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.





Prayer Letter: January-March 2020

22 04 2020

Greetings:
We greet you in the name of the Lord and hope this letter finds you well. We are on lock down as you are I’m sure.The prisons are closed for now and there has been little opportunity for street ministry with so few people out and about. I was able to get some ministry work done in January and February. I pray this ends soon so that church and ministry can continue.

Street Ministry:
I was able to attend the Super Bowl Outreach in Miami, Florida. This was my 8th year attending and it was a blessing. We preached in Downtown Miami as well as South Beach. The crowds were amazing and we had many good one-to-one conversations. I know of a few who made professions of faith and many others who took tracts or Bibles.

In town we had good outreaches at the Courthouse and bus station. It seems like a lot of tracts were accepted and we had good responses to the preaching. I was hoping to preach at the NFL draft in Las Vegas but the virus panic cancelled the event. I am hoping to make a few trips to Los Angeles this summer to preach but it depends on the circumstances of course.

I gave away 15 John/Romans as well as 188 tracts. I was able to join Arks of Bulrushes ministry at the abortion clinic. We preach the Gospel and offer help to the women. We talked to 10 or so women and saw 1 turn away and keep her baby. We are in an ongoing effort to help her during her pregnancy.

Prison Ministry:
The prison ministry started off really good until services were cancelled. I was supposed to preach the Easter revival but that was cancelled as well. Before they closed the facility I was able to give away 19 Bibles, 1 Gospel of John and 2 John/Romans. I gave away 11 Christian books, 26 tracts, and preached to 195 men. I also received 126 prayer requests and corresponded with 4 men.

Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers. You can give a tax deductible donation.

Giving Instructions:
Give online by clicking the “Donate” tab at the top of the page. All gifts are tax deductible.

To give by check simply make the check out to Revival USA with Lighthouse Gospel Ministries in the memo section. You can mail it to us at:

Lighthouse Gospel Ministries
400 McKee Road
Bakersfield, Ca. 93307

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” C.H. Spurgeon








%d bloggers like this: