Christian Love

5 06 2020

“Christian Love”
1 John 4:7-11

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 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. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”

Introduction:

Love is the premier Christian language. It speaks loudly both to the outside world as well as to other believers. Christians ought to be known for their love above all else. We see in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is the fuel for Christian service.

After speaking on spiritual gifts in chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians Paul explains in chapter 13 verses 1-2 that these gifts mean nothing if not accompanied by love as their motivation. Verse 3 tells us that giving to others and even sacrificing ourselves means nothing if love is not the root motive.

Paul goes on to describe Christian love and what we find is that it’s a description of true Christianity because true Christianity is in essence a life of love. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says that love is longsuffering, and humble and does not envy.

Paul says it doesn’t behave itself in a wrong manner, is patient and does not think evil. It rejoices in truth and it endures, it doesn’t give up, it presses on. When Paul describes love he is describing how the Bible in other places says a believer should live, and think and endure. He describes fruits of the Spirit.

We are commanded to love even our enemies.

“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” (Luke 6:35)

What does this mean in a practical way? Well it means to be patient, to not think evil, to be forgiving. It means to be humble with others and even sacrifice ourselves for them.

“For us to hate those who are in error, or talk of them with contempt or wish them ill, or do them wrong is not according to the Spirit of Christ. You cannot cast out Satan by Satan, nor correct error by violence, nor overcome hate by hate. The conquering weapon of the Christian is love. “ C.H. Spurgeon.

We are commanded to love the brethren.

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

In fact loving the brethren is a sign of true salvation.

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35)

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John 4:20)

My Grandpa is a great example of this. He grew up in a very racist South and was raised to hate black people. All of his life even into adulthood he hated those who looked different than him and would let out a racial slur without hesitation.

When he became a Christian everything changed. I only knew him as a Christian so I never experienced the other man but I witnessed my Grandpa hug black men in church calling them brother so and so. There was love where once hatred existed. That is the love of God shed abroad in his heart.

“He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2:9-11)

Sermon:

Let’s take this passage apart and examine it first then we will make application at the end.

“Beloved…” (1 John 4:7a)

Our text starts off with the word “beloved.” Let’s put this on hold and come back to it at the end. Look at the rest of the verse.

“let us love one another…”

If you had any doubt let this command put those doubts to rest. We are to love each other. It doesn’t put a qualification on it.

Whether we like each other, agree with each other, or anything else we must have a genuine love for one another. This means we have to love on purpose.

“for love is of God…”

We reflect the love of God because God is love and we have His nature in us when we are saved. Look back at verse 7.

“and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

This goes back to what I said previously that our love demonstrates that we are truly saved. A saved person cannot hate because he has the nature of God in Him and the Holy Spirit. Do you hate? Then you don’t know God. You still have the old nature. Let’s go to verse 8.

“He that loveth not knoweth not God…”

Why? Why would we say you don’t know God if you don’t love? Continue in the verse.

“for God is love…”

That’s why. God is love and we are being conformed to His image, we have received His Spirit, and we have been given His nature therefore we will have His characteristics like love. Go on to verse 9.

“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.”

Love is action not feeling. God’s love was manifested, or demonstrated. How? God sending His only begotten Son into the world. The giving of Jesus for us was the love of God on display.

In the same way our laying down our lives for others is a display of the love of God in us. If love is mere words then it’s not the love of God. The love of God is demonstrated by action. It’s easy to say you love someone but when you lay down your life for them that’s love in action.

When you put their needs and desires before your own. When you care for their happiness before your own, when you stop asking how they can meet your needs and start saying how can I meet their needs that is the love of God. Move on to verse 10.

“Herein is love…”

Or here is an example of the love of God. John is going to give us two examples of the love of God. Let’s take the second one first.

“…and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

We nearly always see the love of God spoken in direct context of the offering of Jesus. The reason is that God’s love is not mushy emotionalism but action. God loved us in a visible way. Consider the references to the love of God in the following passages.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

The term “God so loved” could also be said “God loved in this way.” It’s love in action.

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

The word commendeth means to demonstrate. Again it’s love in action.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

We see here again love in action because it was through the offering of Jesus that grace was extended to us

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16)

Now I want to draw your attention back to the first descriptor John gives about the love of God.

“Herein is love, (or here is an example of the love of God) not that we loved God, but that he loved us…”

The love of God was not a response to us loving Him first. Too often we love those who love us or do good to those who return it back to us. Not so with the love of God. He set His love on me when I was in sin and rebellion.

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

If we are living the love of God then we are going to love those who are our enemies, I mean truly love them in action not just in words. If we are only loving those who love us back we are not demonstrating the love of God.

“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:27-36)

Let’s go back to 1 John 4 verse 11.

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”

If God so loved us, another way to say that is if God loved us this way then we ought to love one another in the same way. We are to love each other the way we have been loved. We who have received mercy should be merciful and we who have been forgiven should be forgiving, and we who have been unconditionally loved should love unconditionally.

This is why I wanted to circle back to the opening word in verse 7, “Beloved.” We are beloved not for anything we have done or any good in us but because He has chosen to set His love on us. In that same way we must choose to set our love on others based not on their worthiness but our having been made beloved ourselves.

What is Christian love? How do we make application of what we saw in the text? Let me give you three basic applications.

1. Love for the Christian is a reflection of the love of God.

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” (Vs. 7)

The love of God is put into us and flows outward. As believers we take on the new nature or the nature of Christ. We are simply reflecting outward the love that God has shined inward in our hearts.

2. Love for the Christian is intentional.

“For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people.” (Deuteronomy 7:6-7)

God set His love on the nation of Israel. He chose them to be a special people among the nations. He did this that so that they would be a reflection of His love to the nations. The very purpose of the nation of Israel was to make Him known among the Gentiles.

We see very similar terminology used of us as Christians. We are chosen of God according to 1 Peter 1:2, and we are to be a peculiar or special people according to 1 Peter 2:9. That verse also says that we are intended to show forth Christ to the nations.

We can conclude from this that God set His love on us intentionally and purposefully. This is how we are to love others. We are to choose to love them and to love them on purpose.

3. Love for the Christian is action not feeling.

We are not called to simply feel feelings but to live out the love of God. This is how God loves. When we see the love of God in the Bible it’s largely in demonstration.

Christian love is putting the needs, feelings, and happiness of others before ourselves a literal laying down of our lives for someone else. It’s not a rewarding of those who already love you but a seeking out of those who don’t and showing them love.

It’s easy for us to avoid those we don’t like in church and just grouping with those who share our interests or viewpoints. We justify ourselves by rationalizing that we are loving them by keeping peace and not fighting with them. There is one big problem with this: God’s love is never demonstrated as inaction.

God’s love is action. We are not showing the love of God by avoiding those we differ with. We are showing the love of God by engaging them and laying down our lives for them by not arguing small differences or demanding they do things our way.

I hope this gives us a better understanding of love in the life of a Christian. We each need to ask ourselves if we are loving with the world’s love or the love of God. There is a big difference isn’t there?

I tell the men in prison don’t look to Hollywood for love, look to Calvary for love. The love of God is totally different than this world’s love. If we love others in the church the same way unbelievers love each other then it’s not the love of God.

Our love should be radical, intentional, self-sacrificing, and always, always, always demonstrated by action.

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)

Rick Garland





Our City of Refuge

3 06 2020

Sunday Message…5/24/20

Our City of Refuge
Hebrews 6:17-20

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Hebrews 6:17-20)

Introduction:
I love the book of Hebrews. It was written to people considering a return to the Judaic system. They were on the verge of abandoning their faith and going back to the old ways.

The book is really an urging on in the faith. It’s a call for endurance and patience in the Christian life as well as a stern warning not to turn from the way of salvation (Heb. 2:1-3; 10:38). Hebrews demonstrates the superiority of Christ, His priesthood, his sacrifice, and the new covenant.

In these verses he is addressing the surety of Christ. The counsel of God in saving a people through Christ is immutable or unchanging and then He bound Himself with an oath. This gives double confidence both in the counsel of God to save and the oath He took since it’s impossible for God to lie as an attribute of His nature.

He speaks of fleeing to Christ for refuge as foreshadowed in the Old Testament with the cities of refuge. The immutability or unchanging nature of God is a strong consolation for us to lay hold of the hope set before us. Our confidence is related to the fact that God cannot lie and does not change.

These are days of uncertainty and people are experiencing change along with the uncertainty. We should not be tossed to and fro on these waves of doubt, fear and uncertainty. We have an anchor and as the text says that anchor is steadfast and sure.

The same source of refuge we fled to for salvation should be the place we find refuge in trying and uncertain times. God is the same, He doesn’t change. He is as sure now as He was in the more “normal” times.

The God who walked with Adam, spoke to the prophets, swallowed the rebels of Korah, rescued His people from Egypt, led them to the promised land, was born in Bethlehem, healed the sick, cast out demons, died at the hands of sinners and rose from the dead is the same one who ascended to the throne to reign declaring all power (which means authority) was given to Him.

This same Jesus sits enthroned today and He doesn’t change. This is why He is a refuge for us both in salvation and everyday life.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Uncertainty has been very common throughout church history. The American Christian experience is not normal it’s actually a very rare experience historically speaking. We have it easy compared with the previous 2,000 years.

Now for the first time we are facing uncertainty. A new virus spreading, jobs lost, a crumbling economy, churches closed and society basically on lock down. How do we handle this?

Everyone whether saved or unsaved is facing this question. The answer comes down to worldview. We can’t ask what the “proper” response is because the word proper is relative. What’s proper to one person may not be to another.

We can’t seek the “American” response because Americans are typically split between conservative and liberal ideals. If we try to find answers by clinging to our political “side” if you will then we are finding answers in the same place the unsaved are. This means our answer cannot be decidedly Christian, which also means our worldview can’t be decidedly Christian.

For believers we have to answer these questions from a place the unbeliever can’t and that place is the Scriptures. This is the only infallible place to find answers in these troubling times. What God has spoken is perfect and it can be trusted.

Sermon:
What does the Bible says about these uncertain times? Let me encourage you to rest all of your concerns on 2 specific truths.

1. God is sovereign.

“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” (Ephesians 1:11)

I can’t emphasize this enough God works all things after the counsel of His own will. Everything is subject to the Lord. The same God who is unchanging and cannot lie governs the entire universe.

One preacher said there is not a maverick molecule. Everything does God’s bidding.
Let’s do a little review of what is under God’s control. I caution you this list is not exhaustive.

1. Life
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” (Acts 17:24-26)

2. Death
“Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass.” (Job 14:5)

3. Economies
“The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.” (1 Samuel 2:7)

4. Elections
“This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” (Daniel 4:17)

5. Weather
“Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word.” (Psalm 148:7-8)

6. The heart of government leaders
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” (Proverbs 21:1)

7. Natural disasters
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil (calamity) I the Lord do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7)

Consider the book of Jonah. God sent a storm to drive Jonah into the water, and directed a fish to carry him to Nineveh. God directed a plant to grow to shade Jonah then directed a worm to eat the plant when Jonah was complaining. This story brings our attention to the fact that everything is subject to the counsel of God’s will. This even applies to… you guessed it, viruses.

8. Viruses
“I have sent among you the pestilence (disease) after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.” (Amos 4:10)

God is not caught off guard by anything… ever. If the Christian can’t find rest in this truth then they are without hope. Christ is our refuge, the immutable one who is sovereign over all things.

The world is missing hope. Our hope is found in a real God, with unchanging promises and a perfect divine nature. If we lose hope where will the world find it? If we can’t find refuge and hope in Christ we are as Paul said “of all men most miserable.”

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28:18)

The risen Christ declared that all power or authority had been given to Him then He ascended to the place of honor at God’s right hand. I don’t think viruses, or economies are exempt from this declaration.

2. All things work together for our good.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Sometimes I feel like I’m beating a dead horse by quoting this verse but we as Christians need to grab on to this verse with both hands. Nothing ever works to the detriment of a follower of Jesus. I wish we could grasp Paul’s confidence when he says “we know.”

There is a confidence in those words that we need especially right now. We know that all things work for our good because according to verse 29 He is using all things to
conform us to the image of Christ.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Every trial and every heartache molds us into God wants us to be. This means that every bad thing is a gift that we must receive from the Lord. Even the seemingly bad things are gifts from God to make us more like Jesus.

This is why we’re told in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 that we need to give thanks for
everything. It goes against our nature to give thanks for “bad things.” If we understood that all things were for our good then giving thanks would be a natural overflow of that reality.

We can look to Jesus as the ultimate guarantee that God is working all things for our good.

“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 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?” (Romans 8:31-32)

If God did us good by giving Jesus for us then He won’t stop doing us good. At the height of His suffering Jesus was in the will of God. When He seemed the most defeated He was actually victorious.

Conclusion:

How do we make application of these truths? My mind goes to a story out of Mark 4:36-41.

“And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

The disciples were afraid for their lives and Jesus is in the boat asleep on a pillow. He was confident that God the Father was in complete control and that He would not die without accomplishing His purpose which was to glorify Him through the cross.

We should have the same restful spirit knowing that God is sovereign and in complete control and that He is working all things together for our good to glorify us together with Christ. We can’t say “well that was Jesus, He could have that kind of confidence.” Does God have less control over circumstances today?

Does He have no purpose for us? Does He care less for our well being than He did for Christ’s? The answer is no. We should have the same restful, trusting confidence in God as Jesus did on the ship, or on trial, or on the cross. If you are not saved, I urge you to flee to Christ for refuge. Turn to Him and be saved.

We become children of God by calling on His name. If you haven’t done that I welcome you to. Don’t trust your good works or religious affiliation. Don’t go on in sin when an offering for sin has been made and accepted by God.

For Christians who have found refuge in Christ we often need to be reminded both of God’s
unchanging nature and His oath. He cannot lie, He will bring us safely to glory. We need not fear viruses, crumbling economies or increasingly tyrannical governments.

God is sovereign over all things and all things work for our good so what have we to fear? Let’s rest that’s what taking refuge means. Let’s rest in the safest place in existence, the hiding place of the Almighty God.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)

Rick Garland





Christ, Who is our Life

27 05 2020

McKee Road Baptist – May 20, 2020 Wednesday Evening – Coronavirus Emailed

Colossians 3:1-4 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not
on things on the earth. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (4)
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Paul had all these things, his life was constantly characterized by peace, joy, and
contentment. If you know anything about Paul, you know that he didn’t have good
circumstances in his life, but yet he was at peace. Why? The answer is found in:
Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Paul said that life to him was Christ. Paul lived only to serve Christ, commune with
Christ, love Christ. He has no concept of life other than Christ. He is his reason for
living. To Paul, Christ was life. Paul lived this out practically, because he knew that it
was true positionally:

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear
with him in glory.

Paul says to believers, “Christ, who is our life.” He is the source of our life. This is true
of physical life, but he is talking here about spiritual life, everlasting life. Because this is
true, Christ should be the goal of our life. He should be the purpose and fulfillment of
our life.

When we can come to the point in our lives that we can say, Christ is my life, that is
when we will be able to say, life is good! Believer, remember this each time that you are
unsatisfied with life. You are unsatisfied because something other than Christ is the
focus of your life. Christ will never disappoint us!

These first four verses of Colossians 3 summarize the first two chapters of the letter
which concern doctrine: the truths of the Christian faith. And they launch us into the
second two chapters of the letter, which concern ethics; how to live the Christian life.
Let’s examine these four verses:

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

The word “if” is like saying the word since. Since you were raised with Christ. That God
has already raised us with Christ, is an assumed fact:

Ephesians 2:5-6 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:

Since we have been raised up with Christ, we are commanded to “seek those things
which are above”. In order to obey this command, we need to understand two things:
what the “things above” are, and what it means to “seek” them?

What are the “things which are above”? The Greek word translated “above” is ano. It is
only used 7 times in the New Testament. We will look at a couple of its uses, to answer
what “things which are above” are:

John 8:22-24 Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? Because he saith, Whither I go,
ye cannot come. (23) And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye
are of this world; I am not of this world. (24) I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in
your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

Here Jesus says that the unbelieving Jews are from below, and that He is from above.
The contrast here is between the natural and the spiritual. This is also seen in the use of
ano in:

Galatians 4:22-26 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid,
the other by a freewoman. (23) But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the
flesh, but he of the freewoman was by promise. (24) Which things are an allegory: for
these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to
bondage, which is Agar. (25) For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to
Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. (26) But Jerusalem which
is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Here the contrast is between two covenants; one is fleshly (natural), and the other is
spiritual. So “things above” are spiritual things, supernatural things.

We do not need faith when we deal in material things. We taste, feel, see, and touch
material things, but faith takes us into another arena. Faith takes us into a spiritual
stratosphere. There we can see things we could not see with a material viewpoint. Faith
is the spiritual telescope that brings the things of God near to our heart. We can,
therefore, see things we could not otherwise see. Faith puts reality on intangible things.

Eternal things are real, but they are only real to those who have faith to see them. It was
written of Moses:

Hebrews 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he
endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Moses was focused on things above. Moses practiced the presence of God. His eyes
were on the king of kings and not the king of Egypt. The “things which are above” are spiritual things, as opposed to the physical or fleshly, we need to ask: “What does it mean to “seek” them?”

The word “seek” is a command. This is the Greek word zeteo, expressing continuous
action, we are to continuously seek spiritual things. We see this same word used in:

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all
these things shall be added unto you.

The word “seek” here is the same Greek word zeteo, which means: “to seek, to desire
to worship.” It is a hungering, desiring, seeking. It is a matter of a hungering, desiring,
worshiping spirit; it is to seek with a desire to worship. We are to seek with a desire to
worship the things which are above.

We are to be hungering, desiring, seeking the things above. The believer is exhorted to leave behind the concerns which he has over earthly matters and to fix his attention solely on the matters which are heavenly. Paul tells us at the end of verse 1 that “above” is “where Christ sitteth on the right hand
of God.”

Paul was responding to those who were seeking to diminish Christ’s role as
mediator, inasmuch as the right hand of God is a metaphor for the place of supreme
privilege and divine authority. We can determine what this statement means by referring
to other Scriptures, where the meaning appears to be clear.

In Genesis 48:8-20 we find Jacob (Israel) being brought Joseph’s two sons, laying his
hands upon them shortly before his death and blessing them both. In verse 17, we see
Joseph trying to remove his father’s hands from off his children and swapping them over
so that his right hand rested on the firstborn son, Manasseh, for it was the firstborn who
had special rights concerning inheritance.

Genesis 48:19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also
shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be
greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.

The right hand is a position of superiority over and above others and of greater blessing
than being positioned at the left hand. Notice that in Genesis 48:19 Jacob says clearly
that Ephraim “shall be greater.” The right hand is a place of honor above all else and all
others.

Jesus has been elevated into a position that can be neither equaled nor bettered. He is
the supreme Head over all things, something which Paul has already stated in different
words in Colossians 1:15-20. There is no other position that can possibly exist that is
more elevated than the one that Jesus now occupies.

Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

“Set your affection” is from phroneo and means to: “think,” or more thoroughly, “have
this inner disposition.” We are to be continually setting our mind on the things which are
above.

Stop and consider how earthly minded we truly are. Most of the time our attention is
centered on things right around us. It is a natural tendency as we are earth dwellers. It
is natural for us to think about our jobs, our material possessions, our finances, our
health, and the people who are important to us.

We must be aware that we can become trapped in this earthly minded state. If we are
not careful, we will lose our ability to see beyond the natural into the spiritual.

Remember how Jacob’s eyes were opened, and he saw a flight of stairs between earth
and heaven, with spiritual beings ascending and descending:

Genesis 28:12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top
of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

He became aware of the spiritual realm. We should desire to be more aware of that spiritual realm. I recall the story in 2 Kings 6 of Elisha and his servant. Hostile forces were surrounding them, and the servant was terrified. All he saw were the forces that the King of Aram sent out. Elisha saw the forces as well, but he also saw far more. He saw not only the natural but the supernatural as well. And he prayed for his servant, that God would give him eyes to see the supernatural reality of the situation.

2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may
see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the
mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

He is not talking about his physical eyes here but his spiritual eyes. There is a spiritual
reality that most people are totally blind to. As believers, we should want to see that
reality. We should want to be more aware of God’s working in that invisible, unseen
realm of the spirit. Like Elisha’s servant, we often need to have our eyes opened so that
we can see beyond the physical.

This is one of the fundamental problems with the current condition of believers today.
So, many children of God live their entire lives without ever understanding who they are
in Christ and what the provision is that Christ has made for them.

Paul is reminding us of who we are in Christ and of how important it is to see ourselves
from that perspective. He’s showing us that how we live our lives on earth depends on
our having a heavenly perspective.

In the first two verses Paul says it twice: “seek those things which are above… Set your
affection on things above”. In other words, concentrate your attention on eternal
realities. Do not simply look at what is happening around you. Concentrate on that
which does not pass away.

So, what does it mean to “set your affection on things above”? It means that in the midst
of your daily routine, your heart and mind are constantly focused on Christ. It means
that you find your identity and purpose in Christ, and not in the troubles of life. Whether
that is your job, you spouse, your children or whatever. You are to understand that
God’s grace is sufficient for you; that is where your heart finds contentment in Christ’s
promises.

People who keep their priorities in order, keep their lives in order. People who have
happy marriages are happily married, because they have made their marriage a priority.
If you keep your priorities in order, you can keep your life in order. Paul says, “Set your
affection on the things above.”

Paul reminds the Colossians that the reason for them setting their minds on the things
above is:

Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Paul emphatically states, “For ye are dead.” Meaning for you have died once for all. For
you have died once for all.

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

He says that we “are dead to sin,” He is describing something that happened to us as a
fact. We died to sin. The question is in what sense have believers 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. the reign of sin came in through Adam and
was broken by the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul is talking here about our
position before God. Positionally, we have died to the reign of sin under Adam.

God’s Word tells us that we have a new identity in Christ. Our text tells us that two
important things have happened to us, we died and we rose from the dead. The exciting
truth here is that we have been united with Christ.

We are identified with Him and He with us. As Christians, we should never see ourselves apart from Christ. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God. We are thoroughly identified with Christ. He is our life. We are one with Him. We dwell with Him. We are not simply earth dwellers. We are heaven dwellers.

Paul goes on in Colossians 3:3 to say, “and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
There are a lot of different opinions as to exactly what this means. I won’t go into them
here. “Is hid” means that our life was hidden at a point in the past with the results going
on forever. At the point we received Christ, eternal life began and goes on forever.
Jesus put it this way:

John 10:28-29 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither
shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (29) My Father, which gave them me, is
greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

The idea of being “hidden” has the implication that what’s there is concealed and
covered to protect it. “Hid with Christ” is a statement of our eternal security in Christ.
The eternal security of the believer is a matter of our position in Christ before God. This
is something that Christ did for us. It has nothing to do with what we do. We cannot
secure this position by the kind of life we live. The security rests in the death we died in
Christ. Our eternal security before God is a matter of grace. Grace is what God gives,
not what we do.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear
with him in glory.

“Christ, who is our life.” Christ is the author of spiritual life. Christ does not merely give
life; He is life.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth
in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who
loved me, and gave himself for me.

We have come into union with Jesus Christ. We identify with Him and He identifies with
us. Our text says, “Christ, who is our life.” Having that identity has the potential to
change how we see everything.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear
with him in glory.

The word “appear” means: “to render apparent (literally or figuratively): appear,
manifestly declare, (make) manifest.” The idea is that, if the believer is securely
concealed within Jesus, then, when He appears in glory, so must they.

Matthew Henry said of this verse, Christ is a believer’s life. He lives in us by his Spirit,
and we live to him in all we do. To me to live is Christ, Philippians 1:21. Christ will
appear again. He is now hid; and the heavens must contain him; but he will appear in all
the pomp of the upper world, with his holy angels, and in his own glory and his Father’s
glory.

Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this
adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when
he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

We shall then appear with him in glory. It will be his glory to have his redeemed with
him; he will come to be glorified in his saints.

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we
shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see
him as he is.

To be like Him is to have His righteousness.

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things,
in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through
sufferings.

Matthew Henry continued, At the second coming of Christ there will be a general
meeting of all the saints; and those whose life is now hid with Christ shall then appear
with Christ in that glory which he himself enjoys.

John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest
me to do.

So, child of God, do we look for our happiness in this world or have we “set our affection
on things above?” What is it on earth that causes us to be so fond of it or draw our hearts to it? Our head, Christ is above, our home is above, our treasure is above and we will be
above forever.

Pastor Don Thomason





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!





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.








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