Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Well-Dressed Christian

Recap:  The Colossian Message:  "Christ is Sufficient"  (for all Spiritual needs).
 ie:  to (1) gain salvation
      to (2) secure salvation
      to (3) grow in your salvation

Therefore:  no need to ADD to His work and should not REMOVE from His Person  (Col. 2:9)

The previous text said:  You were spiritually dead (disconnected, insensitive to), intimacy w/God broken by sin.
                                    God made you spiritually alive (Born Again in Christ) - His work.  He does it!!!
                     and          You were baptized into Christ (into the family, the Kingdom).  Not talking about water baptism.  That is a picture (symbol) of the spiritual baptism.

So, in light of all the above ... Col. 3:1-2 = "look to Him for all your spiritual needs"
and  Col. 3:3-4 = this is already a reality.  Even though no tangible measure in this life.
At His coming, this will = a visible reality!!

"therefore" because of what He's done, is doing, will do ...  here is an appropriate/ proper response for the believer:   Col. 3:5-14 - Put Off - Put On Concept

I.  Put off the Old 

II.  Put on the New
Col. 3:5, 9-10, 12
Using clothing analogy = "the properly dressed believer"

This implies:  (1)  Choice of clothing/ behavior.  There are 2 closets - the world's closet and God's closet
YOU decide what to wear!!

                   (2)  Action - more than just a decision = "Putting On!!" - taking up and responding

God does His part:  examples = new birth, Holy Spirit within, written instruction, etc.
YOU must do your part!!! ie:  choose and clothe self!!  - Put off & Put On.

Question:  How should a believer dress?
Answer:  like a believer!!! - Col. 3:12 - "chosen" , "holy - set apart (position), "dearly loved" - by God
Live and act in such the way God sets for the believer.

1 Cor. 6:11, Eph. 4:22-25, 28-29 - 3rd. element added here - "mind" - Rom. 12:2

These lists NOT necessarily complete!!
Therefore you must  (1) make self aware of options (scripture)
                               (2) choose your outfit - Old Testament example:  Prov. 15:1
                               (3)  Put it on!! - clothe 'self = action.  James 1:22-25

and then ....
III.  Cover all with Love
Col. 3:14 - The Agape Overcoat  (outer garment)

Agape = the unconditional, sacrificial love OF God FOR Man - John 3:16

Point:  (1)  AS God loves you/people ... so you are to love others

BUT ...(2)  "love" is NOT one of the clothing options.  Rather = the covering under which all other garments lie.
Matt.  22:36-40

Another parallel passage:  Rom. 6:11-14 (a)

So... Christian ... (1) you've been born again (anew)
therefore,            (2) put off old garments (those contrary to God's will)
                           (3)  select new wardrobe
                           (4)  Put them on!!!

unfortunately ... this is not a 1 time experience!!!  Have to re-choose, re-dress every day!!! - over and over and over.

to the Not Yet Christian - this is not a mystical, magical thing.  BUT does = a real, spiritual experience!! - something happens.
You can practice some of this without Christ, however the Born Again experience, beginning does not take years to achieve.
"Born Again" = the work of God in You.  Change of nature comes only from God.  Surrender to that!  To Him!!

Monday, August 24, 2020

Col. 2:9-3:3 Christ is Sufficient

Primary message of Colossians  - written because of the heresy that had started in Colosse.  - Colossian Heresy - add to the gospel, take a bit away from the gospel
Message =  Christ is Sufficient:
for ALL Spiritual needs!  to GAIN salvation and to KEEP salvation!!

Therefore, adding to His work = unnecessary and distorts the gospel
taking from  His Person and work(s).  Distorts the gospel and misrepresents God.

Today's Passage = Col. 2:9-3:3 - "nailed to the cross" = the ceremonial part of the Law.  Christians not obligated to the ceremonial law.  That was fulfilled with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  Are obligated to the Moral Law - that hasn't and doesn't change.

I)  You were dead (spiritually)
II)  God made you alive (spiritually)
III)  You've been circumcised (spiritually)
IV)  You've been baptized  (spiritually)

Question:  Why is Paul saying all this?
Because he wants it understood ... IF you've accepted Christ (by faith), THEN you are firmly and securely established in Christ!!!  There is nothing you need ot ADD to that!!!

V)  Don't Submit to the World's Rules.  This does not mean the rules of nature, science, creation.
 = religious, philosophic, moral dictates of man
VI)  Submit to Christ; follow His Rules

I)  You were spiritually dead - (not physically dead)
ie:  A.  separated from  the Source of Life (Spiritual, Eternal)
     B.  (largely) insensitive to that Source (Holy Spirit) - to spiritual things.  1 Cor. 2:14

II)  God made you spiritually alive - Col. 2:13 with 2 Cor. 5:17-18 - God did it!  FOR you and TO you!!
    (1)  God *Holy Spirit) convicts (convinces)
    (2)  You decide, open self to Him
    (3)  He does the work.... you don't add to it!!!

III)  You've been spiritually circumcised
      Originally circumcision was a sign of the Covenant with God (example:  Abraham - Gen. 17)
Here = the putting offu, cutting away of the old man, sinful nature.  Col. 2:11 - old nature is removed - have new nature - positionally but not necessarily experientially
Point = you've been received into and recognized as one of God's chosen

And, so
IV)  You've been spiritually baptized   Col. 2:12 - hence, example:  Baptism formula used here:  "buried with Christ, resurrected to walk in the newness of life" - Rom. 6:4
Point = You are a new creature, cration, person .... in Christ!!!
      By the WORK of God, by the Reckoning of God (declaration of God) = "saint"
Not basing salvation on the person, but on the work of Christ!
You are fully accepted by God!!  And securely established in Christ!

V)  Don't submit to the world's rules
Again... this is not talking about the rules of nature, science, creation.
Rather = religious, philosophic, moral dictates OF MAN!!
ie:  you needn't follow Man's rules to establish or secure your relationship with God!!!

Two Questions here:
#1.  "how then should I live?"
Options - A)  in response to the dictates of the world (man)
               B_ in response to the dictates of God, Christ

#2.  "how then should I decide?"
Answer = (a)  take a good look at the world ... not only its arguments and reasoning, but at the outcome of its reasoning.
then (b) do the same with Christ!!!

This is not an issue of preference!!  (what you like!)
This is and issue of what is RIGHT!!!

VI)  Submit to Christ; follow His Rules - don't add to, don't take from

Words of Christ - Matt. 7:24-27 - wise man and foolish man.
Question:  Where you going build your house???   On what are you going to establish your life??

Monday, August 17, 2020

Colossians continued

Text today = Col. 2:1-10

Jesus warned of false teachers, and false teachings.  (appearance looks good, sounds good, but inside = false)  Matt. 7:15-16, preceded by Matt. 7:13-14 - truth = narrow and specific.  Therefore, watch out for people who try to lead you astray.

Heresy = don't deny the faith, but water it down by adding to it.
This proved true in the early church (hence the Colossian Heresy) and remains true today.
Examples:  Jehovah's Witness, Mormons, Universalists, etc.

Thus, the relevance of the Book of Colossians!

Paul says in Col. 2:1-10 -

I.)  Don't Be Deceived - Col. 2:4, 2:8  (led astray)

This doesn't mean drift away .... due to neglect, indifference
It means enticed away (seduced) to follow false teachings

By ..."fine sounding arguments, hollow philosophy, deceptive philosophy" - example:  eggshell arguments - look good on the outside but no 'meat' inside

(A)  Doctrine (truth) Matters - it = what you build on!!!
1 Tim. 4:16 - what we believe!
                    why we believe it!
                    How to respond to it (live)
We have to understand the truth!!!!

(B)  Christian doctrine is built on revelation, not speculation.  1 John 1:1-3, Col. 2:18-19
Hence = Apostolic Authority - 1st. hand information directly from Christ.  The Apostles got this directly from Jesus Himself - personally

(C)  A "fine sounding" argument is not necessarily a sound argument. - Gen. 3:1-6
Compare:  Matt. 4:1-11

Satan AND false teachers use ;;;;
(1)  a "fine sounding argument" - example - Adam and Eve
and (2)  a semi-biblical argument - example:  Jesus' temptation by Satan

AND people persuaded because are not grounded in Christian doctrine!!

II.  As you have received Christ ... so walk in Him
Col. 2:6-7

Rooted ... IN THE FAITH!
Built up... IN THE FAITH!
Strengthened .. IN THE FAITH!
Eph. 4:11-15

and "overflowing with thankfulness" - Paul is big on Thanksgiving.
If you recognize your blessings, and acknowledge blessings, are more apt to stay on track!!

So... I)  don't be deceived ...
       II)  as received ... so walk....
(A)  All fullness dwells in Him - Col. 2:9  
(B) In Him you find your fullness - Col. 2:10
Compare:  2 Pet. 1:3
(1)  don't make Him less than He is  (Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, etc.
(2)  don't feel the need to add to Him!!

SUMMARY ... (1)  don't be deceived  (misled)
                         (2)  Put your faith (confidence) in Christ
ie:  come to Him, surrender, accept, etc.
            then      (3)  as received ... so walk .(continue)

This does not address all the issues of the Christian life. ie:  the way you walk is not found in how you get salvation, but follows salvation.
This makes a simple overview!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Col. 1:28 - 2:10

Paul is battling "Colossian Heresy" - says Christ PLUS other stuff. This happening to newly established church. False teachers coming in - teaching must have Christ PLUS. Paul contradicting these teachers. 

I. Paul's Struggle (labor, efforts) he = "laboring" to BUILD the church - through evangelism, discipleship, preaching, teaching, training, traveling - overseeing the churches - often from afar --- not from prison!! Includes .. laboring in prayer!!! Especially Intercession!!!

For Paul - building the church = building the Kingdom!!
This viewpoint we should share!!!  ie:  to build OBC = to build God's Kingdom

This requires WORK, LABOR, STRUGGLE   Gal. 4:19-20
Compare the "struggle" of raising Kids!!

II.  Paul's Purpose - (in laboring)  Col. 2:2-3
   A).  Christians be encouraged (pour courage into) ... inspired to continue in the faith.  This = a ministry within itself

   B.)   Christians be United  - Eph. 4:4-6 - already united ... Positionally (in Christ)
   But,  Eph. 4:3 - must strive for Practical unity
On one hand, we are NOT going to agree on all points.
However, we can (and must) make effort toward peace and co-operation!!  Matt. 5:9

  C.  Christians gain understanding - (of Christ, of the Gospel)
Note:  Col. 2:2 ... "so that..."
In other words, ... that encouragement and unity Result in Understanding!!

Question:  How can Encouragement and Unity lead to understanding?
1 way would be in the atmosphere they create!!
ie:  an atmosphere wherein people  (A)  learn about Christ
                                                     (B)  encounter Christ

Generally speaking, a divided church does NOT Connect People to God!!

For us/OBC ... we should WORK at Encouragement and Unity in order to create an atmosphere in which God works!!!

Col. 2:6 - "as received .... so walk...."  (from KJV)

Paul struggled because he was building the Kingdom
      Should give people courage
      Seek and pursue unity for gospel witness' sake
      When this happens, people come to a knowledge of Him.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Colossians Study continued

Col. 1;21-29 - refuting the " Colossian Heresy" - that need more than the gospel for salvation.

I.  The Work of the Gospel - Col. 1:24 - (work = for the gospel to be presented, etc.)
    Doesn't mean that Christ's work is lacking and Paul must complete it!
    However means that sacrifice and suffering still needed TO build the church, develop the body.

Col. 1:24 NAS - "my share"
Paul does all this for the body of the church.  A church will not grow and thrive without work!
Col. 1:28-29 - Question:  HOW TO  "labor in His energy"?
                       Answer = (1)  WORK - (go and do)
                            AND   (2)  TRUST - = Paul and God.  Can't do it without God, but God tends to do it
WITH you!!!!
Compare:  Phil. 2:12-13

II.  The Commission of God - Col. 1:25  (with Col. 1:1)
Paul's commission = Apostle ... BY God's commission, calling, appointment, arrangement
YOUR commission = _________ BY God's commission, calling, appointment, arrangement

We are all given ...  (A)  the GREAT Commission - Matt. 28:19-20
                      also, (B)  a Local Commission - 1 Cor. 12:7, 11, 27 - this is not just for Paul
If you are called to a particular church, you have a job to do in that church.  You are part of the body and must function for the body as a whole to function.

III.  The Mystery of the Faith - Col. 1:25-26
The mystery is NOT a riddle to be solved.  Rather = a truth undiscoverable without divine revelation.
The Gospel is not something we must figure out by sleuth!  (investigation, genius) - as per the Gnostic Gospels.
Rather the Gospel = something unknowable until God revealed the answer!  Example:  death, burial, resurrection of Christ!

The "Good News" WAS "kept hidden" but NOW revealed and available to ALL!!!  "No Secrets!!!
Maybe incomprehensible, but not secret.

IV.  The Hope of Glory
by definition = the expectation of glorious things (promised us)
Col. 1:27 ... "Christ in your IS YOUR hope of glory"
Confidence in Christ (faith) comes from 2 sources:

(1)  Objective Evidence - (external facts) ie:  miracles performed, prophecies fulfilled, words of Christ, the Resurrection
(2)  Subjective Experience  (internal experience as here!!)
Rom. 8:9-10
Gal. 2:20
Eph. 3:17
hence the picture of Christ knocking at the door of your heart - Rev. 3:20
2 Cor. 13:5
Christian should possess Both objective evidence and subjective experience.

Closing Challenge:  Col. 2:5 - "as Received ... so walk..."

The Challenge,  the charge = Examine....
    (1)  Your reception OF Christ - did you receive Him as Savior and Lord?
    (2)  Your walk WITH Christ - are you giving proper response to your Savior and Lord?

Colossians was a personal letter .... from Paul to Christians at Colosse.  BUT, through the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, it becomes a personal letter ... FROM God.... TO.... YOU!!!

What are you going to do about that???