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Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 41
Now as we start this lesson we’re going to just read verse 8, as I finished commenting on it, but we need to read it to introduce verse 9.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, (that which is strictly materialistic) and not after Christ. 9. For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
Now you have to constantly remember that when Christ made His appearance among men back there in Bethlehem He never stopped being God. Now because He was God He was able to limit his powers, He didn’t abuse it like we would, but He never stopped being God. In fact we look at that several lessons back, and just turn the page back to Colossians chapter 1:15. See the reason Paul keeps repeating this all the time is to drive the fact home as to who is Jesus Christ. Well He is the visible manifestation of the Godhead, all three.
“Who (speaking of God the Son in verse 13) is the image of the invisible God,…” (the Godhead)
Then to show who He really was you go on into verse 16 and it shows us that He was the Creator of everything. He’s the God of Genesis 1:1.
“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:” Now coming back to Colossians chapter 2, and let’s read verse 9 again.
“For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
Now I know this is hard for us to comprehend, I know it is. Let’s take the time to look at John’s gospel chapter 14 to follow up on this. This is a passage of Scripture I think we used a couple of weeks ago, but it just says it all. But you know I don’t mind when people have a little trouble comprehending this because the twelve disciples couldn’t either. It’s epitomized here when Philip says, “show us the Father” Now let’s start with verse 7. And here Jesus is speaking to the twelve.
“If ye had known me, (If you really know who I am) ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. (Do you see that? Now that’s a hard pill for many to swallow, and it was for the twelve.) 8. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.”
Now you want to remember that these people were just as ordinary as you and I are. These men had the same thoughts, they had the same questions that we do. Now look at Jesus answer to Philip.
“Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, (three years now) and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath (already) seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”
They had seen the Father. How did they see Him? Because in Christ dwelt the Godhead bodily. So always remember that when Scripture speaks of the Lord – let me give you a good example. Come back with me to Acts chapter 16. This is a good verse to use periodically anyway, and I haven’t now for a few weeks. In fact I’ll just use several Scripture as we can also go back to Matthew 16. In fact let’s just start with Matthew chapter 16 so that you can see that all the persons of the Godhead can be referred to synonymously.
Here in Matthew the setting is Jesus and the twelve clear up in northern Israel at the headwaters of the Jordan river. They’re going to be making their way down to Jerusalem for the last Passover and His crucifixion, and He ask the question up there in verse 13. “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” And they said – and remember they had been with Him for three years, and seen miracles upon miracles and also remember the Bible gives us only a little sample of all the miracles that Jesus performed. He must have performed miracles by the dozens everyday because the last verse of John’s gospel says –
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”
Now even if that were a play on words it just simply tells us that we only are told a sampling of the ones that He performed. Now look at how the disciples answered him in verse 14.
“And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; (Elijah) and others, Jeremias, (Jeremiah) or one of the of the prophets. See they had all kinds of ideas except the right one, that He was the Messiah) 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” (And Simon Peter answers with the right answer in verse 16.) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Now here’s the verse I wanted you to see in verse 17.
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
Now in our line of thinking, who was the One that should have given Peter that kind of knowledge? Well the Holy Spirit. Isn’t that right? It’s the Holy Spirit who gives us knowledge in those things, but here it’s the Father. And I’m sure it was the Spirit that accomplished it. Now let’s go to Acts chapter 16, and we’ll begin with verse 14. Here of course we find Paul and Silas at Philippi.
“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us; whose heart the Lord opened,…”
Instead of the Father opening her heart it was the Lord. Now who is the Lord? Well God the Son. It was Christ. But we know from all the rest of Scripture what person of the Godhead actually opened the eyes of Lydia? Well the Holy Spirit, as He’s the One who opens our understanding. Now let me prove that over in I Corinthians chapter 2. Now don’t let this throw a curve at you because you want to remember that the three persons of the Godhead even though we recognize their separate entities, yet they operate as One. It doesn’t make any difference if it’s the Spirit who opens Lydia’s heart or the Lord or the Father, it’s still the same God. Here in I Corinthians chapter 2 it’s definitely the Holy Spirit.
I Corinthians 2:13-14a
” Which things also (Paul says) we speak, (all of these things he’s been writing about) not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: ….”
Now, does that leave God the Father and God the Son out of the picture? Of course not! They’re all involved constantly in the working of any one of the three. And so always be careful that you don’t just say, “Well, now I can’t figure out who is doing it. Is it the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit?” Now come back to Colossians chapter 2 and verse 9.
“For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
There you have it. Christ is God the father, God the Son and God the Spirit. But yet they function in their individual roles. Now let’s move on.
“And ye (believers. Remember, Paul never talks to the unbelieving world. He always talks to the believer) are complete in him, (that God head epitomized by Christ) which is the head of all principality and power:”
What does that involve? Everything!! Whether it’s the satanic powers or the angelic powers or earthly powers, or kingdoms, He is in control of everything. There’s never been an emperor that assumed a throne without that sovereign God in control. He doesn’t use a puppet string, but nevertheless, in His sovereignty nothing happened. Now again, let me show you from the Scripture what I’m talking about. I hate to have people think, “Well where does this guy get this stuff.” Because I imagine I’m accused of that more than once. Come back to Romans chapter 13 and let’s start at verse 1. And remember why I’m coming back here. Christ is the head of all principality and power. Not just in the realm of the spiritual but in everything.
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. (He’s not talking about spiritual power here. He’s talking about political power or government.) For there is no power (government)but (how?) of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
There’s never been a government on the face of the earth that wasn’t ordained of God. Even a Hitler or Stalin. They are all there for His purposes. They are all ordained of God and we can’t ignore that. Now come back to Colossians and it says just exactly what it means and it means what it says. That Jesus the Christ, the very epitome of the Godhead bodily is still the One who is the head all principality and power. Now, I’m going to have to do with a couple of verses here like I did in the last program. I’m going to have to jump down and I want to cover verse 13, before I cover verse 11. Now that may seem like gobbledy-gook to you but I think it’s going to make sense when you see what I’m doing. Let’s drop down to verse 13 and then I’m going to come up and deal with verse 11. Don’t worry, I’m going to hit verse 12 too, but we’re going to leave it for now.
“And you, (talking to believers) being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he (God) hath he quickened (made you alive) together with him, having (past tense) forgiven you (how much?) all trespasses;”
Now we’re going to look at the word ‘justification’. We’ve been justified from all things. You remember what my definition of ‘justification’ is? It’s the judicial act of God whereby He declared the sinner “just as if’ he had never sinned.” That’s beyond human comprehension. But you see, that what the Grace of God does the moment we believe. Now, let’s explain from Scripture what he’s talking about in verse 13. Come back a few pages again, to Ephesians chapter 2. Now this is going to get a little sticky and I know it is. I’m going to have to go as slow as I can. Let’s look at verses 11 and 12. These are verses that we’ve used a lot of times.
“Wherefore remember, that ye (the Ephesians. But he’s writing just as well to us today) being in time past Gentiles in the flesh,…”
In other words, our genetics were not Jewish. They are non-Jew, so we are Gentile. That’s all the word Gentile means. A Gentile simply means someone who is not a Jew. So whether you’re Oriental, African, American Indian, European, or whatever, as long as we’re not out of the stock of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we’re a Gentile. It’s just that simple. So now then Paul is saying of us –
“…that ye being in time past Gentiles, in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;”
The Uncircumcision. That was the Jewish term for a non-Jew. He was the Uncircumcised. And a lot of times they would add the word, “dogs.” “Uncircumcised Dogs” is what they thought of Gentiles. Now, I’m going to give you one more. Come back a few more pages to Galatians chapter 2 and verse 7.
“But contrariwise, when they (the leadership of the Jerusalem Jewish assembly) saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;”
Now how many classes of people do you have? Two! Paul and Barnabas were the apostles of the uncircumcision or the Gentiles. Peter, on the other hand, and James and John and the other of the disciples, were the apostles of the circumcision, or Israel. I could stand here for another hour on that alone. Why do you suppose Jesus chose the twelve inside of Israel? Because they were to be the apostles of Israel. That’s why He told them not to go to the Gentiles in Matthew 10:5. Why do you supposed He chose the apostle Paul outside of Israel? Because he was to be the apostle to the Gentiles. And so all of this just fits together. But what I’m trying to show you here is the terminology, the uncircumcision, is the non-Jewish world of which you and I are a part. The circumcision was the Jewish world. Now, let’s go back to Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 11. I’m almost sure I’m not going to finish these two verses in this half hour.
“….who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made hands.” In other words, the Jew would refer to the Gentiles as uncircumcised. Now let’s go to verse 12.
“That at that time (while God was dealing with the circumcision, Israel) ye (uncircumcision, Gentiles) were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”
That was the lot of the Gentile world. Because God was dealing with Israel. But the day came when Israel rejected everything and God turned to the Gentile world through this apostle. Now, come back to Colossians chapter 2 and I’m going to try and take this slow enough that I don’t leave everybody totally confused. But now let’s look at Colossians chapter 2 and verse 13.
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh,….”
Now you tie the two together. Why were they dead in their sins? Because they were outside the covenants of Israel, outside the citizenship, they were Gentiles. And so this is what Paul is saying – This was our past. We were dead spiritually, mostly because we were Gentiles and were outside the covenant promises. And so as the uncircumcised physically, we were dead spiritually but what has God done? He’s quickened us. He’s made us alive. What has happened? Come up to verse 11 and I’ll leave this half hour in total confusion, I’m afraid.
“In whom (Christ) also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands,….”
What is he talking about? A spiritual circumcision with which the flesh had nothing to do with. Now, I guess the Lord must have instituted circumcision in the flesh knowing that the day would come when it would be the perfect example of spiritual circumcision. And this is what we’re going to see in these two verses. I’m not going to finish it in this half hour, I know I can’t. So now then, we who in the flesh, uncircumcised, in the spirit we are circumcised, not the fleshly circumcision, but a spiritual one. I hope I can put it on the board in the next half hour and clarify it. And that simply means that God has done something spiritually that was a good example of that which practiced in Israel physically. And that was cutting off that which is superfluous or no longer needful. That’s the whole concept.
Now for you and I as believers, what did God cut off that was now superfluous? The old Adam! The old Adam has been cut off. It’s been crucified with Christ and we’ll pick it up in our next half hour so hang by a string if you can. But anyway this is the whole idea of these two verses – that yes, in the flesh we’re uncircumcised, we’re Gentiles. But spiritually we’ve been circumcised by virtue of the old Adam being crucified with Christ, cut off, and is no longer something that we have to deal with as far as eternity is concerned because it has been done by God Himself.