must be rooted and grounded His love.

Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and
grounded in love,

Illustration: Try holding your breath. You can only hold it for a certain length of time.
Eventually you take a breath or pass out and then take a breath. That is just natural.
Fight as much as you will, this will be the outcome of your effort. When you became a
child of God the most natural thing in the world was this, the love of God is shed abroad in your heart, it should permeate you, it should exude from you, it should touch
everybody around you. It should be a way of life, but some people seem to be holding
their breath.

I used breathing as an illustration but know this, loving others is not as easy for us as
breathing. If loving others is so natural and easy, why are there so many exhortations in
Scripture to love one another? If it is like breathing, we should not need to be told to do
it at all. It should just be automatic for believers.

“Rooted” means: “to cause to take root, to become firmly rooted or fixed.” It suggests
the thought of something that took place in the past, but whose effects persist in the
present, because of their relationship with Jesus.

“Grounded” means: “to lay a basis for, to build upon a foundation, to build, to be
founded, to be grounded.” He will be your foundation, and the foundation of your life will
be His love. Like buildings, our lives are to be built deep into the foundation of God’s
love.

To be rooted in something means that you’re getting your nourishment from it, your life;
from the water, and from the nutrients and minerals in the ground. You are absorbing all
the life of the love of God. That is what is making you live! That is what is making you
alive, you are drawing upon the love that is in Christ Jesus. Rooted pictures a sturdy,
growing tree that sinks down roots that enable it to withstand drought and the fierce
storms of life. To be grounded in love pictures a solid building with a foundation that
goes down to the bedrock. It can withstand a flood or an earthquake, because it is built
on the rock.

We cannot handle life unless we have a solid foundation, unless we are rooted and
grounded in love. Many times, we question God’s love for us due to our situation. Our
emotions cause us to feel like God has forsaken us. But Scripture teaches that God’s
love is just as real in times of adversity as it is in times of blessings. God’s love to us is
unchangeable.

Consider Calvary as evidence of God’s love for us:

1 John 4:9-10 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent
his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love,
not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for
our sins.

The living God showed His love by meeting our greatest need and redeemed from us
from an eternal separation from Him.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us.

Please notice our condition when God demonstrated His love for us, “while we were yet
sinners.” God loved us when we hated Him. He reached out in love and met our
greatest need while we were His enemies.

Ephesians 2:1-6 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the
prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh,
fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of
wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he
loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ,
(by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in
heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

This was our condition; we were dead in sin. We had an appointment with God’s wrath.
We have all sinned against a holy, righteous God. We have rebelled against His
commands and defied His moral law. Because of this, we all deserve His wrath. We do
not deserve God’s love or mercy.

Any time that we are tempted to question God’s love for us, we need to look to Calvary.
If God loved us enough to send His Son to die for us when we were His enemies,
surely, He loves us enough to care for us now that we are His children. In the midst of
the worst adversity, I can be assured of God’s love for me because of Calvary.

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be
against us?

“God is for us” This is a concise summary of the Gospel. God is on our side. Think
about it! Meditate upon it! The immutable God, has loved us from eternity past has
made provision for your salvation.

Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall
he not with him also freely give us all things?

“But delivered him up for us all” The word “delivered” means: “to turn over to
judgement.” Who delivered up God to die? Not Judas, for money; not Pilate, for fear; not
the Jews, for envy; but the Father, for LOVE.

Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us
accepted in the beloved.

God’s unfailing love for us is a fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true
whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our
faith create it. But the experience of that love, and the comfort it is intended to bring, is
dependent upon our believing the truth about God’s love as it is revealed to us in the
Scriptures. Doubts about God’s love will deprive us of the comfort of His love.

Ephesians 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and
length, and depth, and height;

“May be able to comprehend” Unless they were “rooted and grounded in love,”
“because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts,” (Romans 5:5.) it would be
impossible for them to comprehend the exceeding riches of the love of Christ.

“May be able,” It means “to seize, or to grasp for your own.” Paul is praying that we may
have the power to lay hold of, or comprehend Christ’s love for us. This is not something
we can accomplish apart from God’s divine power.

Every child of God knows the love of Christ in some way, but we do not all know it to the
same extent. Some are babes in Christ, who, like all babies, are quite self-centered. They assume that Christ loves them because they are so loveable! But as you grow in
Christ, you begin to see how wretchedly sinful your heart was and, apart from God’s
preserving grace, still is. And yet, wonder of wonders, He still loves you! You grow
deeper in Christ’s love as you realize that He loves you in spite of all your failures and
sins. Comprehending Christ’s love requires God’s supernatural power, because it is not
naturally discerned.

“With all saints,” This is a reference to all believers. It references all those who are set
apart from the world unto God. Paul wants all believers to understand the love of God.
“What is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” We are presented with four
dimensions: “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height.”

These are the dimensions of God’s love for us. Verse 17 ends with love and verse 19
starts with love, and these four dimensions are talking about God’s love for His people.
What is the breadth of His love?

Chapter 2 verses 11 and following tell us that His love is broad enough to take the
Gentiles, who were called uncircumcision, and to bring them together with those who
were far off (verse 13) and make them near by the blood of Christ. To take Jew and
Gentile and make them one (verse 14) and break down the middle wall of partition and
abolish the enmity.

What is the length of His love?

Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the
world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Now look at chapter 2:

Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his
grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

The length is from eternity in the past till eternity. Christ’s love extends from eternity to
eternity. It is an eternal love that will not let us go! 1 Corinthians 13:8 says, “Charity
never faileth”; that’s its length, it’s eternal. God tells us, “I have loved thee with an
everlasting love,” Jeremiah 31:3.

What is the depth of God’s love?

How deep is His love? The depth of His love caused Him to leave the glory of heaven
and His exalted position there and come to this earth to be born as a baby. It moved
Him to go to the extreme suffering of the cross, where “For he hath made him to be sin
for us, who knew no sin:” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

His love is deep enough to reach us when we were dead in trespasses and sin. As
Charles Wesley wrote, “Amazing love, how can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die
for me?” His love is truly amazing!

What is the height of God’s love?

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath
blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

His love lifts us up to our exalted position of being seated with Him in the heavenly
places:

Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly
places in Christ Jesus:

You cannot know the love of Christ or grasp these four dimensions without having first
been strengthened by the Holy Spirit in the inner man and having Christ dwell in your
heart through faith:

Ephesians 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye
might be filled with all the fulness of God.

“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” This is Christ’s love to us.
The word “know” in this verse expresses experiential knowledge. Paul was praying that
they would experience the love of God that surpasses knowledge.

How can we know a love that surpasses knowledge? There is so much more to know
about the infinite love of Christ. However, this does not mean that we cannot know
anything about it, or that we can know only a little about it. In fact, we are to grab hold of
the breadth and length and depth and height of the love of Christ. We can understand it.
“That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Paul asks that we would “be filled.”
We cannot fill ourselves with the fullness of God. It only comes from Him. Note, it comes
from Him as we are filled with His Word.

The word “filled” has the idea of being “controlled.” For example, in the Gospels it says,
he was filled with anger, he was filled with rage, he was filled with wrath, filled with
malice. It means that one attitude dominated or controlled them. Muse on this thought.
Paul says later in this Epistle that believers are to, “Be filled with the Spirit,” meaning
that we are to be controlled by Him. So, the question is how are we controlled by the
Spirit? We appropriate the controlling grace of the Spirit through the means of letting the
Word of Christ richly dwell within us. I think the same is true with the fulness of God.
When we are controlled by the Word, we are controlled by the Spirit, and thereby
controlled by the fulness of God.

McKee Road Baptist, we need more than a casual acquaintance with the Bible. God’s
Word is to dwell in us abundantly. It is to saturate us. It must become part of our very
being. It must transform the way we think and act. This can only happen as we read it,
memorize it, and meditate on it to the point that it controls us.

Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that
we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
“Now to Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.”
Paul again alludes to God’s power. To be able one must have power.
In other words, we can have confidence that God will grant this request to grasp and to
know all the dimensions of His love; in fact, He will do more than what we can ask or
imagine.

Jeremiah 32:17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy
great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:
Consider this: This all-powerful Creator loves us:

“Exceeding Abundantly.” Simply said it is “above or beyond, above or beyond what we
can ask or think.” God is unlimited in power.

“According to the power that worketh in us.” (Consider, Ephesians 1:19-20.) In other
words, there is an extraordinary power available to believers, a power that can
accomplish far more than we ordinarily think or imagine. It comes by the Spirit. It is
provided by the riches of God’s glory.

Paul put it this way in Philippians:

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Can we do all things through Christ? Consider the Scripture verses that precede verse
13.

Philippians 4:11-12 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in
whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I
know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to
be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

What Paul is saying here is that whatever circumstance he finds himself in, he can
handle it through God’s enabling power. This spiritual truth applies to all who live in
dependence upon Christ:

Ephesians 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages,
world without end. Amen.

“Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus.” It is fitting to say that glory be to God
in the church and in Christ Jesus, because it is through them that men and angels will
see God and will glorify Him.

God saves people who were formerly dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1-3), seats them
with Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), and builds them into His Holy
Temple (Ephesians 2:21), He is glorified.

“Throughout all ages, world without end.” This is a mixture of time and eternity. The idea
is that God is to be glorified forever and ever, beginning in this age and continuing into
eternity.

“Amen.” Here, we all are invited to ascribe glory to God by saying along with Paul, “Amen!”

Conclusion:

Oh, how we fail to realize Christ’s love for us. This is one reason why it is
so important to mediate upon his love for us. We need to muse upon it. The times we
think that God has forgotten us, the times that we do not believe that he loves us,
should be a reminder that we are not thinking on his love for us.

Consider His love for you tonight!

A sermon by Pastor Don Thomason of McKee Road Baptist Church in Bakersfield, California.








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