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Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 41
Colossians 2:14 – 4:18
Well in our last lesson we finished Colossians chapter 2, so we’re ready to begin chapter 3. I have to admit when I first started teaching this series in Paul’s letters, I thought, now I know that Paul repeats a lot of things and I’m afraid that I’m not going to keep people’s interested by going verse by verse. But every time I start a new letter like Colossians, the mail comes rolling in, and the response is, “Oh Colossians is the best one yet.” So we just have to feel that the Lord is in it, and He’s the One using His Word. After all, as I’ve said so often, this is just an informal class, we’re not tied to any group, and all we try to do is get people from whatever background, just to simply search the Scriptures and see what we say is true. All right now verse 1 of chapter 3 of Colossians.
“If ye then be risen with Christ,…” What’s the if for? If you’re a true believer! If you’re not a believer then none of these things apply. This is only for true believers, not a professor, but a true believer. So that’s why the little prepositional “if” is there.
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,…”
I think 99% of us can hardly wait for the Lord to come, because we understand the glory that’s waiting for us. We’re not tied to this old world as beautiful as it is in places. I’ve always said that I love my cattle, and I’ve got as good as they come, but they pale in insufficiencies when I think of eternity, and going into the Lord’s presence. So we do, we seek those things which are above.
“…where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” (positionally)
Now again, you know I had someone ask one time, and I can’t blame people for wondering, “You mean He’s just up there seated on a chair next to God the Father for the last 2000 years?” Well hardly. But positionally, He there, and this is what we have to see, that positionally He’s at the Father’s right hand interceding for us. Of course that’s not just a Pauline concept, so come all the way back to the Book of Psalms 110:1. This is way back a thousand years before the birth of Christ. This is David’s Psalm, and this is good for people to realize. This isn’t so deep that you’re got to have 4 or 5 degrees to understand it.
“The Lord, (the Father) said unto my Lord, (the Son) Sit thou at my right hand, until (that’s a time word) I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
Positionally then when Christ finished the work of the cross, He ascended and went right into the very throne room of heaven, and positionally is at the Father’s right hand interceding for us. Now come on back to the New Testament and we can go to Hebrews chapter 1, and we have that same comment. Now all these things substantiate, and that’s why we repeat things. We’ve got to lock it in, that this isn’t just some fluff. You lock it in, because Scripture has repeated it over and over. Let’s start with verse 1.
“God, (the triune God) who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets,” Now what that speaking about? The nation of Israel back in those days of antiquity. He spoke to the nation of Israel by the prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, and all the rest. Now verse 2.
“Hath in these last days (what are the last days in God’s program? His first advent on. From Christ this direction are the last days. God has already) spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he (the Son) made the worlds;” Now verse 3.
“Who being the brightness of his glory, (see He never was less than God) and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, (see how that fits with Colossians chapter 1 where it says, ‘by Him all things consist.’) when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”
It’s the same kind of language of Psalms 110:1, but it’s a positional term. It’s like Paul tells us “we’re citizens of heaven.” Well we’re still down here, but our citizenship is up there positionally. Do you see that? Now let’s look at another one in I John chapter 2.
I John 2:1
“My little children, (so even here, who is John writing to? Believers. This doesn’t apply to the unbeliever.) these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
Now John doesn’t refer to Him as setting at the right hand of the Father, but according to the rest of Scriptures isn’t that where He is? Sure He’s our advocate. Every time we fail, every time we sin, He’s right there, and He is confronting the Father, as he says, “Yes he sinned, but he under the blood, I’ve paid for that sin.” And this is our comfort that we have. Now come back to Colossians chapter 3. If we’re a believer, and if we’ve experienced that death, burial, and resurrection, we’ve been identified with His finished work of the cross, then we realize that our advocate is seated at the right hand of the Father. Now since that’s our position then we should automatically do the following.
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Now there’s nothing wrong with things. God doesn’t tell us that we have to live without things. God doesn’t tell us that we have to just barely get by, God doesn’t tell us that we have to just simply exist because we’re Christians. But what’s the word? Priority. That’s the word Iris and I are always using on the kids. Get your priorities straight. There’s nothing wrong with things if they’re in right level of priority. But what should be number one? Heaven, where our citizenship is, and where we’re soon going to be going.
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Now here are two verses that I just love in verses 3 and 4.
“For ye are dead, (to the old Adam, to the old flesh, the natural. You’re dead,) and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
It’s hard for us to comprehend death and life in the same sentence. But, do you ever realize that throughout all of nature you can’t get life until there’s death, you know that. Every seed you put in the ground, before it can have new life, must die. The Lord Himself used the same analogy so beautifully back in John chapter 12.
“And there were certain Greeks (non Jews, Gentiles) among them that came up to worship at the feast:…”
Now it doesn’t say that these Gentiles were worshippers, but they were there watching all the activity that was going on. Every time we go to Jerusalem, and the temple mount, naturally we go to the Wailing Wall. We, as tourists, stand back and watch those Jewish people holding their bahmitzvah and so forth as they worship. We’re just on lookers as I think these Gentiles were. They were alluded by all the activity of these thousands and thousands of Jews gathering for the feast days, so they were just among them. So these Greeks came to Philip.
“The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
And remember Jesus had already told them back in Matthew 10:5 “that they could not go to the non-Jew, but only to the lost sheep of Israel.” They had never ministered to the non-Jew, nor do they this time. But these Gentiles came up to Philip and said, “We’ve been hearing about this Jesus of Nazareth. Take us to Him.” How do you suppose old Philip thought he could handle this? He didn’t want Jesus to embarrass everybody by just telling those Greeks that He didn’t want to have anything to do with them. But he didn’t want to take full responsibility so what does he do? He comes and tells Andrew. Now can’t you just put that conversation in your mind? I’m sure he tells Andrew, “There’s some Gentiles out here, and they want to talk to Jesus, and we know that He’s not going to talk to them, but what are we going to do?” So Andrew says, “Well we shouldn’t take the responsibility ourselves. Let’s go in and ask Him.” So they find the Lord Jesus, and I always picture Him probably in one of the buildings in the temple complex, but whatever.
“Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.” Hey there are Gentiles out here that want to see you’ Does Jesus say, “Bring them in?” No, but He gives the reason.
“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come (this is a matter of hours before His crucifixion) that the Son of Man should be glorified. (that will happen at His resurrection)24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
Of course the seed kernel dies, and up comes the blade, and hopefully produces at least a hundred kernels. Here in John, He’s referring to His own death, burial, and resurrection. And the Gentiles would have no object of faith until He would accomplish that death, burial and resurrection. So that’s why He didn’t invite them in. They could not come and partake of Him until He had finished the work of the cross. So this is exactly then what Paul is talking about in Colossians 3:3
“For ye are dead, (like that seed we just read about, we have died to that old Adam) and your (new) life is hid with Christ in God.”
Now I’m going to use the board to draw some circles, and here we are way down in the recesses of the Godhead. Out here at the outer circle we have God the Father, and in the inner circle we have Christ the Son, and here we are way down in the middle. Now there is nothing that can touch any one of us believers, without coming all the way through the Father, and the Son. and that’s impossible. Now isn’t that comforting? That’s where we are tonight.
In my classes in Oklahoma I use the example of the old black walnut, as we have a lot of them around here. That old big black walnut with that thick outer shell, that no one wants to fool with really, but if you want to get to the meat of that walnut, you’ll clean that outer shell off, and then you’ll get to the hard part, that hard shell of the walnut. My little wife is good at cracking walnut. She puts them on a piece of concrete and beats them with a sledge hammer until they crack. Then down in the crevice is where the goodies are. So every time I break a black walnut I can’t help but think, “That’s where we are in God.” We are hidden in Christ, and Christ is hidden in God, and listen, there’s no way possible for you to get out of there once you’re in there. Now a lot of people have never really gotten there, but once you’ve really believed Paul’s gospel for your salvation, God secures you forever. You’re safe, and nothing can touch you, because you are hidden with Christ in God. Now that’s what the Book says. That’s our position, that’s our safety, once we become true believers. Now verse 4. Oh it just keeps getting better.
“When Christ, who is our life, (the One who not only saved us, not only keeps us, but now He gives us eternal promises) shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
Now Romans 8. This is enough to even excite young people. I know when we’re young we’ve got our life ahead of us, and the hope of ambitions of being successful and having a family and all that, but as rotten as the world is becoming I hope that young people realize that there’s not much good future left on this planet, so you’d better start looking at eternal things. Let’s get started with verse 14.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons (or born ones) of God. 15. For ye (if you’ve been born of God) have not received the spirit of bondage (legalism)again to fear;…”
Have you ever realized that every religion of the world (such as the followers of Buddhist and Mohammed) is basically scared to death. They’re superstitious about doing anything contrary to their religion, lest they lose the hope of whatever they’re looking for. I don’t care what religion you get involved in it’s going to be a bondage.
It’s going to be a constant fear, even in Protestantism and Catholicism here in America, if you’re going to depend on works for salvation there is that bondage of fear that you’re not working quite hard enough. For those who have a concept of eternal doom, they are scared to death in their superstitious legalism, and consequently they can’t have this liberty that we have. So if you’ve living under bondage and fear you’re in a works religion. Verse 15 again.
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear (see the two go together) but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (we have been placed, by virtue of our salvation, into a position into the Body of Christ) 16. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are (not hope to be, but rather it’s a done deal) the children of God: 17. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
If we’re His children, then we’re going to be glorified together with Him. We’re going to be united with Him, we’re going to be joint-heirs with Him, like a husband and wife today, and everything that is Christ’s will one day be ours and all of glory is going to be ours to enjoy. There will be no limits. You know what I like to think? If we want to go to Pluto we can be there in a split second. We’re going to have that new resurrected body that won’t be confined by time and space, we’re going to have absolute freedom, and full knowledge. We won’t need computers to project our travel, we’ll be able to just about do anything that you can imagine, and we’ll have total freedom. Now that’s just a little glimpse. Now back to Colossians chapter 3, and with all that as a prospect, then for goodness sake –
“Mortify (put to death) therefore your members which are upon the earth.;…”
The things of the flesh. Of course there’s only one place a human being can put these things to death, and that is the cross. When we become a believer we automatically put to death these things that are part and parcel of life on this earth. Then Paul begins to list them as he does over and over in his letters, admonishing Christians that this not part of our lifestyle, and we’re not to have any part of it. And what are they? The same things as before.
“…fornication, (sexual immorality) uncleanness, inordinate affection, (affection that is not normal) evil concupiscence, (evil double meanings) and covetousness, which is idolatry:”In other words you don’t covet something unless you intend to idolize it. Now verse 6.
“For which things’ sake the wrath of God (these are the things that bring on the wrath of God) cometh on the children of disobedience:”
Come back with me to Leviticus 18. Even though it’s Scripture the language is such that I’m not going to read it in a mixed group, but you can read it in the privacy of your own home. We don’t have time to also go back to Genesis chapter 15, but if you will remember that in that chapter God told Abraham that his offspring Israel would have to wait 400 years before the iniquities of the Amorites would be full so that He could destroy them, and let Israel have the Promised Land. Do you remember that? So the Amorites live another 400 years and then they got so wicked, and immoral that God told Joshua to destroy every one of them regardless of their age because of their wickedness. All right now look at the conclusion in Leviticus 18. After He lists all the immoral things that we’re reading about everyday in our paper lately, and God has one word for them, “abomination.” Now look what He says in verse 24.
“Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things; (that He’s written in the previous verses) for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:” Now, I’ve got to take you up to verse 30.
“Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.”