Saturday, August 27, 2022

The Indwelling Presence

Bobservations' Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The Apostle Paul’s description of Jesus from Chapter 1 of Colossians continues on into Chapter 2. Error had crept silently into the Church at Colossae. It makes me wonder just how far the error had caused the church to stray from the pure Gospel. Why, because Paul sees the need to lay the groundwork of faith in that church again. Even a little error, is still error, and everything after the error is therefore based upon that error.

Son of the Father, Creator of all things. Truly, even the “glue” that holds all the physical realm of earth and space together: (1:17 – “ Him all things consist.” Science wondered for ages what it was that caused atoms and atomic structures to cling together, when at the molecular level they would normally repel one another.

A glycol-protein was discovered as recently as 1979 called “laminin,” and it is heavy enough in molecular weight to create a fibrous component that acts to keep molecules together. When depicted graphically, the substance falls naturally into a geometric shape. And the shape is that of a cross.

If, as Paul’s word tell us that Jesus, the Word of God created all things as God “spoke” them into existence, then Jesus has indeed put His signature on this substance we call laminin. (Google it and call up images of it.) This glycol-protein benefits the human body in a multitude of ways, too numerous to list here.

Is it too strong to say that science is finally catching up to Biblical truth, and proving it? Science will say “Yes! That’s going too far!” But what does the Spirit say unto every believer who is willing to believe Paul’s words?

Your Google search will even list the many ways that laminin even expands our understanding of the earth, our physical selves, and by extrapolation, the universe itself. With full faith is Christ, I’m quite comfortable saying that Jesus is the glue that holds all things together, for by Him, all things consist. But what do I know? I’m no scientist. I’m a believer, and if scientific discoveries support Biblical truth, who am I to argue?!

Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God...”

If you can believe these first four words of the Bible, you can trust the rest of it also.

Today's Audio Message:
Colossians 2:1-8 - "The Indwelling Presence"


Last week in chapter 1, Paul taught us the greatest affirmation of the deity, humanity and sovereignty of Christ.  Jesus, in whom we have redemption through his blood, and the forgiveness of sins is the image of God, the Creator of all things.  He is eternal, the Head of the body, the Church.  That all of the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him.  Keep that in mind as we get into chapter 2.

Today, as we look at Colossians chapter 2, Paul, in his love for the church, is in great conflict as he’s looking at the Colossian assembly. He is agonizing over them. He includes with them a couple of other cities in that area, Hierapolis and Laodicea, all three of them being sister cities located in the Lycus Valley. Why? Because he sees these churches being attacked by false teachers and false doctrine (legalizers, philosophizers, ascetics, mystics), all kinds of heresy from everywhere.

Paul knew that the Judaizers would follow the new Gentile believers and try to put them under the law.  That they would also be bringing with them some of the superstitions of Judaism. In essence false doctrines that would change the very definition of FAITH and TRUST in CHRIST ALONE. They did not believe Jesus to be all sufficient for everything we need. If there is anything that a believer needs to understand is that Jesus plus anything is error. Those who teach otherwise are teaching a false gospel. 

In our day there are many people who go off searching the religious cults and mystery religions for a deeper spiritual life when the key to fulfillment is in Jesus Christ. 

Paul is having an inward struggle and continues writing, " That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians 2:2-3).

We see the Apostle Paul desiring that they grow and mature in the faith they have received, that their hearts would be comforted, or strengthened.  He does not want them to lose heart but encourage them. This word “heart” here has reference to our intellect and our will. The heart is the place of responsibility., and it is that which God is going to judge.  Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" 

If we are to be comforted or strengthened in our hearts, then we are going to be comforted by the Comforter, or strengthened by the Strengthener, and that is the Holy Spirit. It is important for believers to have a strong mind, and the way our mind is strengthened is by feeding on the Word of God where our minds are renewed, where we reject doubts, discern right from wrong, and keep and eternal perspective.

Why all of this concern? "I say this lest any man should beguile you with enticing words" (Colossians 2:4). Paul does not want them to become ensnared in false teaching. There were slick and sophisticated false teachers who had infiltrated the church. Their reasoning sounded convincing, but it was far from the truth. Like fast talking marketers selling goods that we do not need, these false teachers are selling heresy, and denying the all-sufficiency of Christ. 

False teachers always claim a secret knowledge to entice others to follow. Their secret knowledge could only be obtained by following their prescribed rituals and ceremonies. But scripture clearly teaches that true knowledge that leads to God is found in Christ Jesus, and in no other.  

God’s mystery is Christ! Christ is a great treasure house where you find wisdom and knowledge. Do you want an intimate knowledge of God? Look to Christ. 

In last week's study, we read Paul’s in-depth description of who Jesus is.  In verse 19 Paul writes, “For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.”  This fullness is the fullness of the Godhead (The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) bodily (Colossians 2:9). What is truly incredible is when we become a Christian, we are complete in Him. There is no other necessary.  Jesus has no rivals. Nothing can be added to Him to complete our salvation, for we are saved through Christ and Christ alone.

Read John 14:16, 18, 20.  The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are One, and they dwell in us…Christ in us. Can it be any more intimate than that?

I encourage you to go back and read Colossians 1:13-21 again. Do you want to know what God is like? Take a long hard look and examine Christ. Do you want an intimate knowledge of God? Look to Christ. If Christ dwells in us, what more could we possibly need? Nothing at all!

Paul is reminding them, and all of us that we are complete in Christ! We don't need to be captured by philosophy; "we are complete in Him" (vs.9). "For in Him (alone) dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (vs. 10).  Further, Peter tells us that "we have become partakers of the divine nature." - 2 Peter 1:4

We will never need anything outside of Jesus Christ!

The apostle Paul stressed this great secret: "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). That is the secret of Christianity. It is Christ living His life in and through you to God’s glory.

Paul said in effect, the mystery is out. It is an open secret. Go to the house tops and shout: Christ the hope of glory! In the first century the word "mystery" was a truth undiscoverable except by divine revelation. The great mystery is that the believer has a spiritual union in Christ. That which was once a secret has now been fully revealed in the good news of Jesus Christ. The content of this mystery is "Christ in you." It is not found in some cultic religious leader, or secret formulas, or philosophies. It is Christ! It is Christ indwelling in His people. He is the grounds for the expectation of glory.

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