Episode 164

Disciple Up # 164
Colossians: The Supremacy of Christ
Pt. 7(8): Put on the Garments of Grace, Col. 3:12-17
By Louie Marsh, 6-17-2020

Intro: Today we continue our look at Paul’s Putting off and on metaphor and focus on the positive side of it.  We’ve already seen we must put off the old man, now our focus must change.

Where you can find past episodes on Colossians:  134, 135, 137, 142, 146, 152, 160, 164. Please note my numbering of my Colossians are off by one – this should be Part 8!

Signs in Longmont for guys running for County Coroner – we don’t want to become our own spiritual coroner.

  1. I) THE CLOTHING OF CHRIST (vs. 12-14)

12  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV)

  1. A) Chosen People Choose Compassion (vs. 12)

1, “God’s chosen ones” = used of Israel in OT, now it’s us – dearly loved by God!

2, Because this is true we – as a Body – must put on these things.

a, Compassion leads to kindness, humility leads to gentleness & patience.

b, Compassion = “bowels of compassion”  literally “inwards parts” used of seat of emotions.  That’s heart to us, but bowels to eastern people

3, We know that we CAN be and act this way, because the Lord tells us here being this way is A CHOICE!

  1. B) Applying These in the Church (vs. 13)

1, There may have been hard feelings in Colossian church over fight with false teachers, may have felt bitter about growing churches in neighboring towns.

a, How do we handle these problems in the church?

2, Paul says to first of all bear with one another.

a, Literally that means “to put up with”

3, We must also forgive each other, even if the other isn’t worthy of it!

a, forgive = “give freely or graciously as a favor” give being Charis in Greek – GRACE!

b, Literal translation could read “forgive yourselves.”  When we fail to forgive other believers we fail to forgive ourselves because WE ARE ONE IN CHRIST!

c, It’s written in the present tense – showing a continual, tireless effort must be made.  Matt. 18: 21-35

21  Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23  “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24  When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25  And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26  So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27  And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28  But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29  So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30  He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31  When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32  Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33  And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34  And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35  So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:21-35 (ESV)

4, We must forgive this way, because this is the way God forgave us.  The finished work of Christ is the basis for our treatment of each other.

  1. C) Love – Superglue! (vs. 14)

1, Clothing metaphor is back.  We are to wear love “above all” which may mean “on top of all.”

a, Love, Agape, is more than just another virtue, it’s what holds them together and makes them come alive.  Without love they are nothing (I Cor. 13)

2, “Binds them all together in perfect unity.”  What does this mean?

a, Perfect as we’ve discussed before means complete, mature, something that has completed it’s purpose.  Love is what brings us together and makes us into a mature Body of believers.

3, This word was used in early Christian lit. to distinguish the baptized believer from someone still being taught.

4, The Gnostics – a heresy – used it to denote the man who has passed from mere faith to knowledge.

a, Preachers who harp on “I know that I know that I know!” are dangerously close to the gnostic heresy!

  1. II) PEACE IN THE BODY (vs. 15-17)

15  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17 (ESV)

  1. A) Peace that Rules (vs 15)

1, This applies to both individuals and churches

2, Peace = referred to umpires who presided over and presented prizes at games, normally used in the sense of judge, decide, control or rule.

3, The Peace of Christ should rule and decide what is and isn’t right behavior in our lives and our churches.  I should obey when it tells me something I’m about to say or do isn’t right.

  1. B) Be Thankful (vs. 15)

1, “Within the Pauline letters the word-group regularly denotes gratitude that finds outwards expression in thanksgiving; there is an emphasis in Paul on the public aspect of thanksgiving.”

2, Why aren’t we more thankful?

a, Could it be because Christ isn’t as real part of our everyday lives as I’d like Him to be?

  1. C) Peaceful Ministry (vs. 16)

1, The Word of Christ

a, more than the Bible – although that’s part of it

b, it’s the gospel message which centers on Christ, it’s everything about Him, it’s His special presence with us!

2, Dwell in us

a, dwell is to become a permanent part of your thoughts and feelings

b, it also means Christ is to be allowed to dwell in each church Body.

3, Richly

a, We must let the full effects of Christ’s Grace overflow us.

b, We must let Christ truly be Head of this church.

4, We are to teach and admonish one another – music is a way of ministry as surely as teaching and preaching.

1, We are to do this wisely – ie. under the influence of the indwelling Word of Christ and the at the direction of the Peace of Christ.

III) DO ALL IN THE NAME OF JESUS (vs. 17)

17  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

  1. A) Whatever

1, This command isn’t limited to church or “spiritual” things.

a, it deals with both speech and actions

b, it deals with our entire life!

c, FOR THE CHRISTIAN THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM IT!!!

  1. B) The Name of the Lord Jesus

1, This refers to His authority.

a, A Christian shouldn’t steal because you can’t do that with Christ’s o.k.

b, To act in the Name of someone means to act on their behalf – with their permission!

c, So this brings us back to verse 14, acting in the Name of Jesus is acting in Agape – God’s Love.

2, It also refers to Salvation

a, Acts 4: 8-13.

8  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9  if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10  let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11  This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” 13  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:8-13 (ESV)

b, “The whole content of salvation revealed in Jesus is comprised in his name.”

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Episode 160

Disciple Up #160
Colossians, Pt. 6: Keep Looking Up, Col. 3:1-11
By Louie Marsh, 5-20-2020

Intro.  This is a major turning point in the book, Paul now turns to practical matters having laid the doctrinal foundational – something he does regularly in his writings.

  1. I) GETTING SET (vs. 1-2)

1  If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:1-2 (ESV)

  1. A) Raised with Christ 1

1, raised = “co-raised” in Greek

2, Through Christ we are in the new, resurrection, life.

3, This sets the tone for our entire life.

  1. B) Setting our Minds & Hearts 1-2

1, “set your hearts” = seek with a direct reference to the orientation of the will.

a, It’s in the present tense showing a continual effort is needed.

2, “Set your minds”= a stronger word, means using all our thoughts and will.

3, We must continually set ourselves with everything within us!

 

  1. C) On Christ Above

1, “Where Christ is” spells out the place and character of above.

2) The Christian and “positivity”

a, I’m concerned because the church today is doing what’s done before, borrowing from the world.

1, In our day, everywhere you go, you constantly hear about how vital it is to have a positive attitude!  It’s an idol before the world worships daily!

b, I’m NOT saying we should have negative attitudes – God forbid!

c, I AM saying that for the Christian there is a reason for being positive.  We should look upwards because that’s where Christ is!

3) And for the Christian the very idea of what’s positive is different from the what the world thinks!  Malcolm Murreridge quote –

a, “It is a curious fact that today…one is called a pessimist if one ventures to express a certain contempt for the things of this world and dares to entertain the truly extraordinary hopes…that buoyed up the first Christians…I wonder whether, in the history of all the civilizations that have ever been, a more insanely optimistic notion has ever been entertained than that you and I, mortal, puny creatures, may yet aspire, with God’s Grace and Christ’s help, to be reborn into what St. Paul calls the glorious liberty of the Children of God.”  Jesus Rediscovered, 1969, pgs 76-77

 

  1. II) CHRIST OUR LIFE (vs. 3-4)

 

3  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4  When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:3-4 (ESV)

 

  1. A) Two Reasons to Keep Looking Up

1, We’ve died to the world

a, died = separated

b, We’ve died a spiritual death – through baptism

2, Our New Life is hidden in Christ

a, Perfect tense – it’s hidden and will remain that way!

 

  1. B) Hidden in Christ

1, Hidden from the world – because it’s spiritual

2, Hidden even from ourselves –

a, “The world knows neither Christ nor Christians, and Christians do not even fully know themselves.” – J. A. Bengel

b, Col. 2:3 – none of us fully understands this resurrection life.

c, That’s why we must continually set ourselves on the hidden life above.

 

  1. C) Christ Our Life (vs. 4)

1, When He appears – the secret’s out!

2, Christ is our spiritual life (zoe)

a, The closer you get to Him the more alive you are.

b, The farther away from Him you get – the less alive you are.

3, We will share His glory!!

a, Is that Grace or what??

 

III) OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE OLD NATURE  (vs. 5-11)

 

5  Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6  On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7  In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11  Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Colossians 3:5-11 (ESV)

 

  1. A) Putting Old Things to Death 5-6

1, We’re not to kill the old nature – it’s already dead! (Col. 3:3; Rom. 6:1-12)

 

2  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:2-4 (ESV)

 

a, Written in aorist tense = “a decisive initial act which introduces a settled attitude.”

B, Dead = “separated” in Scripture – not nonexistent.

2, We are to kill the things that belong to it.

a, Like our old behavior patterns.

3, Notice that this list of acts moves from the outward to the inward

a, “Sexual immorality” = porneia in Gk.  Used of adultery, fornication, prostitution, and every unlawful act.  It’s the word from which we get pornography.

b, The first four words in this list all deal with sexual issues, and show us God wants, but seldom gets, purity from His people.

c, Greed is Idolatry – another great sin of our nation.

 

  1. B) Putting Off and On 6-10

1, Paul uses this clothing metaphor to show our changed nature

22  to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24  and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV)

 

2, THIS IS A KEY CONCEPT!

a, Don’t just stop doing something bad!

b, But substitute something good for the bad!

c, Vacuum and straw illustration.

3, New Nature is constantly renewed

a, Through Knowledge – which is why we study the Word.

b, To transform us into the image of God.

  1. C) ALL ABOARD! (vs. 11)

1, No prejudice in Christ!! – Gal. 3:28

 

28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 (ESV)

a, no male/female, cultural or racial walls!

2, The New Creation is equally open to all.

3, So whoever you are, whatever you are, we urge you to come to Christ!

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Episode 152

 

Disciple Up #152
|Paul’s Ministry (Pt. 2), Col. 2: 1-7
By Louie Marsh, 3-25-2020

Introduction:  Today we’ll look at more of Paul’s Ministry, and at a crucial turning point in the book.  The next two episodes are the heart and soul of Colossians, you won’t want to miss it.  In vs. 1 Paul gets personal as a way of getting our attention and letting us know something important is about to be said.

  1. I) PAUL’S PURPOSE

1  For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2  that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:1-3 (ESV)

  1. A) To Encourage Their Hearts

1, encourage = “to call someone to yourself, to ask (sometimes in prayer) to exhort, to strengthen.”

2, Paul continues to struggle so that both the Col. and the Laodiceans might be strong in heart.

3, Hearts = center of being, deepest part of us, soul = mind, will, emotions.

  1. B) United (knit together) in Love

1, This presupposes that there already was a measure of division among them due to false teachers.

2, How does unity come?

a, Eph. 4:2-3 – it takes work!  b, Eph. 4:15 – honesty!

2  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3  eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3 (ESV)

15  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, Ephesians 4:15 (ESV)

15  Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly —and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of his body, the Church. Ephesians 4:15 (TLB)

c, Unity comes from an honest, open, loving dialogue, supported by loving actions.

  1. C) Complete Understanding of Christ

1, “full riches” used in LXX not only of material riches but spiritual too. – Isa. 33:6

6  and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is Zion’s treasure. Isaiah 33:6 (ESV)

2, “completely” = epignesgo

a, Gk = a full knowledge, more than just intellectual, but experience too.

3, Paul’s purpose is to bring us to a full knowledge of Christ – to make us complete disciples

4, “Christ has become to Christians all that the Wisdom of God was according to the Wisdom Lit. and more.” – Moule

a, He is the one and only source for fullness in this life!

  1. II) STAND FIRM!! (vs. 4-5)

4  I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. 5  For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Colossians 2:4-5 (ESV)

  1. A) Don’t Be Deceived!

1, By fine sounding arguments!  How not too – I Pet. 3: 15

15  But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

  1. B) With Them in Spirit

1, Paul was struggling, right there along with them, in spirit

2, Christ does this for us, and we should do it for others.

  1. C) Delighted!

1, Paul doesn’t deny their problems in this book.

2, BUT he also doesn’t neglect to encourage them either!

3, We must always seek to be balanced between these two sides.

III) PIVOT POINT (vs. 6-7)

[These two verses are in a pivotal position in Col.  1) They set the ground work for the positive instruction that serves as the basis to refute the heresy.  2) They summarize what’s gone before]

6  Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7  rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7 (ESV)

  1. A) How Did We Receive Christ?

1, By Faith – AS LORD

a, You begin Christian life by submitting to Christ as LORD!

2, You are saved by faith – Rom. 1:17 –  Through grace

17  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17 (ESV)

8  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)

3, You will only continue to follow Christ the same way

a, For Paul there is no hiatus between believing and behaving!

  1. B) Rooted!

1, All 3 Participles – rooted, built, & strengthened are passives.

a, These are things done to us – not things we do to ourselves

b, rooted is in perfect tense meaning Christians are in a settled state before God – fully accepted through faith.

2, Christ’s death & resurrection, and our faith in Him, allows God to root us in Him.

3, Now we must continue to allow the Lord to build us up and strengthen us in Him.

a, This continual life long process is done through teaching, prayer, etc.

  1. C) Thankfulness

1, Thanksgiving is referred to no fewer than SIX times in Col. four short chapters!  This should tell us something!

2, Without praise as a continual part of our lives are incomplete!

3, What should we praise Him for?

a, For starters how about salvation?

CT Article:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/march/pentecostal-la-pastor-defies-covid19-coronavirus-order.html

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Episode 146

146 Disciple Up

The Supremacy Of The Son, Col. 1: 15-23

By Louie Marsh, 2-12-2020

 

Intro. To help us understand vs. 15-20 underline the words ALL & EVERYTHING and then underline what they are connected to and you’ll find the following –

1) Firstborn of ALL creation (15)

2) He created ALL things (16)

3) He is before ALL things (17)

4) ALL things hold together in Him  17

5) He is supreme in ALL things (18)

6) ALL of the fulness is in Him (19)

7) He has reconciled ALL things to Him (20).

 

This passage is a hymn to the Son & shows us just how great He is.  Compare this to man-made gods like you find in the Iliad.  They are big men – Christ is the eternal God!

 

  1. I) WHO HE IS (vs. 15)

 

15  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. Colossians 1:15 (ESV)

 

  1. A) The Image of God

1, What does God look like?  John 14:8-9

 

8  Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9  Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? John 14:8-9 (ESV)

 

2, Christ will make us into this Image  Eph. 4:23-24

 

23  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24  and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:23-24 (ESV)

 

  1. B) Firstborn over all creation

1, What this does NOT mean!

a, that God first made Jesus & then Jesus made everything else

b, this is J.W. doctrine which they stole from Arianism.

 

2, What it DOES mean.

a, Firstborn (15) NOT first created

 

16  For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17 (ESV)

 

b, Vs. 16 says He created ALL things therefore He can’t be a created being Himself.

c, Vs. 17 He is BEFORE ALL things, therefore He can’t be a thing.

1, A thing = a created object, living or otherwise.

 

3, Firstborn over all creation!

a, How can Paul write that since we KNOW Jesus wasn’t the first person ever raised from the dead?

b, because the term “firstborn” doesn’t always mean “first one born”

c, The term usually means “preeminent” and is used that way in ancient lit. This is because the firstborn son had right of succession (unless crippled then next son was called “firstborn”).

51  Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” 52  The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Genesis 41:51-52 (ESV)

 

9  With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. Jeremiah 31:9 (ESV)

 

4, This passage is telling us that Jesus of Nazareth is the uncreated, eternal, self-sustaining God!

 

  1. II) WHAT HIS UNIVERSAL STANDING IS (vs. 16-20)
  2. Relating to Creation (vs. 16-17)

 

16  For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17 (ESV)

 

1, He created the EVERYTHING

a, the physical universe, the spiritual universe (angels, seraphim)

b, They were made for Him – He is their Lord by right of creation!

2, He sustains all things (17)

a, “hold together” is in the present tense

b, without His continuous sustaining activity everything would disintegrate.

 

  1. B) Relating to Redemption (vs. 18-20)

 

18  And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19  For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:18-20 (ESV)

 

1, He is Lord of the church.

a, it’s head – director – as our head directs our body

b, it’s beginning – the source of the body’s life

c, it’s pathfinder – the 1st one to be raised to an incorruptible state, He shows us the way to our eternal state in heaven.

2, He contains the Fulness (19)

a, the word “God” or “Father” in vs. 19 isn’t in the Gk. text, it’s placed there by translators to help us understand what Paul is saying.

b, Lit. Trans. = “in Him all the fulness was pleased to dwell”

c, What?  OT help.  24  Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:24 (ESV) OT teaches that God fills the universe, the word “pleased” is used of God’s pleasure.

d, SO Christ was the place or the one in Whom God, in all His fulness was pleased to dwell.  And ALL His attributes are perfectly displayed in Him.  This is permanent –

 

9  For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, Colossians 2:9 (ESV)

3, He has reconciled ALL things to Himself (vs. 20)

a, How? By dying a bloody violent death on the Cross

b, Who was reconciled?  US – if we accept the free gift that He bought with His life.

c, Not just people – ALL things!

19  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21  that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. Romans 8:19-22 (ESV)

d, Romans 8:19-22, teaches that Christ has drawn all of creation back to God.  When He returns all creation will be restored.

e, So now all things are obligated twice over.  Once by right of Creation and twice by Redemption.

 

III) WHAT ALL THIS MEANS TO US  (vs. 21-23)

 

20  If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21  “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22  (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23  These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:20-23 (ESV)

 

Avoid the appearance that lacks reality.

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Episode 142

Disciple Up # 142
Paul’s Prayer For You & Me, Col. 1: 9-14
By Louie Marsh, 1-15-2020

If you were asked to pray for a small, struggling group of Christians who you had heard of but never met, what would you pray for? Would you pray for revival, more warmth in their fellowship, more evangelism or that they try some new exciting program to grow? Well Paul didn’t he prayed that the Colossians – and us! – would know God’s will! Why? Lets see…

I) THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL

9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, Colossians 1:9 (ESV)

A) Filled Up
1, filled = filling out to completeness. We should be completely filled with knowledge of His will.
2, This knowledge comes from receiving God’s grace

6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, Colossians 1:6 (ESV)
3, Knowledge = a full grasp of something MUCH deeper than mere mental understanding. This is plague of Bible study!!
4, Paul is asking that we be filled with a complete knowledge of God’s will? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??

B) Through Wisdom & Understanding
1, Wisdom = a mind controlled by the Spirit of God.
2, understanding =applying this God given wisdom to our circumstances
3, This means that we must prayerfully analyze situations before jumping into them.

C) But What About God’s Will?
1, We’ve been talking about it!
2, God’s will in the N.T. isn’t primarily concerned with which job should I take etc.
A, Becoming like Christ.
B, Be obedient.

II) RESULTS OF THIS KNOWLEDGE

10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, Colossians 1:10-11 (ESV)

A) Living Worthy of the Lord
1, Paul doesn’t want our knowledge to be barren orthodoxy!
2, He wants our total understanding of God’s will to show in a transformed life!
a, Knowing God’s will is the only way to live a life pleasing to Him.
b, Full knowledge will make us want to please Him in every way!!
3, A transformed life bears fruit.
a, just as the Gospel does (vs. 6)
b, our fruit is our CONTINUAL good works for Christ
c, the more our full knowledge of God’s will grows the more fruit we’ll show.

B) Powered By God (vs 11)
1, I’m tired, I can’t produce fruit! You need some power to do it!
2, We are to be strengthened with all power.
a, power = dunamis (Acts 1:8) dynamite, dynamic, dynamo

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (ESV)

b, Might = Kratos = God’s perfect power, used of Him almost exclusively.
3, This means that God’s Kratos continually becomes dunamis in us!
a, so we depend on God – not circumstances – for the power to live.

C) The Purpose of the Power
1, Notice how these 3 qualities parallel the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5)
a, the purpose of God’s power is to bear fruit in our lives
2, Great endurance = the kind of perseverance which enables one to hold the position already taken in battle against enemy attacks from without. – Eph. 6

7 Look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident that he is Christ’s, let him remind himself that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we. 8 For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed. 9 I do not want to appear to be frightening you with my letters. 10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” 11 Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present. 12 Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. 13 But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. 15 We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, 16 so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence. 17 “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. 2 Corinthians 10:7-18 (ESV)

16 I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. 17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would but as a fool. 18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. 19 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! 20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. 21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that! But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 2 Corinthians 11:16-28 (ESV)

3, Patience = not striking back when attacked
4, Joyfully – these 2 qualities must be tempered with joy for we are not stoics!

III) FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT

12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:12-14 (ESV)

A) Give Thanks!
1, for what? The Power and the will of God! And for what follows.
2, Qualified to share with the saints.
a, notice that GOD qualified us – we didn’t qualify ourselves. HOW?

B) Rescued From Darkness (vs. 13)
1, Domain = exousia = the right or legal authority to rule
2, How does the Darkness or the Devil get this authority over us?
a, We give it to him by sinning
b, ALL non-Christians are helpless slaves of the Dark rebel kingdom – totally helpless to free themselves, just as all of us once were!
3, The Father must rescue us!
a, How? Through Christ’s death for us and His resurrection which gave Him the exousia, the legal authority, over Darkness.

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Matthew 28:18 (ESV)
b, The Beloved Son died – that we might live.
c, And He died that we might be transferred to the Kingdom of Light!
1, aorist tense – it’s an accomplished fact for those who believe!

C) The Way Out!
1, Redemption – the O.T. concept is of paying a price to buy something back that once belonged to you.
a, Christ died to buy us back from Satan to God Again

45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (ESV)

2, Forgiveness of Sins.
a, Forgive = to release or let go
b, What happens when WE don’t forgive?
1, It’s like an ancient penalty for murder, being chained to the corpse till it falls apart!
2, By dragging around your pain you’re stinking up your life, and everyone else’s you know!

3, Christ’s death forgives ALL OUR SINS!
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Colossians Pt 3 – Paul’s Prayer for You and Me

Disciple Up Show Notes #137
Colossians: The Supremacy of Christ, Pt 3
Paul’s Prayer for You and Me, Col. 1: 9-14

As we study Colossians you might also want to read Ephesians since there are many parallels between them.

If you were asked to pray for a small, struggling group of Christians who you had heard of but never met, what would you pray for?  Would you pray for revival, more warmth in their fellowship, more evangelism or that they try some new exciting program to grow?  Well Paul didn’t he prayed that the Colossians – and us! – would know God’s will!  Why?  Lets see…

  1. I) THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL (vs. 9)

9  And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, Colossians 1:9 (ESV)

  1. A) Filled Up

1, filled = filling out to completeness.  We should be completely filled with knowledge of His will.

2, This knowledge comes from receiving God’s grace (vs. 6)

6  which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, Colossians 1:6 (ESV)

3, Knowledge = a full grasp of something MUCH deeper than mere mental understanding.

                              a, THIS IS THE PLAGUE OF BIBLE STUDY!!

4, Paul is asking that we be filled with a complete knowledge of God’s will?  HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??

  1. B) Through Wisdom & Understanding

1, Wisdom = a mind controlled by the Spirit of God.

2, understanding =applying this God given wisdom to our circumstances

3, This means that we must PRAYERFULLY ANALYIZE situations before jumping into them.

  1. C) But What About God’s Will?

1, We’ve been talking about it!

2, God’s will in the N.T. isn’t primarily concerned with which job should I take etc.

3, It’s really concerned with verses 10-11.

  1. II) RESULTS OF THIS KNOWLEDGE (vs. 10-11)

 10  so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11  May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, Colossians 1:10-11 (ESV)

 A) Living Worthy of the Lord (vs. 10)

1, Paul doesn’t want our knowledge to be barren orthodoxy!

2, He wants our total understanding of God’s will to show in a transformed life!

a, Knowing God’s will is the only way to live a life pleasing to Him.

b, Full knowledge will make us want to please Him in every way!!

3, A transformed life bears fruit.

a, just as the Gospel does (vs. 6)

b, our fruit is our CONTINUAL good works for Christ

c, the more our full knowledge of God’s will grows the more fruit we’ll show.

  1. B) Powered By God (vs 11)

1, I’m tired, I can’t produce fruit!  You need some power to do it!

2, We are to be strengthened with all power.

a, power = dunamis (Acts 1:8) dynamite, dynamic, dynamo

b, Might = Kratos = God’s perfect power, used of Him almost exclusively.

3, This means that God’s Kratos continually becomes dunamis in us!

a, so we depend on God – not circumstances – for the power to live.

  1. C) The Purpose of the Power (vs 11)

1, Notice how these 3 qualities parallel the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5)

a, the purpose of God’s power is to bear fruit in our lives

2, Great endurance = the kind of perseverance which enables one to hold the position already taken in battle against enemy attacks from without.

3, Patience = not striking back when attacked

4, Joyfully – these 2 qualities must be tempered with joy for we are not stoics!

III) FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT (vs. 12-14)

12  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:12-14 (ESV)

  1. A) Give Thanks!

1, for what?  The Power and the will of God!  And for what follows.

2, Qualified to share with the saints.

a, notice that GOD qualified us – we didn’t qualify ourselves. HOW?

  1. B) Rescued From Darkness (vs. 13)

1, Dominion = exousia = the right or legal authority to rule

2, How does the Darkness or the Devil get this authority over us?

a, We give it to him by sinning

b, ALL non-Christians are helpless slaves of the Dark rebel kingdom – totally helpless to free themselves, just as all of us once were!

3, The Father must rescue us!

a, How?  Through Christ’s death for us and His resurrection which gave Him the exousia, the legal authority, over Darkness.

b, The Beloved Son died – that we might live.

c, And He died that we might be transferred to the Kingdom of Light!

1, aorist tense – it’s an accomplished fact for those who believe!

  1. C) The Way Out! (vs. 14)

1, Redemption – the O.T. concept is of paying a price to buy something back that once belonged to you.

a, Christ died to buy us back from Satan to God Again (Mark 10:45)

45  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (ESV)

2, Forgiveness of Sins.

a, Forgive = to release or let go

b, What happens when WE don’t forgive?

1, It’s like an ancient penalty for murder, being chained to the corpse till it falls apart!

2, By dragging around your pain you’re stinking up your life, and everyone else’s you know!

3, Christ’s death forgives ALL OUR SINS!

4, You must receive Him for this forgiveness to be yours!

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Episode 135

 Disciple Up Show Notes
The Supremacy of Christ, Colossians Pt. 2
Thank God For the Gospel!
By Louie Marsh, 11-20-2019

THANK GOD FOR THE GOSPEL!
Col. 1: 1: 1-8

Intro. Paul wrote this book around 62-63 AD probably from Rome. Colossae was in Phrygia on the Lycus river – nearby were the larger cities of Hierapolis & Laodicea. In Paul’s day Colossae was in decline – today the site is uninhabited.

This letter was written to clear up a heresy which was being taught in the church. The false teaching had not made as strong of inroads in the Colossian church that another heresy did in Galatia. We don’t know the exact form of this heresy but it appears to be some sort of cross between Judaism & the Mystery religions. It seems to be a forerunner of Gnosticism, a heresy which would nearly destroy the church in the 2nd century.

I) PAUL’S GREETING – vs. 1-2

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. Colossians 1:1-2 (ESV)

A) Form and Substance
1, Paul follows the typical Greek form of a letter opening.
2, However, while his form is Greek the content is uniquely Christian.
a, Putting Christian content into cultural forms is part of God’s plan for reaching the world.
3, Example of typical letter – Fred, Roman Centurion to Harvey Tax preparer – “What do you mean I’m being audited??”

B) His Authority
1, Paul was an Apostle of Christ.
a, Apostle = “one clothed with the authority and endued with the power of the sender.”
b, This means that what follows isn’t just the opinion of a missionary – it’s the Word of the Almighty God – & is to be obeyed!

2, An Apostle by God’s Will
a, he didn’t get this job on the basis of his resume – it was God’s sovereign choice.
b, Since he’s never been there Paul wants them to clearly understand this.
c, None of us serve God because of our knowledge, goodness etc. We serve by His Choice which is an extension of His Grace!

C) Who His Readers Are
1, Saints.
a, ALL Christians are saints! Not just long dead nice guys!
B, How? We have been set apart by God by His Grace!
2, Faithful Brethren
a, a word of encouragement to this small and troubled church.
3, Grace and Peace
a, Grace encapsulates what salvation is all about – a free gift!
b, Peace, this word in Greek was used to translate the Hebrew Shalom, which means “wholeness.” That’s the goal of grace in our lives.
c, This comes from a God Who is our Father – not a distant god.

II) PAUL’S THANKSGIVING vs. 3-4

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, Colossians 1:3-4 (ESV)

A) Thank God! vs. 3
1, Paul is sincere in writing this letter
a, note that he didn’t write a thanksgiving in Galatians & 2 Cor.
2, Paul praises God – not men – something the church today could learn from!
a, He recognizes work well done, as we’ll see, but true praise he reserves for God.
3, Paul, who is always bugging us to pray, practices what he preaches.

B) Faith and Love vs. 4

1, “faith in Christ” doesn’t mean that the object of their faith is Christ (though of course He is!) but the Greek refers to Christ as the sphere in which their faith works.
a, They are in Christ (vs. 2) we draw our spiritual life from Him, all that we are and can hope to become must come from HIM. We really are IN HIM!
b, to be “In Christ” is to be under His Lordship
2, Love for our brothers & sisters – the mark of the true Christian.

C) Hope, Faith & Love vs. 5

5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, Colossians 1:5 (ESV)

1, Hope gives birth to this Love and Faith that we have.
a, These 3 qualities are often linked in Scripture, this is an indication of their importance. ALL 3 are needed to live a truly Christ-like life.
2, What Hope? The Greek indicates an objective hope – the 2nd coming, the resurrection, eternal life.
a, it’s objective because it’s secured for us by our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus, & because it’s promised to us in the Word of God

D) Thank God for the Gospel vs. 6

6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, Colossians 1:6 (ESV)

1, The Gospel = the word of truth, as opposed to the false religions around them.
2, The Gospel’s two vital characteristics:
a, Growing
1, Colossae was on the Lycus Riv., a tributary of the Meander Riv. which was famous for it’s many curves – hence the English word.
2, The Gospel doesn’t meander – it grows – if not much where you are right now, we know it is in other places & it will grow here if we’re faithful.
b, Producing Fruit:
1, Because it’s the living (Word) logos of God it bears fruit
2, Two Fruits – reconciliation to God – and a changed life!

III) HOW THE GOSPEL CAME TO THEM vs. 7-8

7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. Colossians 1:7-8 (ESV)

A) Epaphras
1, short for Epaphraoditus – a very common name in those days – there’s no evidence that he’s the guy as Phil. 2:25, but he could be.

25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, Philippians 2:25 (ESV)

2, Servant = deacon
a, who preached the Gospel, started churches, and helped Paul
b, a deacon brought them the Gospel!

B) Learning the Gospel
1, Learned is an unusual word for Paul to use in this context
2, it means Epaphras gave them a systematic instruction in the Gospel
a, perhaps like the Bereans, they too studied diligently.
3, Many people have to come to Christ this way.
a, they need more than a sermon or two, they must study it out
b, If you are dealing with someone like this, or ARE someone like this, don’t give up! Keep giving them reasons for faith. (Acts 18: 4)

4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks. Acts 18:4 (ESV)

News Article: What Baptism Tells Us About the “Seal” of Believer’s Baptism

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/november/research-believers-baptism-teens-faith-affiliation-jssr.html

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Episode 134

Disciple Up #134 Show Notes
Colossians: The Supremacy of Christ
Introduction: Examine Our Relationship to the Truth
By Louie Marsh, 11-13-2019

 Colossae. Colossae was in Phrygia, where religion was practiced with intensity and sometimes frenzy (e.g., the famous mother-goddess cult of Cybele). There is evidence for a Jewish presence in Phrygia as early as the sixth century b.c.; this Phrygian Judaism seems to have mirrored its culture to a significant extent. Christianity likewise exhibited unorthodox tendencies in this region in subsequent centuries. Colossae was a small and socially unimportant city by this period; it is probably only one of many cities in which Paul’s students had founded churches (Acts 19:10). The city was severely damaged or destroyed by an earthquake in a.d. 61, hence many scholars think that Paul wrote before that date.

Situation. Col. 2 may indicate that Christians were attracted to mystical or apocalyptic elements in a Judaism thoroughly influenced by Phrygian culture. (A great number of backgrounds have been proposed for the error at Colossae: mystery cults, broader Hellenistic mysticism, Hellenistic Judaism, Qumran-type Judaism and so on. The merit of considering these sources is that they all reflect some broader cultural ideas that played into the problems Paul confronted in Colossae; even Qumran parallels, while limited to Palestine, provide evidence for some more widespread Jewish beliefs in this period. The one suggestion with little merit to sustain it is Gnosticism, since full Gnostic systems cannot be dated this early. But that the Colossian error reflects one synthesis of different streams of thought that later developed toward Gnosticism is quite possible.)

That some Jewish Sibylline oracles may issue from that region and the activity of later Christian Montanists there both suggest the possibility of ecstatic elements in local Judaism (Col. 2:18). Acts testifies that Paul was preaching Christ to philosophically minded audiences in this period (see comment on Acts 19:9), and letters like Ephesians and Colossians give us an indication of Paul’s grasp of Greek philosophy and also some of the popular philosophical ideas that permeated both Gentile and Jewish thought in mid-first-century Asia Minor. – Bible Background Commentary – The IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament.

Colossians was written from Rome during Paul’s (first) imprisonment there, as recorded in Acts 28:30. At the same time Paul wrote Ephesians and Philemon (ca. a.d. 60-62). In Philemon 1, 9 Paul referred to himself as “a prisoner of Christ Jesus.” Ephesians also contains references to Paul being a “prisoner” (Eph. 3:1; 4:1). And Ephesians refers to Tychicus carrying the epistles from Paul to their destinations (Eph. 6:21; cf. Col. 4:7). Since the record of Acts ends around a.d. 60-62, Colossians was probably written during this two-year imprisonment. And since neither Colossians, Ephesians, nor Philemon mention the outcome of Paul’s trial, anticipated in Philippians 1:19-21, it can be assumed that Colossians was written before Philippians.

Colosse was in the Lycus Valley, about 100 miles east of Ephesus in Asia Minor. Its name is possibly derived from Colossus, a large statue, which in turn may have been named for the unusual shape of stony deposits there. Colosse is about 12 miles from Hierapolis and Laodicea, the other two cities of that valley (see the location of these three on the map between Acts and Rom.). The area was rich in mineral deposits and was also subject to frequent earthquakes. Rich pasturelands were nearby. Several references in Colossians indicate that Paul had not visited the city (Col. 1:7; 2:1; 4:12).

Purposes

Three purposes seem to have been in Paul’s mind as he wrote Colossians. First, he sought to show the deity and supremacy of Christ in the face of the Colossian heresy (1:18; 2:9). Second, he wanted to lead believers into spiritual maturity (1:28; 2:6-7). Third, he wanted to inform them about his state of affairs and elicited their prayers on his behalf (4:2-8).

The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty.

Americans & The Truth

Christians vs non-Christians

  • 50% of Christians vs. 25% of non-Christians said that there are moral truths which are unchanging, that truth is not relative to the circumstances. (1997)
  • Robert Wuthnow has documented this dis­turbing trend in modern spirituality:
    Spirituality is no longer true or good because it meets absolute stan­dards of truth or goodness, but because it helps me get along. I am the judge of its worth. If it helps me find a vacant parking place, I know I am on the right track. If it leads me into the wilderness calling me to face dangers I would rather not deal with at all, then it is a form of spir­ituality I am unlikely to choose.
  • Wade Clark Roof confirms these findings. He notes that people do not approach truth objectively but want to know what it can do for them and how it can do it more efficiently. A consumerist mentality allows each person to choose his or her particular brand of truth just as he or she might choose a certain make of automobile or toothpaste, according to preferences and perceived needs.

The Barna survey asked questions about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Satan, and demons.

All 1,871 self-described Christians were asked about their perception of God. In total, three-quarters (78%) said he is the “all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the universe who rules the world today.” The remaining one-quarter chose other descriptions of God – depictions that are not consistent with biblical teaching (e.g., everyone is god, god refers to the realization of human potential, etc.).

For the other survey items a four-point opinion scale was used to measure people’s reactions to statements about each spiritual entity.

Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan.

Although a core teaching of the Christian faith is the divinity and perfection of Jesus Christ, tens of millions of Christians do not accept that teaching. More than one-fifth (22%) strongly agreed that Jesus Christ sinned when He lived on earth, with an additional 17% agreeing somewhat. Holding the opposing view were 9% who disagreed somewhat and 46% who disagreed strongly. Six percent did not have an opinion on this matter.

As with Satan, most Christians do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living force, either. Overall, 38% strongly agreed and 20% agreed somewhat that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity.” Just one-third of Christians disagreed that the Holy Spirit is not a living force (9% disagreed somewhat, 25% disagreed strongly) while 9% were not sure.

Influence of Faith

Most self-described Christians contend that their religious faith has significantly impacted their life. Almost six out of ten adults (59%) said their faith had “greatly transformed” their life, while 29% said their faith “has been helpful but has not greatly transformed” their life and 9% stated that their religious faith “has not made much of a difference” in who they are and how they live.

Christians were asked if they believed that a person must either side with God or with the devil – that there is no in-between position. A large majority strongly agreed with the notion (61%) while an additional 15% agreed somewhat. Just one out of ten adults disagreed somewhat (10%) and a similar proportion (11%) disagreed strongly. Surprisingly few adults (3%) did not have an opinion on this matter.

Thoughts on Other Faiths

Among self-identified Christians, few held a positive opinion of Wicca. Overall, just 5% had a positive opinion while 55% had a negative opinion of Wicca. However, a huge segment (40%) did not know enough about Wicca to have formed an opinion of it.

Survey respondents were asked whether they believed that Mormons are Christians. Mormons themselves claim to be Christian, but most evangelical leaders say that they are not. There was no clear-cut perspective among the self-described Christians: four out of ten felt Mormons were Christian (18% strongly agreed, 21% somewhat agreed), three out of ten disagreed (17% strongly, 12% somewhat), and three out of ten were not sure what to think.

Views on the Bible

A slight majority of Christians (55%) strongly agree that the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches, with another 18% agreeing somewhat. About one out of five either disagree strongly (9%) or somewhat (13%) with this statement, and 5% aren’t sure what to believe.

When faced with the statement that “the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths,” the group was evenly split between those who accepted the idea (19% agreed strongly, 22% agreed somewhat) and those who rejected it (28% disagreed strongly, 12% disagreed somewhat), while leaving a sizeable portion (20%) undecided.

How Born Agains Differ

  • Born again adults are at least twice as likely as notionals to strongly agree that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches; that their life has been greatly transformed by their faith..
  • Born again adults are more than twice as likely as notionals to strongly disagree that Satan is just a symbol of evil, and that Jesus sinned while He lived on earth.
  • Born again adults are more than three times as likely as notionals to strongly disagree that the Holy Spirit is merely a symbol of God’s power or presence; that Mormons are Christians; and that the Bible, Koran and Book of Mormon teach the same truths.
  • Born again adults are one-third more likely than notionals to possess a definition of God as the omniscient, omnipotent creator and ruler of the world; nearly 60% more likely to believe that you either side with God or Satan because there is no in-between

If you’re going to live right in a warped world – then you have to start with the truth – at Jesus’ trial Pilate asked Christ, “What is truth?”  A very modern question – and one that must be answered if we are get though life the way we ought too.

  • “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” – Sir Winston Churchill
  • “The truth is the most valuable thing we have.” – Mark Twain
  • How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four; calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg. – Abraham Lincoln
  • Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. – Daniel Patrick Moyniham
  • Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true. – Demosthenes
  • It takes two to speak truth — one to speak and another to hear. – Henry David Thoreau

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Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


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