Monday, October 5, 2009

Colossians, chapter one and two

1 ¶ Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,
Paul is greeting this church at Colossae on behalf of himself and Timothy, the young Pastor he has mentored and considers his spiritual son.
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice that this is written directly to this church. Compare this with Ephesians opening.
Ephesians 1:1 ¶ Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
3 ¶ We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
Are we even praying for those people we have actually led to Christ every day? Do you even remember them?
4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
Two principles here. They have faith in Christ and the love the saints, their brothers and sisters in Christ.
5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
They had, as we had, hope laid up in heaven for us, based on the gospel. Remember, the saints at Colossae have been with the Lord now for two thousand years.
6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
The word of the truth of the gospel has brought forth fruit since they day they first heard it. They know the grace of God in truth.
7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;
Epaphras is mentioned also in Philemon as being a prisoner also along with Paul.
8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.
Paul learned about about the Colossians’ love from Epaphras.
9 ¶ For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
Paul claims that he has not stopped praying for them and that he wishes that they be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
There are specific aspects of God’s will for us that are clearly written down in 1 Thessalonians;
1Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
Here, abstaining from sexual sin allows you to be set apart or sanctified for God’s purpose.
1Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
We must always be thankful in every thing, both in distress and in comfort. A lack of gratitude is the beginning of falling away from God.
It was God’s will that we be delivered from the world by Christ.
Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
We are born again by God’s will.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
There is also God’s will in the matter of direction we are to take.
Romans 1:10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
You ask for permission. You don’t tear off half cocked in the direction you want to go which a careful reading of Paul’s roundabout journey to Rome will make quite clear.
We are to be looking for His will in our lives, not our own, and not what other people think ought to be His will for our lives. Let’s get that straight. There are specific patterns of thought that Paul lays out for us. Be sure you are never going to know God’s will unless you follow these simple but difficult statements.
Romans 12:1 ¶ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity(notice that giving is a gift); he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without dissimulation (a lie which conceals the truth or what we would call hypocritical or fake). Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. 17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Of course, most of us will make up our own definitions of those things to say we are following them and then also make up what God’s will is. The modern person, Christian or not, is almost incapable of telling themselves the truth. We have a hard time distinguishing our own will from God’s because for too many of us the only god on the throne of our hearts is ourselves. It’s not uncommon for a Christian to be mean, hateful, selfish, and self righteous and then say they are acting in love. Go figure. Churches tend too often to seem to be asylums for frightened, self righteous, busybodies and too rarely assemblies of saints who love God, love His word, and love their brothers and sisters.
They’re never going to know God’s will for their lives in wisdom and spiritual understanding until they start questioning their own motives and conclusions. Oh, by the way, a conclusion is that place where you have decided to stop thinking. Always be open to God’s will and yield to His Spirit. His specific will for you tomorrow may be different than it was today.
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
There are three things in this verse, three consequences of knowing His will with wisdom AND spiritual understanding (remember Solomon was wise above all men but did he have spiritual understanding?). Walk worthy of the Lord in a way that pleases Him. Be fruitful in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God.
How many of us Christians are concerned, not in walking afraid that we might mess up or look bad or have some other Christian judge us as inferior spiritually, but are concerned about walking worthy of the Lord in a way that pleases HIM? How many times have we done what appeared to be good works, doing them for the Lord, and had absolutely no result? It’s a real faith killer to go off on a tear doing things “for the Lord” and getting no results. Before long you can start doubting Him, doubting your faith, and just assuming you’re so worthless he can’t use you when you weren’t seeking HIS WILL in the first place. How has your knowledge of God increased, say, in the last year?
I mean, who here thinks they know everything about God? You should be always learning about Him and His will. The Christian who thinks he or she knows everything about God and His will is eventually going to stop reading his or her Bible, stop praying, and stop uniting with other believers on a given day in prayer, hymn singing, and corporate worship. These Christians, like Alexander Campbell, often go off and start a cult.
Again, a conclusion is a place where you have grown tired of thinking.
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
He’d like to see us hooked into God’s power, and what follows from that being strengthened is not leaping tall buildings with a single bound or stopping runaway locomotives but true strength which results in patience and longsuffering with joyfulness. This is true power, not the ability to deadlift a ton.
12 ¶ Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Once again, having a thankful heart is essential to our salvation. Our thankfulness and gratitude helps make us worthy to enjoy our inheritance with all the other saints.
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Remember the darkness?
Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 ¶ And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
John 1: 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 ¶ And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
What is darkness and how does it comprehend, understand, or conquer anything?
Genesis 15:12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
The word, darkness, is used around 28 times in the Book of Job.
Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
As usual, there is a lot more to the Bible than we can easily see. REPEAT THE VERSE SLOWLY.
We have been translated into Christ’s kingdom. Enoch was translated.
Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
We will not see the second death, the eternal death. As it is shouted by street preachers, “Born once, die twice, born twice, die once.”
In the thinking of eternity where time as we know it means nothing, see that we HAVE ALREADY been translated. It’s a done deal. Look at this past tense verse.
Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
And if you don’t think you can be in two places at once by God’s power then think on this verse.
John 3: 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
Your appearance, your angel, already sits in heaven with Christ.
Matthew 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
Notice that an angel represents an individual and, for all practical purposes, is that individual.
Judges2:1 And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.
You have been translated into Christ’s kingdom and freed from the power of darkness.
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
It is only through Christ’s shed blood that we have been redeemed and with that, the forgiveness of our sins. Our bodily resurrection is contingent on this.
Romans 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Which we wait for.
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Notice the way even is used here, as throughout the Bible, to link two concepts synonymously; redemption and forgiveness of sins. There is no redemption without the forgiveness of sins. No forgiveness without Christ’s shed blood.
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
God has a body, soul, and spirit just as we do. But His can act independently whereby if one of ours is separated from the rest we become physically dead although all unsaved people have a dead spirit. Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. The phrase, the Son of God, with a capital “S” is not about God engaging in carnal relations like the Muslims think the Christian God claims to have done. It is about God being in the form of flesh. Notice these verses.
Isaiah 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.
John 1:49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
The phrase “only begotten Son of God” refers to the many claims in ancient times, such as Alexander the Great’s claim, that he was the son of god or the gods. The Bible declares that only once in history has God walked in the flesh of a man and that was in the form of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
Was it Christ, the body of God, the image of God, who walked with Adam in the garden? Was it Christ who Moses saw face to face on the mountain? Was it Christ’s appearance or angel who spoke to the Israelites in the verse mentioned previously in Judges 2:1? Is not Christ, the very image of God all through the entire Old Testament interacting with the saints of God either physically or in the form of His angel?
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:
John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
This includes the spiritual beings that occupy the universe above us.
Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
This verse makes it clear that Jesus Christ, not “dark matter” or “dark energy” holds the universe together.
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.
Christ is the head of the church, not the Pope, Billy Graham, a Jack Hyles clone, or any organization or conference. He was raised from the dead never to die again, the firstborn from the dead. Enoch and Elijah were carried out alive, remember, and Lazarus had to die a second time in the flesh. His resurrection is our hope and what we wait for if we aren’t taken out first.
1Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Christ has the preeminence by virtue of who He is. The Holy Spirit always points to Christ. There is nothing in the Bible that says that the Holy Spirit is to have preeminence over Christ. God saves you through your belief and trust in Christ not in the Spirit or in God the father. It is possible to believe there is a God and still go to Hell, even to believe in a Spirit of God and go to Hell. Christ is preeminent.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
This is the testimony of both Old and New Testaments and it determines who a translation should be judged. Jesus is to have the preeminent place in all things and this pleases the Father. The fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily in Jesus Christ. If the translation downgrades the preeminence of Christ then it should be tossed. I have shown you how all modern translations tone down Christ’s importance by attacking His deity.
20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
Go back to verse 14 again. God has made peace with us by the blood of Christ, God’s own blood. All things have been reconciled to Him by the cross. This is why there are no unclean animals anymore, why Peter was commanded to break the dietary laws of Leviticus. There are no ritual unclean things at all. Jesus Christ has cleansed everything. There are no holy days, every day is holy, no rituals, no priestly class, we have access at all times to the throne of God directly. There is no physical temple or altar, because our bodies are God’s temple and the only altar is in our own hearts. Even the house of God is the church which isn’t a building, set apart or not, but is the people. We are living stones built on the foundation of the Saviour, washed by His blood, and sanctified by His word.
Jesus Christ has done this through the blood of His cross.
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
This is the start of a very long sentence. Remember Ephesians 2.
Ephesians 2:1 ¶ And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 ¶ But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
This is the essential point of our salvation. False Catholic and Protestant groups of so called Christians have made us look to be a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites and add that to our own behavior as Bible Believing Christians we have a terrible image before the unbelievers. We have peace with God through Jesus Christ, not through faithful church attendance, pristine moral behavior, regular giving, hymn singing, door knocking, or tract handing. Our righteousness is Christ’s, not of our own making.
But, it’s very difficult to make a stand and to not seem to have a “holier than thou” attitude. It takes thinking about what you are doing and careful thought about what you are saying. Finally, it takes letting the Holy Spirit control your speech and thoughts and letting Him in conjunction with your own mind have your speech seasoned with salt.
It is not “become a Christian and be like us” but “believe and let Christ have His way with you.”
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
His death on the cross ALLOWS FOR US to be presented unblameable and un reproveable before God. Notice how God looks at His saints. Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom.
Genesis 13:12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
He sat in the gate as judges and powerful men did.
Genesis 19:1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
And yet what does God say about Lot?
2 Peter 2:7 ¶ And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
What about that carnal judge named Samson?
Hebrews 11: 32 ¶ And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Samson is included in with David? And David? Remember his sins of adultery and murder?
So, it is clear that while the saints of God are far from perfect and in some cases far from even being good something else is counted toward our salvation.
Romans 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 ¶ Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
So, our faith is credited to our account for righteousness.
Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
There is a lot more to be said about that but let’s finish looking at the verses because we have a problem. It looks like you can lose your salvation in verse 23 but this is a clear reference to you being blameless at the judgment seat of Christ because we have already seen that your salvation is complete. We’ve already graduated from “can I lose my salvation” and we are now at “what if I don’t measure up”.
1 Corinthians 3: 11 ¶ For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
2Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Those who would use this as a proof text that you can lose your salvation are of the same stripe as those who use the verse about reconciling all things as that even Satan will eventually be saved. We have already established a doctrine by many, many verses so why keep asking for a baby bottle after you have been able to chew meat. This verse proves that there is no such thing as “easy believism” in that, while your salvation is assured, you can’t just do whatever your flesh pleases or your mind desires because even the Christian will be held accountable for his actions and intents.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
I think the greatest sin you can commit if there is one sin greater than another is unbelief. There are many Christians who say one thing but live as if they don’t really believe it. Is God a real and present person in your life who is a part of your life or is He just an idea, a standard you aspire to in the best of times? Apparently, in politics, many of those who claim to be Christians really don’t seem to believe God is really there. That’s why I shudder when a Republican starts talking about family values because he probably is just pandering to what he believes is his constituency. When his affair comes to light we then feel cheated on ourselves. What about in our lives?
Once again, I’m not talking about you judging someone’s salvation by your opinion that they are more carnal than you, therefore they must not be saved. I’m not talking about your self-righteousness but about both yours and their true and living faith in a risen Saviour.
24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
Paul suffers to prove that his ministry is an extension of Christ’s ministry. The following are some verses to consider about Paul’s suffering.
Matthew 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Philippians 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
2 Corinthians 1: 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
Romans 15: 8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
This is not to say that Paul was equal to Christ or that he suffered in Christ’s place but to say there is a similarity. We should distinguish between the suffering that Christ would have Paul do for Him and the suffering that Paul brought on himself by ignoring the Holy Spirit. A careful reading of Acts will show you that you should be careful of claiming persecution in Christ’s name as your glory when you were just trying to be a pain in the neck because of your own ego and impulsiveness.
There will come plenty of persecution and suffering your way if you’re doing right. I don’t believe you impress God very much by simply starting trouble and then getting a dose of the whip for it.
Galatians 6:17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
And finally, the church is not a building. It is the people, the body of Christ on earth. We are not sitting in Christ’s body, we are Christ’s body. Why do Christians have such a hard time with that concept? We have adopted the Roman Catholic notion of what a church is and we ignore the Bible’s definition over and over in our speech.
The early church had no buildings set aside to meet in. They met in people’s homes or in a business before or after hours that was offered to them. Church buildings didn’t become used, buildings that were nothing but places to meet, until toward the end of the second century.
25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Paul has been given the dispensation to the gentiles, the manner of which God dispensed grace to the Gentiles to fulfill the word of God.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
Preachers like Clarence Larkin have pointed out how the Church Age was hidden from the Israelites like a valley between two mountain peaks. What was hidden to the Jews due to their unbelief was revealed to Gentiles and Jews who would believe. There are only three groups of people now; unsaved Jews, unsaved Gentiles, and the Church.
1Corinthians 10:32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
Both Jew and Gentile in this age must receive Christ to be saved. There are some so called Christian preachers preaching otherwise and that’s just wrong. There is a preacher named Hagee who is preaching that Jews can observe the law still and be saved, that they don’t have to receive Christ. He will answer for his condemning people to Hell by his error.
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
The riches of the glory of this mystery is a type of fulfillment of Old Testament passages which will ultimately apply to saved Jews in the Tribulation and on into eternity.
Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jeremiah 32:40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.
Then in regards to Christ Himself generating a people for Himself.
Psalm 22:30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Preaching by warning and teaching to make each person complete and finished in Christ.
29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
Paul’s labor, his efforts are according to God’s working.
John 15:5 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.
If Christ is not an active part of your ministry you will accomplish nothing. Don’t assume that just because you included Christ’s name in some effort you are putting forth that He has blessed it or has anything to do with it. Keep in mind that nothing is required of God if He has not blessed or been asked to bless what you are doing. Just because I say, “This is for Christ”, that is not a magic mantra that guarantees success. Did you ask Him if this is what He wanted? Is what you’re doing His will or yours?
Chapter 2
1 ¶ For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;
He is troubled for the Colossians, for the Laodiceans, and for us. Here is a rundown of the problem with the Laodiceans which can be run aside our own walk of faith. It’s not that we aren’t a giving people, many attend church regularly if not every time the doors are opened, read their Bible, and pray. But….
Revelation 3:14 ¶ And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
The Christian culture, which means the “I-go-to-church-like-you-go-to-the-bar-or-shopping” crowd, the I-dress-right-and-you-don’t” crowd, does not necessarily by their works have a passion for Christ. They are about as cold as any nominal believer who’s home asleep or watching TV now. This, going to church, is just what they do. It’s their Moose Club, their Sunday morning flea market, and their way of feeling like they’ve got something over on the lost person who is reading his morning paper right now. As I heard one lady say years ago, while in a church (as in the building) on Christmas Eve, “this is just what we do on Christmas Eve”. She wasn’t there because she wanted to be with other Christians to worship the living Saviour. She was just following the dictates of the Christian culture. She’d have been a faithful Muslim if she had been born in Saudi Arabia.
There’s no thought to it, no heart for it. We just follow the crowd. I wonder about some of you children when you are no longer under your parent’s thumb. Will you still unite in worship with other believers at least once a week or every few days? Or will you find a reason to disappear? What are you thinking about it right now, I wonder? Are you only here because you have no other choice and this is where your friends and family are? Or are you here because you love Christ and love the brethren? At least if you were cold you wouldn’t think you were on fire. But being lukewarm gives us a false sense of security.
2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
Here is a wonderful wish, that our hearts be comforted, being knit together in love. He wants us to have a full assurance of understanding in the mystery of God. How can you have a full assurance if you don’t know what God says in His word? How can you have full assurance if you don’t know if you’re saved or how to be saved or if you believe you are always in danger of losing your salvation?
How can you have full assurance of understanding if you don’t even know what parts of the Bible pertain to you doctrinally? How can you have full assurance of understanding if you think of yourself as a 10th century BC Hebrew under the theocracy set down by the Law?
How can you know anything about the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ, if you use a Bible that perverts the Scriptures and downplays, even denying the divinity of Christ?
By the way, we are supposed to love each other and all through the New Testament that is commanded.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1st Corinthians 13 defines the nature of a Christian’s love for the brethren just as Ephesians 5 tells us all to submit to each other but for the wives to submit to their OWN husbands, so we are to love everyone but our love for each other is to be different and more defining of our part in the body of Christ.
3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
This is a great statement. All true wisdom and knowledge proceeds from God and Christ and all true wisdom and learning begin with a knowledge of God and Christ, and that can only be certainly accomplished by knowing His word. You can’t know the God of the Bible unless you know the Bible. I realize there are some exceptions to that when a Sudanese Sikkuk Christian only knows that he is trusting Christ and has never seen a Bible and even is willing to die for Christ then God has accomplished this through the Holy Spirit. But, we in this country have no excuse.
4 ¶ And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
It is very difficult to be deceived if you are in your Bible and know it. Christians are very easily deceived, those who don’t know the Bible, because they can be led astray by every wind of doctrine, wanting to be fed only by a sermon because they are too lazy to feed themselves with the word.
Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
We have been beguiled by the development of a “Christian culture” in America that is not Bible but seems like it could be. We’ve invented additional times we must attend church that Paul never envisioned or we’re reprobates. We’ve invented things that we feel are necessary in worship that aren’t anything to do with the “old time religion” and yet, if we don’t use them, we are carnal. We’ve adopted “godly” clothing that the people in the Bible never heard of. We’ve created buzz words and trade jargon that not only turn the unbeliever off because he doesn’t understand them but because they remind him of a self-righteous crowd’s talk. These words are often used in the Bible but not in the same way we use them.
We cling to time periods as being saintly and worthy of mimicry, like say, the turn of the 1900’s, the Twentieth Century, when Christianity was actually headed rapidly toward its lowest point in the west, which the Apostles would have thought was a time of apostasy.
We love any hymn, almost, written before 1950 that has a few “God” and “Jesus’s” sprinkled through it no matter how doctrinally in error it is or how misleading to the new Christian simply because we’ve always sung it. We talk about things that happened in those times, and we don’t realize that they never happened. When you examine the history of the so called great revivals you get some chilling facts which come to light that would shock you, like how, in the North, women of the church would descend on a community before the revival and bully the bar owners into being willing to close on the nights of the revival. This I learned in my study of the origins of the Welfare state which was brought on my Yankee post-millennial pietists who believed neither in a rapture or a millennial reign of Christ afterwards but wanted, like the religious left, to bring in the kingdom of heaven on earth and create a “Christ-like” utopia.
The average fundamentalist church will only attract people who grew up in one and have strayed. It is rare that an unbeliever who has never had any direct experience in their youth with a church body will darken the doorway. Modern fundamentalism has become Satan’s dog and pony show while the liberal churches are nothing more than a place to talk philosophy.
Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
In wars like the Civil War and World War One the fundamentalist old time religious church pulpit was totally taken over by the federal government as a propaganda tool. In this last age of the church we have been beguiled.
We need to get back to the Bible, to God’s words in the Bible, and the Bible alone and turn from America’s godless Christian culture where Mom and Dad have no problem sending their child to an “Acquire the Fire” event where they can be indoctrinated with “Christian” rock or “Creation” events where all sorts of wickedness goes on behind chaperone’s backs or where a person can be controlling, bigoted, mean spirited, and hateful but as long as they give well, dress ultra modestly, door knock, and never miss a church service they are ooookay.
5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
This is another one of those phrases we use, being with you in spirit. He joys in their order and in the stedfastness of their faith. That’s a tough thing for us today. In those days the standard of living for the common person was very low. We can’t even imagine it. What you were likely to lose if you resisted the powers that were when they commanded you to burn incense to the emperor and acknowledge that, he too, was a god, was death. We don’t usually get called on to risk death but we won’t even risk a few of our material possessions to stand for Christ. We’re not afraid of being executed, we’re afraid of losing our stuff.
Let me ask you this, let’s suppose a president was to command you to do something that you knew was not what God called you to do in His word. Would you be willing to turn from Christ and do it? To be patriotic? Would you do it to keep from having your property confiscated? How stedfast will you be for Christ?
Before World War One, Germany was not our enemy. The German Empire had been rated very highly in its humanity by British observers. Americans, many of them of German descent, had no desire to go to war with Germany. The Kaiser had not had a war in his nearly two decade reign. He was not very warlike. The British Empire, on the other hand, was evil. They had been responsible for the deaths of nearly 20 million Indians in the late 1800’s in what has been called The Victorian Holocaust. We had fought two wars against that empire. Even after World War One the British would practice aerial bombing by dropping bombs on helpless villages in their domains. They supported and then turned against Israel decades later. The Arab armies that attacked Israel at its birth decades later were led by British officers in many cases. The mess we are dealing in Iraq was started by the British Empire.
However, in the conflict that ensued in Europe, our Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, was fanatically devoted to Great Britain. And even though his 1916 campaign slogan, AFTER the sinking of the Lusitania, was “He kept us out of the war”, his born again Christian Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan, resigned because he claimed the president was trying to start a war with Germany to support Britain.
When Wilson determined to go to war to prop up the British Empire, he enlisted by propaganda and force thousands of fundamentalist and liberal preachers to preach war from the pulpit. If you, a preacher, were not willing to preach fiery death to the barbarian Hun, the savage Germans who allegedly bayoneted babies and killed women and children (which the British never seemed to have a problem with either), you would lose your church and many went to jail. There were many, whose names are practically forgotten who refused to fly the flag in the pulpit and to preach the lie that the German empire was a threat to our freedom. They stood for Christ and the Bible as ambassadors of a heavenly kingdom, and refused to be a mouthpiece for the government, supporting thuggery and murder.
Later, a former Marine Corps general, Smedley Butler, would give a famous speech entitled, “War is a Racket” where he showed that World War One had nothing to do with defending America from threat and that the boys who died at the Marne and Belleau Wood did not die for our freedoms or to save our country but died for a lie, to aid in our defense of a dying empire in a war that would have ended in a stalemate had we not intervened. The ground was now laid for the Second World War.
Would you stand for Christ and against what others would call patriotism to keep your pulpit? Your possessions? Your freedom? Many thousands burnt incense to the emperor in World War One, in a manner of speaking. What would you do?
What will you do when the current President or a future one launches an initiative in the name of national security that is based on obvious lies and falsehoods? Our current President has monetarily supported a coup in the country of Honduras all the while condemning it publicly. He’s no different than any other politician. When they say you can’t preach against homosexual behavior or abortion from the pulpit what will you do? Will you be stedfast for Christ by your faith and obedience?
When your relatives and friends mock your faith will you still keep faithful? What will it take to knock you off your feet? You’ve already been labeled by the government subversive as a right wing extremist so what will you do when the government insists on mental health screening not only for your children but for you? The government has already labeled you as a threat. The only thing that remains is to label you mentally ill and remove you from society, their society. You WILL be told to renounce your faith, just as the first and second century Roman Christian would have been by saying it’s okay to believe what you want but you have to believe this to or at least say you do or you’re going to be committed, for your own good AND for national security. What will you do?
6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Here are some basic instructions for the Christian. Remember, how when you first were saved, before you really knew a whole lot how excited you were and how quickly you were in danger of seeing this parable come to fruition in your own life.
Matthew 13:18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Become rooted in Christ by becoming immersed in His word, waiting on instruction from the Holy Spirit and obeying immediately. Follow the Bible, not cultural Christianity, and do not allow your faith to be dampered by doing things that are not in God’s will but, in your mind, for God. Thanksgiving is an essential part of faith. It’s a consequence of faith and obedience.
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
1Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Philosophy is empty. It’s a forever wrangling about right and wrong, rights and duties, and the meaning of life apart from the Bible. It is man’s constant worship of his own intellect and powers of reasoning. Philosophy is a denial of God.
A famous politician once said that Jesus was his favorite philosopher. That politician was an idiot. Jesus was no philosopher. He is God. God is not a philosopher. He’s not producing empty words about what He thinks. God is the source of all knowledge and wisdom as it says in verse 3.
Philosophy is vain and empty and is a gross deceit.
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Let me review. The fullness of God dwells in the body of Jesus Christ. Jesus, God the Son from eternity, is the body of God. I refer you back to verse 15 of Chapter one. Let’s review our components again. We are created in God’s image, both male and female (Genesis 1:27); consisting of a body, soul, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). God also has a soul (self identity and rational thought), God the Father, a body in which His fullness dwells, God the Son, and a Spirit through which is will is communicated to creation, the Holy Spirit. God’s components can function independently but in harmony. Ours can’t. If YOUR soul departs your body is dead because it is corrupt.
The Lord Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. The Son of God, capital S, is God in the flesh. The Son was only begotten once in history in the form of a man. That was Jesus Christ. When you looked at Christ you saw God.
John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
This is a reference to spiritual beings above us. He is over them all. They have no power that is beyond His reach. They are the rulers of the darkness.
Ephesians 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Ephesians 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
We are complete in Christ. Everything that makes you feel as if you aren’t is coming from someplace other than God, for the purpose of confusing you, hurting your walk with Christ, and damaging your testimony.
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Our body and soul have been separated in an operation of God much like Christ was resurrected through such an operation.
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.
By our faith in the risen Christ, God has separated our flesh and our souls. In the Old Testament, under the Law, still evidenced in the Gospels before Christ’s resurrection, the body and the soul were said to experience death. What happened to one happened to the other. After the resurrection the flesh and the soul are spoken of separately.
The three parts of a human being are specifically mentioned in this verse;
1Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And further on, in the Tribulation letter or epistle of 1 Peter;
1Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
Here is what our water baptism symbolizes, being buried with Him in death and rising with Him, as a symbol of our own resurrection to come. When we receive Christ we become a new creature.
2Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
But we also expect a resurrection body.
Romans 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
1Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
But don’t expect to be raptured IN this body that you are wearing now. I think you’ll leave it behind and freak a whole lot of people out.
1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 ¶ Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
I don’t know as the unsaved will see the rapture so much as they will see the consequences of it with planes crashing, cars careening off of other cars, and people just dropping physically dead as their souls depart to be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Now, when is the last trump, when we receive our resurrection bodies? Some say its right here, the seventh trumpet.
Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Others say that we’ll immediately receive resurrection bodies when we’re raptured.
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;
It would seem, judging by the context that this “uncircumcision of your flesh” is a reference to the action by God above in verse 11 whereby a saved person’s soul and flesh are cut asunder so that the sins of the flesh do not damn the soul, not the Jewish circumcision required by God for Abraham and all of his descendants. The unsaved are dead in their sins, as it says in Ephesians, the “children of wrath” and the “children of disobedience” in Ephesians and later in Colossians.
Christ has made us alive with him AND forgiven us all our 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;
Leviticus 18:4 Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.
The Law was against us and was in the way of our peace with God, and Jesus nailed it to His cross, removing it as an obstruction. We would do well to quit trying to put ourselves and others back under it. The Law is God’s standard of righteousness and shows us that we, as the Jews were, are totally incapable of keeping it. Many of us make our own little versions of the Law, adding things we keep pretty well or like, and judging everyone by, not God’s Law, but, say, Bill’s Law, or Lisa’s Law. Then we can determine whether or not someone is saved or carnal based on our own standard. This is wickedness.
One doesn’t like movies but has no problem with television. Another doesn’t do illegal drugs but is totally dependent on legal, prescription or over the counter medications to get through the day. One doesn’t smoke but can’t stay away from candy and sweets. One isn’t an alcoholic but they are a glutton. And so on. One godly man makes sure his wife dresses like a homeless person but he dresses like a strutting peacock.
Christ has nailed the Law to the cross. The Judaizer’s, the synagogue of Satan, if you will, keeps wanting to make Old Testament Jews of us all. They’ll face Christ for that.
15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Verse 10 says that Christ is the head of all principality and power, and now it is said that he has defeated them. Here’s another clue as to the nature of these principalities.
Since the fall of Adam, Satan has been the god of this world, See 2 Corinthians 4:4, in all his power and glory. Under him rule a vast host of wicked spirits over the kingdoms of mankind.
Jeremiah 13:18 Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Whether a world political leader be a reprobate like Clinton or Bush, or a man espousing high principles like Carter or Reagan, they will be under the operative control of Satan once they assume power no matter what their intentions beforehand. The whole world lies in darkness.
1John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
But God’s love is stronger than all of those wicked beings above us.
Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God has reached down through the thousands of miles and years to reach us under this sea of evil and to snatch a people out for Himself.
Habakkuk 1:14 And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?
Mark 1:17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
Satan and all of his minions were defeated at the Cross and at the empty tomb.
Luke 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
16 ¶ Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Oops, here we go. We love to judge each other by what we eat and drink, our honoring of holydays each week, things like Christmas and Easter, and all sorts of rituals and observances that are a mere shadow of Christ. Many things we do, while not Biblical, are not wrong, unless we make them a burden and a chain to others. They are a shadow of things to come. It is we as the body of Christ that are important to Him, not our slavish devotion to a certain set of rituals.
For someone to say you will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ for every sermon you’ve missed is an amazing thing to me in light of these verses.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Mt 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

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, 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.
It’s very simple. It’s all about Christ. Everything else, from angels to feigned spirituality and false humility, mean nothing compared to the head of the body we are, Jesus Christ, in Heaven.
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,
Why do we, as a people get stuck back in unnecessary rules and regulations and rituals? Because it makes us feel more spiritual.
21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
He mentions here dietary restrictions which he handled very well in Romans 14. Read it.

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.
The spiritual disciplines we have that don’t have to do with the fruit of the spirit or in a direct and positive way in which we follow Him are just so much worship of our own will. For instance I get up every morning and do a short Bible study after I pray. If I make this a habit, an act of self-discipline, rather than a voluntary expression of my desire to know God’s word then I am worshipping my own will and not God.
God is essentially a Libertarian. Everything you do for Him NOW must be voluntary and not simply an act of your own will. You should arrange your life so that you can have a relationship with Christ and that the things you do don’t have to be forced or strained observances of religious ritual. But, since ritual is so comforting to most, it is often easier to simply say “I go to church on Sunday morning. That’s just what I do.” What if you were given by God a chance to minister to someone who was dying that very morning? Would you go on to church because that’s what you had to do regardless of the Holy Spirit offering you an opportunity to be a part of salvation in someone’s life?
Bob Jones, Sr. said “Duties never conflict”. Your primary duty is obedience to the Holy Spirit’s calling, not slavish devotion to ritual and the expression of your own goodness. Trust me. If you don’t show up on time because you are helping a hurt person across the road or witnessing to someone in the convenience store, I’ll understand.
I’m not saying; use the excuse of spontaneity as a means of avoiding duties. The church, as an organization could never exist like that. What I am saying is that there is a line between the worship of Christ and the worship of your own self-discipline and will.

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