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Colossians
Colossians 1:19-29
Colossians 2:6-23
Colossians 3:5-25
Colossians 4:2-18

 

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Colossians 2:6-23

 

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:  rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.  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.  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:  in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:  buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 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; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.  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:  which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.  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, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and hands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.  Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments [Or, elements] of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to the ordinances, (touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?  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.”

 

“We are in Colossians chapter 2, we left off in verse 6, and verses 6 and 7 both form a conclusion to what we studied so far, and is kind of an introduction to this next part of Colossians, running up to chapter 3, where there’s then an exhortation.  We’ve come as far as verses 6-7 where it says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:  rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”  “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him…”  Paul had established Christ as Divine, Eternal, Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, the Head of the Church.  Again, addressing these truths in a city that was reflective of the Roman world [and Greek world, filled with the philosophies of men] with many different religious ideas and philosophies swirling around, and even some of those filled with half-truths, and less than half-truths, Arianism and Gnosticism [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/What%20is%20Arianism.htm] and things that, philosophies that put forth the name of Christ, but mingled it with lies.  And Paul now is challenging these Colossians, and us, “As ye therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” (verse 6)  Now,  “as ye therefore have received Christ Jesus” you know, we’re saved by Christ, we should walk in Christ.  We were saved, he’s the Living Word, not by corruptible seed, but incorruptible, which is the Word of God, here it tells us.  So  as you have received the Word of God, so walk in the Word of God.  We were born-again, not of the will of men, but of the Spirit, born of the Spirit.  As you therefore have received the Spirit, and the new-birth, then walk in the Spirit.  ‘Having begun in the Spirit are you going to be made perfect in the flesh?’  So there’s this challenge here.  ‘As you have receive Christ, so walk in him.’  You can’t walk in Christ without walking in the Word, because the Word is part of what God used in the process of your redemption, your salvation.  And you can’t walk in Christ without walking in the Word [i.e. the entire Bible, letting the Bible interpret itself].  You can’t walk in Christ without walking in the Spirit.  You can’t divide [properly interpret] the Word of God out, so that one is effective and the others are not, without God’s Holy Spirit.  “As you have received Christ Jesus,” and I think that it is very important, it says “the Lord,” not just fire-insurance, “the Lord.”   Because he established the fact that he’s Divine, he’s Eternal, he’s Creator, he’s Redeemer, he’s Head of the Church.  So certainly if he’s all of that, then when you got saved, you were saved by grace, it was unmerited favour, there isn’t anything you can do to earn it or deserve it, you are unworthy, let’s get over that and forget it once and for all, that’s the wonderful thing. That’s why the Gospel is called the Good News, because you’re unworthy and you’re going to heaven [into the Kingdom of Heaven] anyway by faith, if you trust in Christ to wash you and cleanse you and be your Lord.  But as you have received Christ Jesus, the Lord.  If you’re walking in the Word, and you’re walking in the Spirit, walking in Christ, he’s not just Saviour, not just fire-insurance, but he’s the Lord of your life too, he’s preeminent in your life.  ‘As you have received Christ Jesus, the Lord, so then continue in Christ Jesus,’ and a particular warning to those that would be drawn away by other teachings. 

 

Four Participles That Describe ‘Walking In Christ’

 

But Paul’s going to use four participles now, in the 7th verse, to describe that process, that ongoing process.  And he does it this way, he says, “rooted”, the first participle.  So we know there’s a part of our experience in Christ where we have now been “rooted” in Christ, we draw our nourishment from Christ, from his Spirit, from his Word, like a tree planted by rivers of water it says in Psalm 1.  So there is a very natural, supernatural part of this.  But then he moves on from “rooted” to “built up”, we’re building the foundation of Christ, the Apostles and the Prophets, a part of it there, where yes, we’re saved, we’re rooted in Christ, there is a continual divine flow to our lives.  Then there is a process in Christ that happens through his Word, through the Body of Christ, ah, through the leadership Christ raises up, where we continue to grow and to be built up in Christ, built up in him.  Then he uses a third participle that is “stablished”, you see it there, “in the faith.”  And that means to be strengthened.  So if we’re rooted in Christ, we’re drawing our sustenance and our life from Christ, if we’re being built up in Christ, certainly then we must be in the process of being strengthened in the faith, and as you have been taught, abounding, that’s the fourth participle, therein with thanksgiving.  I mean, why shouldn’t our lives be lives that are filled with thanksgiving?  We’ve been saved, been cleansed [an ongoing process], all unmerited, brought into the family of God, with a simplicity so profound that the world philosophers and thinkers can’t accept it.  Yet with a simplicity so profound and powerful that a child can embrace the faith and be born again and receive the things of the Kingdom.  You and I rooted in that, being built up in that, being strengthened in that, abounding in thanksgiving.  Great exhortation.  I’m not always abounding in thanksgiving.  Hopefully I’m rooted in Christ and being builded up in Christ, and I’m being strengthened.  I’m thankful 83.4 percent of the time.  Abounding in thanksgiving, he says. 

 

Beware, Be On Guard, Lest Any Man Carry You Away From The Prize You Have In Christ

 

Now, verse 8 says this, if you look there, “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.”  Next warning is going to be in verse 16 if you look there, “let no man therefore judge you…” and then in verse 18, “let no man beguile you…”  So now, because of all of those things in place, Paul gives this warning, “beware.”  And the tenses are ‘constantly be being on the lookout, constantly beware,’ “lest any man”, any human influence, “spoil you”, that is a word for conquering another army and carrying away the spoils, carrying away the booty, carrying away the spoils of war, ‘constantly be on your guard, beware, lest any man carry away from you the prize that you have in Christ, the riches, don’t let any man spoil you.’  Now look, “through philosophy.”  If you’re not grounded in Christ, rooted in him, being built up in him, grounded in him, and you go to a secular university---no doubt there are many important things to learn there, things that may be attached to your future---but if you don’t understand the philosophy that you’re going to encounter, the world-thinking that you’re going to encounter there, the world-view that you’re going to encounter there, and if you’re not careful, there’s going to be something there that tries to move you away from the simplicity and the foundation that you have in Christ.  The world will try to do that every day, under many different guises, many different ways.  The idea is if in the philosophies and the things you’re hearing in the world-view, if Christ is not preeminent in those things, then those are the things that we’re being warned about.  “Beware lest any man spoil you,” steal your riches through some battle in your mind, “through philosophy, through vain deceit, after the tradition of men,” religious practices that would complicate. 

 

Determining Proper Christian Doctrine by Sola Scriptora

 

You know, there are denominations who say to us today, as Protestants, and I guess we’re Protestants in that sense, we’re Trinitarians, we’re orthodox in what we believe, but we do believe this, “Sola Scriptora”, that the Scripture is the sole foundation for what we believe and what we practice.  If we see Jesus talked about in the Gospels, if we see practice in the Book of Acts, if we see it elaborated on in the Epistles, now we have Church faith and practice.  We see footwashing, eh, not really in the Book of Acts, not elaborated on in the Epistles, so it isn’t a mandatory part of church practice, and if you’ve ever been to one it’s embarrassing anyway, especially if they surprise it on you and you didn’t have a chance to change your socks.  [laughter]  Baptism, in the Gospels, in the Book of Acts, elaborated on in the Epistles, part of Church life and practice.  “Sola Scriptora”, I should be able to say to you what Paul says to the Church in Acts 17:11 there, he says to the Bereans, ‘the Bereans were more noble, because they didn’t believe Paul, but they searched the Scripture to see if what he was saying was true.’  Every one in this room, you have access to the Scripture.  There are people around this planet that are dying, shedding their blood, trying to get a copy of this book [i.e. in North Korea, mainland China, Burma, your Muslim and Arabic countries].  We have one everywhere, in our glove compartment, on our dashboard, in the bathroom, on the coffee table, in the Lost & Found [laughter].  We have tremendous access to the Word of God, and I should be able to say to you, “Don’t believe anything you hear me say here, Sunday, Wednesday, you have the prerogative and the right, and it’s incumbent upon you to go search the Scripture to see if those things that we’re talking about are true.  Central things, orthodox things, very important.  There are churches that say, “their authority is Scripture and Church tradition.”  And there is there the tradition of men.  We’re warned about it, taking you away from “Sola Scriptura”, the Word of God, it’s Eternal, when heaven and earth and the tradition of men pass away and are no more.  Now, you have to understand, many of those traditions, wonderful things, things to bring truths to remembrance, things that don’t necessarily contradict the Scripture.  But there are traditions in the Church, and in other religious practices that contradict the Scripture.  Those are the traditions of men.  They can’t be inspired of God, the One True Living God, of Christ, of the Holy Spirit who wrote the Scripture if they contradict the Scripture.  God’s not schizophrenic, he doesn’t write something down, tell us his Word is eternal and contradict himself 200 years, 300 years later.  So we’re warned here, we have this tremendous freedom in Christ, we have riches, we have things unimaginable that we receive by faith, that he loves us, and he’s cleansed us, and he’s called us his sons and daughters---that yes, maybe you’re a carpenter or sit in front of a computer all day or driving a truck---but the truth is, we’re sons and daughters of the King.  If people knew who we were, they wouldn’t cut us off in traffic [laughter].  And we have tremendous riches, and our life is hid in Christ with God, we haven’t even seen the beginning of it yet.  And then that way we can live in this world with hope, if a loved one goes on before us, or some tragedy happens, we have something that’s an anchor to our soul because of the truth of the things of Scripture.  And they are riches that are unimaginable.  And don’t let philosophy and vain deceit or the traditions of men take those things away from you, they’ve been bought in the blood of Christ, the Eternal God, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Redeemer who shed his blood to make those things available to mortal human beings, who are washed and cleansed [that cleansing is an ongoing process, which we have a part in] and walk in faith.  Don’t let the tradition of men, vain deceit, philosophy spoil you, like an army who takes plunder from somebody they have victory over.  “after the rudiments of this world, and not after Christ” he’s warning us in verse 8.

 

The Symbolic Meanings of Circumcision and Baptism

 

“For in him [in Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (verse 9)  “in Christ dwelleth all of the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” all of the fullness of the Godhead bodily, all that God is and was, all of his power, all of his majesty, all of it dwelt in Christ.  And there’s a great mystery there, no doubt.  [Remember on the Mount of Transfiguration, where Christ appeared in all his glory, glowing brightly, as does God on his throne?]  And it will be revealed.  But the idea is, that you don’t have to go search for the deep things of God, and sit somewhere with a blanket over your head and meditate on your navel, or crawl on your knees to a crucifix.  All of the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in Christ, in him, all of that fulness.  When you get home alone tonight and you sit there and simply say ‘Lord Jesus, here I am, search me, shine the light of your Spirit and your Word on my heart.  Deal with me.’  You need not go any further, there is no greater authority, there is no greater power.  He said, ‘All authority in heaven and in earth is given unto me.’  You are as far as you can go in approaching grace and truth and authority and power and adoption and love and mercy in Christ.  “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye [you plural] are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” because there was angel worship going on in Colossi, talking about intermediate spiritual powers and so forth.  He says, ‘no, he is the head of all principality and power,’  “in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:” (verse 11)  You know there is a spiritual circumcision.  What took place in olden Israel in circumcision was something looking forward to a greater truth.  There is a spiritual circumcision.  In physical circumcision there is a small piece of flesh cut away.  In Christ, by the new birth, there is a breaking of the power of sin in our lives, so that it no longer need be dominant.  Oh it’s there, we don’t let it reign, but the power of it is broken.  And a spiritual cutting away of the sinful nature has taken place, and the breaking of its power in our lives through Christ.  And he’s going to say there is a spiritual baptism, “buried with him in baptism, where in you also are risen with him, through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (verse 12)  So, buried with him in baptism, yeah, the baptism in water is a symbol of a greater truth, that we have entered into the death and into the resurrection of Christ.  That we are partakers in that.  Just as physical circumcision is a symbol of a greater truth, physical baptism is a symbol of a greater truth.  You know, there weren’t altar calls until probably the 16th century.  [See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/baptism/What%20is%20Baptism.htm]  In the early Church, your public stand is when you went and publicly you were baptized [which is also when many of them received the Holy Spirit.  Read the Book of Acts], and gave public testimony of your faith, that you were entering into the death and resurrection of Christ.  That was symbolic of a greater spiritual truth that had taken place in your life.  And Paul says that here. 

 

Has The Law Of God Been Nailed To The Cross or Have Our Transgressions Been Nailed To The Cross?

 

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” (verse 13)  ‘Having made alive,’ that’s ‘quickened,’ doesn’t make you faster, he made you alive.  ‘Having forgiven you’, you can circle this word, I like it, “all trespasses.”  “having forgiven you all trespasses; 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.” (verse 14)  That word “blotting out” is “obliterating.”  I like that.  “The taking out of existence 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; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (verses 14-15)  Interesting now, remember in Acts chapter 15, as the new Church is trying to deliberate exactly what is required of the Gentiles.  Peter says ‘Why put ye a yoke of bondage again upon them which was too heavy for us or our fathers to bear, why would we bring them under the Law we were unable to bear.’  And after praying and deliberating there, they decided, ‘You keep yourself from fornication, from things strangled, from idols, from blood, you remember the poor, you’re off to a good start, you’re off to a good start.’  Because the Law was a school-master to make us recognize our need for forgiveness, never something to provide righteousness.  And it says that Christ took the ordinances and obliterated them, nailing them to his cross.    [Comment:  Acts 15 was covering the issue of circumcision in the flesh which the Judaizers were trying to force on the Gentiles, along with any other ceremonial laws they could apply to them.] You know the old story of Martin Luther, in his study, translating the Greek New Testament into German, to make it available to the common people. And the tradition goes, if you go there to his study in Germany, there’s a big stain on the wall, and the story goes that as he was there, Satan appeared to him, and began to accuse him.  And he said, ‘I’m not surprised to see you,’  and he [Luther] took a quill and piece of paper and he started to write down all the accusations, selfishness, anger, lust, greed,’ that Satan was accusing him of, and he said, ‘what else, what else,’ and he kept writing, and finally after he had a long list he said, ‘Is that all?’ and the tradition says that Satan said, ‘Yes,’ and Luther wrote real big across the bottom “WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB” and took the bottle of ink and threw it at the devil where it splattered on the wall.  Well that’s what Christ did, he obliterated the law, the ordinances, the rule and regulations, the standards, the idea that through performance we become righteous.  And Paul’s establishing something, he’s not a moralizer, he’s not saying to the Church, ‘You have to do this, and you have to do that, and you can’t do this, and you can’t do that.’  He’s saying ‘By keeping those rules and regulations, you were never able to prove anything or to make yourself righteous, because it wasn’t happening in your heart.  Oh yeah, you may have kept some religious rules that made your flesh feel good, and give you a false confidence, but in your heart you were still sinful.’  And Paul’s not here to try to moralize the Church, he saying, ‘Those standards, rules and regulations never provided anything and Christ destroyed them by his work on the cross.’  And he’s saying, ‘Now there is a new work within you, through the power of the Spirit, and anything that you do should be borne out of that.  [And strangely enough, that new work within you, through the power of the Spirit yields the very same obedience to God’s moral laws, the Ten Commandments, which we have never been able to keep all on our own.  Here’s the rub.  Law & Grace has never been able to be explained the same way by the various differing parts of the Body of Christ, yet under the influence of the Holy Spirit, they all adhere to and end up keeping that same moral laws of God in the heart and spirit of their actions, right to the thought level.  Each group seems to understand an essential part of the definition of Law & Grace, while not understanding what another part of the Body clearly understands about its proper definition.  See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm

 

Another Part Of The Body Of Christ Has This To Say:

 

“What Was ‘Wiped Out’ by Jesus Christ’s Death?”

 

“The inadequate and misleading translation of a passage in Colossians 2 in some Bible versions is often used to support the flawed belief that God’s law was “wiped out” by Jesus Christ who is improperly alleged to have “taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (using the words of verse 14).  The verse in question is Colossians 2:14, which refers to Christ “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us.  And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”  Does this say that God’s law was wiped out or nailed to the cross, as many contend?  Let us first note that God’s law is not something that is “against us.”  On the contrary, it is “holy, and just and good” (Romans 7:12).  Scripture always refers to it being a blessing to humankind…Christ did indeed take out of the way something that was nailed to His cross.  But that something was the record of our sins---our transgressions---not God’s law.  A careful look at Paul’s original wording in the Greek proves this to be true.  The Greek word translated as “having wiped out” or “blotting out” (KJV) or “having canceled” (NASB) in Colossians 2:14 is exaleipho.  It means “to wash, or to smear completely…to wipe away, wipe off, obliterate” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, “blot out”).  The Scripture always use exaleipho in reference to wiping away sin, not law.  In Acts 3:19 Peter used the word when he urges his listeners to “repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away” (NIV).  In the Old Testament the Hebrew word machah---translated “wipe out” or “blot out” is (like exaleipho) used for trespasses and sins.  Isaiah quotes God saying, “I, even I, am He who blots out [machah] your transgressions for My own sake…(Isaiah 43:25; compare Psalm 51:1,9; Exodus 32:31-33).  Only sins, or people who insist on remaining sinners, are wiped out, not God’s law.  This becomes clear as we examine the next phrase that Paul uses in Colossians 2:14.

 

The “handwriting of requirements”

 

The Romans nailed two things to the cross at the time of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion:  Jesus Himself and an inscription that He was “king of the Jews”---the charge of treason against Rome for which He was executed.  But Paul adds that something else was also (figuratively) nailed to Jesus Christ’s cross---“the handwriting of requirements that was against us.”  The phrase translated “handwriting of requirements” is cheirographon tois dogmasin in the original Greek.  This is the only place it appears in the New Testament.  The Friborg Lexicon explains cheirographon tois dogmasin as a “strictly handwritten document; in legal matters a promissory note, record of indebtedness, bond; figuratively in [Colossians] 2:14 not as the law itself, but as the record of charges…which stood against us and which God symbolically removed by ‘nailing it to the cross’” (BibleWorks software, emphasis added).  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words further explains “This means a memorandum of debt, ‘a writing by hand’ used in public and private contracts, and it is a technical word in the Greek papyri.  A large number of ancient notes of hand have been published and of these Dr. Deissmann says, ‘a stereotyped formula in these documents is the promise to pay back the borrowed money, “I will repay”; and they all are in the debtor’s own hand, or, if he could not write, in the handwriting of another acting for him, with the express remark, “I have written for him”’  In the famous Florentine papyrus of A.D. 85, the governor of Egypt gives this order in the course of a trial,---‘Let the hand-writing be crossed out,’ which corresponds to the ‘blotting out of the hand-writing’ of Col[ossians] 2:14” (Graham Scroggie, forward Vine’s, Logos Library System, 1997).  The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament adds:  “The point of the metaphor of the note of indebtedness is rather to underline the previous statement…[that] God has forgiven sins.  He has canceled the note of indebtedness by taking it and fixing it to the cross of Christ” (Gerhard Kittel, 1995, Vol. 9, p. 436, emphasis added).  The language of Paul’s time associates this word with a handwritten legal debt or a penalty owed, not with God’s law. 

 

The last word we’ll examine is “requirements” as used in “handwriting of requirements.”  The Greek word used here is dogmasin, which denotes “an opinion, (a public) decree” (Robert Thomas, New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries, 1999).  This expression was used of an official handwritten sentence or charge against someone for breaking a law.  Thus the New Living Translation renders this verse as:  “He has cancelled the record that contained the charges against us.  He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.”  The Contemporary English Translation translates this verse as:  “God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses.  He took them away and nailed them to the cross.”  The New Testament in Modern English reads:  “Christ has utterly wiped out the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it over his own head on the cross.”

 

What happened at the crucifixion

 

A good way to visualize this is to consider a detail of what happened at Christ’s crucifixion:  “And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him:  THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Matthew 27:37).  Jewish religious leaders accused Jesus of having ambitions to replace Caesar as king of the Jews.  Their precise charge before Pilate was, “Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar” (John 19:12).  This explains Pilate’s question to Jesus, “Are You the King of the Jews?” (Matthew 27:11).  When Jesus refused to defend Himself, Pilate consented to the charge brought to him by the leaders of the Jews and nailed it to Christ’s cross at His crucifixion.  The handwritten decree that Pilate nailed above Christ’s head stated publicly the official charge for which Jesus was crucified.  It falsely implied that Jesus was guilty of committing treason against Caesar.  Therefore, Jesus was officially executed as a transgressor.  That charge was false.  But by accepting the death penalty for that false charge He became the substitute sin bearer for the legitimate charges that God has against us.  He “wiped out” the charges that require our death for our transgressions by taking those changes on Himself.  In so doing, He made possible the forgiveness of sin (Colossians 2:13).”  [The New Covenant:  Does It Abolish God’s Law?  pp. 110-111]  Now back to Pastor Joe’s sermon transcript…

 

“Having Spoiled Principalities and Powers”---What Does That Mean?

 

We want to see the evidence of the new birth, we want to see you walking in victory.  But not doing those things trying to be righteous, but doing those things [i.e. obedience to God’s Laws] because you already are victorious through the death and resurrection of Christ, and you have a new nature now that is drawn to a higher standard.  And he’s going to go on and develop that.  So here he’s saying, ‘We have the victory through Christ, he took the ordinances, destroyed them, the things that were contrary to us, took them out of the way, nailing them to his cross,’ and now look what he says, and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (verse 15)  So he says, ‘Don’t you be spoiled, don’t you be spoiled, don’t be like somebody whose defeated in some battle and has all of their riches carried off by a foreign army, don’t let that happen.  Don’t let philosophy and vain deceit, the tradition of man, and the rudiments of the world take away the victory that you have in Christ. Because he’s done something in your heart, and it isn’t the physical circumcision, but it’s a spiritual circumcision accomplished by Christ.  It isn’t a physical baptism, it is a reality that you’ve entered into the death and resurrection of Christ.  And it is in him you have victory because he has defeated the law and obliterated the ordinances against you [this is circle reasoning that doesn’t make sense] and then he’s taken principalities and powers, these spiritual forces behind the scenes, and he made a show of them, openly spoiling them.  Jesus is the one who had the victory, and he’s the one whose carried off the possession of that army, he’s the one who spoiled principalities and powers, and you stand in victory.  So don’t you be the ones who are spoiled by worldly wisdom and deceit and philosophy, because it’s a spiritual struggle.  So he says, ‘first of all, we have that victory in Christ, and Christ is the one who spoiled principalities and powers.’ 

 

‘Let No Man Judge You In Meat, Drink, or In Respect Of An HolyDay…or Of the Sabbath:  Two Interpretations

 

First Interpretation

 

Verse 16 he says, “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:  which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”  (verses 16-17)  The tenses are ‘stop letting any man judge you.’  Because it seems the Colossians were doing that.  ‘Stop letting people continually judge you in regards to meat,’ that’s not just meat, it’s what you eat, food.  ‘or in drink, or in respect to a holiday [the translation says “holyday”, which means God’s Holy Days of Leviticus 23], holyday, or the new moon, the Jews had a lunar feast, their feasts were attached to the full moon [or in some cases, the new moon, marking the beginning of each month on the Hebrew calendar], ‘or of sabbath days,’  “which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”  So, don’t let any man judge you.  Well certainly, let Christ judge you, let the Spirit judge you, let the Word judge you, as ye have received Christ so walk you in him.  But don’t let any man judge you.  Men will condemn you, Christ will convict you.  There’s a big difference between the conviction of this Spirit and the condemnation of man.  Condemnation drives you further from Christ.  They both feel rotten, they both feel the same.  When Satan comes and condemns you, you want to throw up your hands and give up, ‘Why should I try, I never measure up, I’ll never be able to do it, I’m no good.’  Conviction, which comes from the Holy Spirit, draws you to Christ.  ‘Oh Lord, I need to change, God give me strength, help me get through this, I never seem to change,’ you know what?  You’re pouring out your heart in the right direction, not being defeated.  So don’t let any man judge you, according to what you eat, you know, ‘Look at you, you’re out of shape, you need to go on a vegetarian diet, you’re not taking care of the temple of the Holy Ghost…’  Please, I like meat.  [laughter…I’m a meat-a-saurus too]  I’m overweight because I eat vegetables.  [laughter]  Look at carnivores and look at herbivores, compare a cow and a leopard, you’ll see what I’m talking about.  Come on, I’m just having fun here.  Don’t let anybody judge you in regards to what you eat.  I have faith, I say grace, I’m thankful for what God puts in front of me, there’s people starving all over the world.  When I say grace, I say ‘Lord, I never want to take it for granted, it may not be here next week or the week after, it’s here today.  Strengthen me that I might serve you, sanctify it, take all of the carcinogens out of it,’ you know.  ‘or in drink,’ don’t let any man judge you in regards to drink.  Now my [his own personal conviction] about this is I believe in keeping with the Scripture.  First of all, don’t let anybody give you a hard time about drinking coffee.  [he laughs]  I know, caffeine is a drug, ah, I like a cup of coffee in the morning, leave me alone.  Ah, alcohol, drunkenness is a sin, condemned by Scripture.  Wrong.  Well is it wrong for me, once or twice a year when I’m out for dinner with my wife, we have a glass of wine?  Well maybe it’s not wrong for you.  It’s wrong for me. [Understand, Calvary Chapel’s are sort of like a hospital-church which reaches out to recovering alcoholics and drugs addicts, provides spiritual healing and sanctuary for many of them, so their pastors have a no-drink policy they adhere to for themselves and anyone who serves in a ministerial capacity within their congregations, so that they not stumble any recovering alcoholic.  The Bible, the Word itself teaches extreme moderation, for those who chose to drink alcohol.]  Paul says, ‘God forbid, as the world stands, that I would do anything that stumbles my brother.’  I’m not going to let any man judge me, I’ll let the Spirit judge me.  Is the Holy Spirit telling me to order a glass of wine?  Is Christ telling me to do that?  Is the Word telling me to do that?  I want God’s best for my life.  I want his highest standard for my life.  I don’t have the right to take the money you put in the offering for God’s Work and spend it to buy a bottle of wine.  You know, our elders, leaders here are not allowed to do that, it’s one of the things we ask.  I don’t want to hear about any pastor, any elder drinking.  I think you need to take consideration, teaching in school, worship leaders, Sunday-school teachers, whatever you’re doing, your life is your first sermon.  Your life is your first demonstration of the Authority and Lordship of Jesus Christ in your life.  I enjoy the fact that my kids have grown up and never seen whiskey or beer in the house.  Believe me, without that they’ve seen enough wrong.  They’ve seen my selfishness, they’ve seen enough unChristlikeness in me, that God is still changing me.  I don’t need any help, I don’t need to give Satan ammunition and say ‘Here, shoot me in the back when I least expect it,’ you know.  Don’t let any man judge you in regards to that.  It’s wrong for me.  Is it wrong for you to have a glass of wine?  That’s between you and the Holy Spirit, don’t let any man judge you.  But certainly let the Lord do it, certainly let the Lord do it.  Your life is not your own, you’re bought with a price.  [Now understand, he’s talking in context with Calvary Chapel’s, these hospital-type healing churches for recovering and recovered alcoholics and recovered drug addicts.  Other parts of the body of Christ, where that is not the emphasis of the Lord’s work for them, have no such restrictions, but wine and alcohol in moderation, usually during meals, is part and parcel of their ethnic culture and church life, such as with the Messianic Jews.]  ‘don’t let anyone judge you in regards to a holyday,’  I remember years ago, being in the mall, it was Good Friday, and I had forgotten it was Good Friday, I was working, and I was starving, and ah, and there was this German place there in the mall, and I just bought this big sausage, it was just [laughter], and I was walking through the mall, chomping on that thing, and ran into my aunt.  [laughter, who by the way is strict Lutheran, bit of background information J ].  And she was aghast, ‘Aaah, ah, it’s Good Friday, and you’re eating meat!’  ‘ah, yeah, I don’t believe what I think you believe, because I feel ok, it’s Good Friday, the Lord died for me today, I said grace before I ate this thing, I’m thankful, this is a good Friday.’  Don’t let anybody judge you in regards to a holiday or a holy day, or of a new moon, the feasts.  Sabbath days, important.  Again, I remember somebody calling in on 610 Radio and, I just confessed that I listened to that one once in a while, when Reggie White was still playing with Green Bay, and they said, ‘If he was a real Christian, he wouldn’t be playing football, doesn’t he know it’s the Sabbath day, and he’s not supposed to be doing that on the Sabbath Day?’  I felt like calling up and say ‘Sunday’s not the Sabbath day, Saturday, sundown Friday to sundown Saturday you dummy, that’s the Sabbath.  It doesn’t say you can’t play football on Sunday, he’s not playing football on the Sabbath, and he’s not a Jew anyway.’  You read through the Scripture it says that, listen, come on now, let’s be serious.  It says that the Sabbath day, you read in Exodus, and you read in Deuteronomy, is a covenant between God and his people Israel.  And if you are going to be a Sabbath-keeper, it says in the Law that man should work six days, and rest on the 7th day…and on the seventh year you have to let your business go fallow, and your ground [farm land].  If you’re a Sabbath-keeper, every fiftieth year you have to forgive everyone who owes you any money anywhere.  The Sabbath is a big deal.  [Comment:  The entire Old Testament Law, which by the way, Jesus said was not done away with, not one jot or tittle (Matthew 5:17-19), was first given to Israel as the Constitutional laws of the land, and many of them can’t be applied to a church or church congregation.  The apostle Paul knew this, and the Lord inspired him to write Hebrews to address what parts of the law no longer applied, such as sacrifices, and in Acts 15, circumcision.  Those laws Pastor Joe mentioned were given and written for people living in the land of Israel, an agrarian society, to govern their farming and societal practices.  They were not given to run a church.  In that sense, the Sabbath in a church setting only has to do with which day you come together to worship the Lord on, and giving that entire day over to the worship of God.  Most farmers do work a full six, sometimes seven days a week, especially during planting and harvesting time, that’s why the mention of working for six days, it’s in the context of ‘you shall work six days and no longer.’  Pastor Joe continues.]  And out of the Ten Commandments, it’s the only one that’s abrogated out of the New Testament.  We still are to worship one God, we are still to honour our parents, murder is still wrong, adultery is still wrong, covetousness is still wrong, those things are clearly outlined.  But nowhere in the New Testament is keeping of Sabbath enjoined upon God’s people, public worship is, the gathering together of ourselves.  I think taking a day a week to rest is a wonderful thing.  In fact I think taking two days a week to rest is a wonderful thing. It’s healthy, it’s good for your immune system.  But Sunday is my longest day [i.e. Sunday is not a rest day for him, and neither is the Sabbath for a Sabbath-keeping pastor.  But the Bible calls that “redemptive work” and it’s allowed on the Sabbath, even in the Old Testament.]  And I wish it was longer.  I wish we had seven services, filled with people.  [He has three services on Sunday, which is doing pretty good.]  Don’t let anybody judge you in regards to the Sabbath.  I’m not a Sabbath-keeper.  Paul says ‘one man esteems one day above another, another man esteems every day the same,’ to me, my problem is simply this, I need to make every day Christ’s day in my life, every day, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, my entire life needs to be given to Christ.  When I’m busy somewhere, when I’m flying somewhere, when I’m doing something somewhere, when the pace of life is crazy, my longing is to discover Christ in the middle of all of that, and find him in the middle of the busyness of life, and let every day belong to him.  [Comment:  And that is fitting right into the symbolic meaning of the Sabbath, because the Sabbath symbolizes “the rest of Salvation, which the indwelling Holy Spirit gives a believer.”  Salvation by the indwelling Holy Spirit is a 24/7 deal, not a one-day-a-week deal.  Pastor Joe has hit the nail on the head here.  So in a very real sense, Sunday-keepers who have the indwelling Holy Spirit operative in their lives are keeping the symbolic deeper meaning of the Sabbath, dwelling within it 24/7.  This is a mystery few Sabbath-keepers fathom or understand (or are willing to understand).] So if you want to judge me in regards to something, you can pray to that end in my life.  But don’t give me a hard time about the Sabbath.  There.  Because it says ‘these are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ.’  They were a shadow, the sacrifices, all of those things were looking forward, like looking into the light and the thing that was casting the shadow was Christ, and he cast a shadow into the Old Testament, and they [the Holy Days and Sabbath] were all a shadow of a truth [actually, quite a few prophetic truths], which is Christ.”  [the next paragraph is not part of Pastor Joe’s sermon transcript.]

 

Now For The 2nd Interpretation For Colossians 2:16-17:  The Sabbath-keeper’s Interpretation

 

Taking into account and consideration the recently discovered ethnic-religious practices and make-up of the early Church in both Judea and Asia Minor (up until 325AD), verse 16 of Colossians 2 takes on a whole new meaning (the exact opposite of what some feel it means).  This ethnic-religious background uncovered by Rodney Stark (in his The Rise of Christianity) and Oskar Skarsaune (in his In The Shadow of the Temple) and Ray Pritz (in his Nazarene Jewish Christianity) proves this out pretty conclusively, for those who are willing to accept the facts they uncovered.  These facts have been condensed down and put together into article form for this site at: http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm.  Let’s see what the apostle Paul had to say in context with the actual ethnic-religious background of the early Church in Asia Minor where Colossi was located.  So in context with the historic facts, Colossians 2:16 says this, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat”---i.e. food, what you eat or don’t eat, and these folks would have been following the dietary laws of Leviticus 11, which the Gentile Greek-Roman population in Colossi were certainly judging them on, probably making fun of them---“or in drink, or in respect to an holyday”---they were, as seen in that article about the early Church, observing God’s Holy days as spelled out in Leviticus 23, certainly something that would get criticized in their Greek-Roman environment, the city of Colossi---“or of the new moon”---this was a direct reference to the fact that they were using the Jewish calendar, which was calculated to begin each month on the new moon.  To use a Roman or Greek calendar would have been filled with pagan names for days, as well as it would not have shown them when the Holy days of Leviticus 23 were to be kept, so they needed to be using the Jewish or Hebrew calendar, which probably got them plenty of judgmental comments by their neighbors in Colossi---“or of the sabbath…”---they were keeping the 7th day Sabbath, which the Gospels and Book of Acts attest to, that Christ kept the 7th day Sabbath throughout his life, whose life Peter told us to emulate and follow precisely in 2nd Peter 2:21-22, and the early Church is shown in the Book of Acts to be keeping both the Sabbath and Holy Days---“which are a shadow of things to come…”  Paul was telling the Colossian church first of all, not to let those pagan Greek-Romans outside the church judge them over their dietary practices, following God’s food laws.  Then he mentions new moons, that is, don’t let those outside the church judge you because you are using God’s sacred calendar instead of the pagan Roman one.  Then Paul tells the Colossian church not to let those outside the church judge them because they’re keeping God’s Holy Days and Sabbath.  Then Paul goes on to tell them why, and this is important.  He tells them what God’s Holy Days represent, that they are “shadows of things to come.”  A shadow of something that hasn’t happened yet is a prophecy, or picture of a future event.  A shadow can also be a symbolic picture of some great spiritual principle, such as Salvation through receiving of the Holy Spirit, which the Sabbath is a picture of.  Shadows can also picture prophetic events that have already occurred.  The spring Holy Days are shadow-pictures of events that have already occurred, Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost.  The fall Holy Days are pictures of prophetic events which have not yet happened.  To read a good explanation for these Holy Day shadows Paul spoke of, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows.htm.  The Sabbath has it’s own special shadow-picture, an important one.  To read about that, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/hebrews/Hebrews4-1-16.htm.  Using the criterion of using the Gospels to see Christ’s example on the issue, then the book of Acts where church practice can be gleaned out, it would appear that the Sabbath may not have been abrogated after all, except by the Roman Catholic church, as was done by the proto-Catholic church under Constantine in 325AD.  This knowledge about the early New Testament Church is something that has gradually been surfacing in recent times, bit by bit.  Those who win a war, it’s been said, write the history to suit themselves, and as Constantine, emperor of Rome had the Sabbath abrogated under his authority, much of the secular history of the Sabbath-keeping churches of God in Asia Minor was expunged from the history books.  But some of it survives to this day.  Be sure to read that article about early Church history, you will find it fascinating.

 

“What Does ‘Shadow of Things to Come’ Mean?

 

Paul explains in Colossians 2:17 that God’s weekly Sabbath day and sacred festivals are “a shadow of things to come” (verse 17).  Many think he was saying this to demean them and show why they are unnecessary for Christians.  The reality is just the opposite.  Paul was acknowledging their abiding significance for us.  In the Greek language the word mello, translated “to come,” is a present active participle.  It explicitly points to events yet future.  According to The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, mello means “to be about to do something, to be at the point of, to be impending” (Spiros Zodhiates, 1992, p. 956).  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words explains its meaning as “to be about (to do something), often implying the necessity and therefore the certainty of what is to take place” (1985, “Come, Came,” p. 109).  Paul is saying that the Sabbath and Holy Days, which the Colossians celebrated by feasting according to the biblical instruction, had been given by God to foreshadow future events---things yet to come.  The grammar of Paul’s statement requires this meaning.  When God first commanded that these “feasts of the LORDbe observed (Leviticus 23:2-4), each event they foreshadowed was still in the future.  Even today, most of the events foreshadowed by these festivals are yet to be fulfilled in God’s plan.  These sacred days have always foreshadowed God’s promises to intervene in human affairs through Jesus Christ.  They signify the fulfillment of his master plan to offer salvation to all of humankind through Jesus Christ.  Therefore, their themes and symbolism are unequivocally Christian…” [The New Covenant:  Does It Abolish God’s Law? p.112]  These two quotes were for the benefit of our Sabbath-keeping readership.  Now back to Pastor Joe’s sermon transcript. 

 

Outward Religious Practices Don’t Change The Problem Within

 

Verse 18, “Let no man beguile you” defraud you, let no man connive you “of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels,” or of Mary, or anybody, “intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,” Don’t let someone connive you out of your reward by some false humility.  There’s nothing worse than that, false humility, when somebody’s saying ‘Oh yes, brother, I love you,’ and you know they don’t.  Cut me a break.  “not holding to the Head,” which is Christ, he’s preeminent, he’s established that, instead of worshipping these other things and practicing some false humility.  “not holding to the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” (verse 19), abiding in Christ and then we go from there, “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, (touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?” (verses 20-22)  You know, if you’re going to do that, why not move away to a monastery somewhere and be cloistered away?  Jesus said you don’t light a lamp and put it under a bushel, you put it out in the open where it can bring light to the whole house.  I heard a story of this man who went into a monastery, and there to spend the rest of his life, and part of the vow you took in this particular monastery was a vow of silence.  And once every ten years they were allowed to come and speak to the priest who headed that Order, and say two words.  So he was there for ten years, and finally he had a chance, he came and he talked to the head priest, and he said, “Food, cold.”  He said, “OK, understand, we’ll pray.”  And he went on, ten years later he came back, after being there twenty years, and he said to the priest that was in charge of the Order, “Bed, hard.”  He said, “All right, OK.”  He went away, ten more years of labor, and he finally came back after thirty years, and he said, “I quit.”  [laughter]  And the head priest said, “You know, I’m not surprised, you’ve done nothing but complain since you got here.”  [laughter]  OK, where were we?  “are ye subject to ordinances, (touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?  Which things indeed have a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.”  (verse 21-23)  People love to do religious stuff, especially something other people can see, because it makes them feel good, it’s a show of wisdom, “in will worship” you know, ‘I’m going to huff and puff and blow this house down, in my own determination and humility, and of neglecting of the body,’  and make it look like they’re so austere, ‘but not in any honour or value in regards to the satisfying of the flesh,’ you know, it doesn’t remedy the problem of the flesh, the flesh is still unsatisfied, that this person can live a monastic life, and do all of these things, and you know, outwardly there’s going to be tremendous order and sacrifice and so forth.  But the truth is, the flesh is still the same, the traitor within hasn’t been changed by all of that religious stuff.  The change needs to take place from within, that’s how the change needs to take place.  So he says, ‘Don’t let any man beguile you, don’t let any man scheme and through some false humility and some outward show of monastic life or something, something that can make you look good outwardly, so that you’re an A-Christian and everybody else is just B-Christians or C-Christians.’  You know, that doesn’t really have anything to do with changing the problem that’s within. 

 

Colossians 3:1-4

 

Now, “If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”

 

‘Set Your Affection On Things Above,’ Lay Up Your Treasures In Heaven

 

“Now he says that over here, in verse 12, you’re buried with him in baptism, “wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith…”  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,” the class condition in the Greek is Since you are risen with Christ’ and that’s an established fact, ‘Since you are risen with Christ,’ and the tenses here are beautiful, constantly be seeking,’ those are the tenses, “constantly be seeking those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” (verse 1)  Verse 2, “Constantly set you affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Or your mind, or your desires on the things above, but not on things of the earth.  Why?  “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  And when Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (verses 3-4)  So, since you are risen with Christ, then constantly be seeking those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  That’s a great thing.  We have great advantage, we have tremendous freedom to study the Scripture, to set our hearts before the Lord, to sit down and to look at Revelation chapter 21 and 22, to look at an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away.  “Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the mind of man the things God hath prepared for those who love him,” but by his Spirit he has made those things real to us.  Constantly be setting your affection on things above.  There’s a day coming, when this corruption is going to put on incorruption and this mortal will put on immortality.  There’s a day coming when we’ll have a reunion with our loved ones that have gone on before us, and stand arm and arm with them around the throne of Jesus Christ, and embrace them and feel them.  There’s a day coming where so many in our midst today are suffering with cancer, and tortured with physical illness.  They’re going to be whole and healthy and free and sound.  There’s a day coming where there’s no sickness, no curse, nor death, nor sorrow, no sighing, no tears.  Setting our affection on things above.  I think of the early apostles, who had fled, who were afraid, who had denied Christ [before the crucifixion].  And yet we find them in the Book of Acts changed, filled with the Spirit of God.  Peter, who denied Christ three times, will be crucified upside down.  When they take him out to crucify him he says, ‘I’m not worthy to be crucified like my Lord,’ so they turn him upside down, they crucify him upside down.  Matthew is skinned alive, Andrew is crucified, shot full of arrows.  Philip is impaled on a pole.  Steven, stoned.  James, beheaded.  You study through the tradition and history of these men, and their struggle was not ‘Should I go see an R-rated movie, or shouldn’t I?’…should I watch MTV, or get involved with computer pornography?’  That wasn’t even in the question, they had one goal and one desire, they had set their affection on things above, and the Spirit of God had made those things real, and they longed for the day to look into the face of Christ again, they longed for the day to be rejoined with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and with the redeemed to be gathered together, they longed for the day when Christ would rule supreme [over the earth].  What’s wrong with that?  And how could that ever be impractical?  And if you’re sitting here and you’re wrestling with all of that other junk, then it’s time to get your heart before the Lord and say, ‘You’re Eternal, you’re Divine, you’re all-powerful, you’re Creator, you’re Sustainer, you’re Redeemer, you saved me, you have power in my life, Lord, take my heart, take my mind, take my desire, my affections and set them on things above, cleanse me Lord.  By the power of your Holy Spirit do something…’  Because I guarantee you, if the nukes start to go off, I guarantee you if all of a sudden our lives are in jeopardy, all of a sudden we get more serious, we get more serious.  But there’s another way.  That’s growing in grace.  Again, we don’t want to see church just jammed because war starts.  We want to see church jammed because people are in love with Jesus Christ, they can’t wait to come and study his Word and to worship and lift their hearts and their lives, and sing their hearts out in his presence, because their affections are set on things above and not on things of the earth.  Great exhortation.  I’m going tell you something, it wouldn’t be given to us unless it could be real in our lives.  God doesn’t hold some carrot out in front of us to frustrate us, to tease us.  He tells fathers, and further in this book, not to provoke their children.  So he doesn’t hold something out in front of us that can’t be a reality in our lives.  The question is, what do we want?  How frustrated are we with the world?  Are we still attracted to the world?  Do we love the world?  Or are we through with it, are we broken, are we sick of it?  Oh, we’re sick of it when cancer comes, we’re sick of it when life is crumbling [i.e getting old, try it sometime], we’re sick of it when there’s war and the Twin Towers are falling down.  But we can go to him, and he can open our eyes, and mine, pray for me.  I want greater love in my life, being returned to the One who has so loved me.  I want further consecration and commitment in my own life.  “If ye then be risen with Christ, constantly seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting on the right hand of God.  Constantly set your affection, you mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”  Paul said that.  We’re renewed day by day, while we look, not at the things that are seen, but the things that are not seen, because the things that are seen are temporal, the things that are not seen are eternal.”  Paul needed that, the great apostle, said he needed to keep his focus, to have daily renewal.  Jesus said, ‘Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, where thieves don’t break in and steal.  Because where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’  So he encourages us to lay up our treasures in heaven, that our hearts should be attracted there.  Set you affections on things above, not on things of the earth, for you are dead.  You used to be dead in sin, now you’re dead to sin, through the work of Christ.  You’re no longer dead in trespasses and sins.  You’re dead to sin.  Something’s happened, a transaction that’s divine and all powerful has taken place in your life. 

 

Christ Is Coming For His Church---We’ll Appear With Him In Glory

 

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (verses 3-4)  And Christ is your life, if you want to live past the grave, he is.  Take note of that.  When Christ shall appear, the parusea, then you will appear with him.  There is the coming of Christ for his Church, and there is the coming of Christ with his Church.  I am longing for Christ to come for his Church, with a shout and the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God, to lift us out of here before he judges this Christ-rejecting world.  [How might that happen?  For one scenario, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm].  We’re coming to the books of Thessalonians, where there it talks about the Holy Spirit and his restraining work, when the Church is removed then he will cease.  Not in his saving work, but his restraining work.  You know, what is the Holy Spirit restraining?  I’ll tell this, if he’s restraining war, or abortion, or immorality or violence, he’s doing it a lousy job, isn’t he?  The Holy Spirit is restraining spiritual powers [evil ones] that will be let loose in the post-Rapture world, that will deceive in a powerful and incredible way.  That deception will be so powerful it will bring about a one-world religion.  Look at the tension in the world right now.  Imagine Muslim and Christian and Jew by name, worshipping under one roof.  What would it take for that to happen?  It’s unimaginable this evening.  But when the Holy Spirit, when the Church is gone, and the Holy Spirit then has finished his restraining of the great deception that will come on the world, something will happen to bring all people under a great whorish system.  But we will be gone [by one means or another, pre-Trib Rapture or going to a place of safety].  And when Christ appears in glory and comes, it says here, we will come with him.  I like that.  Enoch saw the Lord coming “with” ten-thousands of his saints.  “oh that’s John Darby and Margaret McDonald and that whole movement, that’s where that pre-Trib Rapture stuff comes from.’  No, no, no, no, it’s Biblical doctrine.  Justification by faith is not historic Church doctrine, when it was re-awakened people paid for it with their lives and were burned at the stake.  Huss and Luther persecuted, and great men.  [Hundreds of thousands of Sabbath-keepers in France, the Waldensians, killed off in several Inquisitions in the 1200 and 1300s, in response to their evangelism and Waldo’s translation of the Bible into the local tongues of the French and Spanish.]  And justification by faith was not historic doctrine, it was Biblical New Testament doctrine.  And the imminent return of Christ [in a pre-Trib Rapture] is not historic Church doctrine, it is New Testament doctrine.  But we are to watch, and to be ready, that he could come at any moment, that there isn’t anything restraining that.  That we can’t say that Jesus can’t come for seven years, he can come tonight for his Church. [Now putting this in context for the overall Body of Christ, which has differing beliefs about the 2nd Coming of Christ---if Jesus has not returned for his Church once the 7-year period of the tribulation starts, then we will know the pre-Trib Rapture is not a proper Bible doctrine. I’m not saying they’re wrong or right.  Also will it make a difference what you believe in this secondary area, will it stop you, say, from being in a pre-Trib Rapture just because you don’t believe in this doctrine, if you are a real Holy Spirit indwelt, born-again believer?  No it won’t, if that’s the way Christ is going to do it.  I do admire Calvary Chapel’s for not over-emphasizing this doctrine, raising it above the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of Salvation, as I see some groups and websites do.  But the proof will be in the pudding as they say.  See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/mathew/Matthew24-1-31.htm]  And putting that off produced bad fruit, ‘Who is this wicked servant’ Jesus says, ‘who says in his heart, ‘the Lord delayeth his coming,’ and he begins to get drunk, and to fist fight and to do this and that,’  no, ‘Any man who has this hope purifies himself, even as he is pure.’  It is the purifying hope of the Church that Christ could come tonight [according to the pre-Trib Rapture groups].  I’m saying he could. 

 

Considering The Times We’re In, What Needs To Change In Your Life?

 

What needs to change in your life?  If Christ is coming at midnight, now I know we don’t know the day or the hour, but I have figured out he’s coming at midnight, because if the world’s round it’ll be midnight somewhere when he comes.  Ah, if he comes at midnight here, Eastern Standard Time, what needs to change?  If you left this building tonight knowing that you were going to see him face to face tonight, what would have to change in your life?  Would porn be going out in the trash, would you be home dumping out a whiskey bottle, throwing out the chips from Atlantic City, would you be on your knees begging your wife for forgiveness for being a jerk, or your husband, apologizing to your kids?  What would need to change if you knew tonight was the night?  Hey, this is not a condemnation trip, ‘I’m not going back on Wednesday night, Pastor Joe’s condemning us.’  No, I’m asking myself the same questions, please, this is not just for you.  I’m just taking personal inventory out loud.  If there were things happening where I have thought, ‘Wow, the Lord’s coming at midnight,’ I’d probably make a phone call here and there, I don’t have anything to dump out or throw out, I’m not saying that, please, you know.  But, I’d take some inventory.  You wouldn’t wash your hair or get a perm, change your clothes or take a shower or anything.  But what would you do?  ‘Set your affections on things above, since you’re risen with Christ.’  Something supernatural has happened, ‘and the God that calls things that are not as though they were, has imputed to you the resurrected life.’  And as far as he is concerned, you are seated in heavenly places with Christ, your life, the life we’re waiting to see manifested, is hidden there, in Christ with God.’  And the day is coming, and how quickly it is coming.  And could it be tonight?  You’re watching the news.  You’re seeing what’s going on.  What’s going to happen?  Is America going to go to war with Iraq?  [Yes, that is history now]  If America goes to war with Iraq, is that going to calm everything down?  Or will it precipitate into a larger nuclear war?  What’s going to happen?  I don’t know dogmatically, step by step.  But I know we are in the days that Christ spoke of, and said, “When you see these things, lift up your head, for your redemption draweth nigh.”  I know that’s where we’re seated this evening, in history, in time and eternity, closer to the coming of Christ than any generation of the Church that has ever lived.  That’s where we are.  ‘If ye then, since you are risen with Christ, seek constantly those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Constantly set your affections, you desire on the things above, not on things of the earth, for you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  And when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with great wordwith him.’  When he appears and the sky splits open, and the tribes of the earth mourn, and they look up, Jesus is not coming alone, he’s coming with his angels, and he’s coming with ten thousands of his saints, on white horses (cf. Jude verse 14 and Revelation 19:14).  I know you don’t know how to ride horses, but you will.  Then you shall know fully, as you’ve been fully known, and you’ll be able to jump right up on that horse and come.  What a day.  Come Lord Jesus.  How much time is left between now and when that happens?  And what pressure does that put on us?  The harvest is great, the labourers are few.  Is it something we should only take seriously if we are fifty or sixty or seventy?  Or is it something that a sixteen-year-old can embrace, or a fourteen-year-old, or a twenty-year-old?  Charles Spurgeon was 19 when he took over the church in London, 19 years old.  John was 15 or 16 years old when he dropped his nets to follow Jesus.  Whitfield at 22 was preaching to 60,000 people.  What great days we live in.  We live in the most exciting time in human history, right now.  What a great opportunity to open our hearts and ask for a fresh filling…[transcript of a connective expository sermon given on Colossians 2:6-23 and 3:1-4 by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116]    

 

related links:

 

There weren’t altar-calls until the 1600th century.  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/baptism/What%20is%20Baptism.htm

 

What do the Sabbath and Holyday shadows represent?  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows.htm

 

What were some of the false doctrines and philosophies floating around Colossi?  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/What%20is%20Arianism.htm

                              

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