A New Creature!

These Judaizers or men who thought they had Christ but were trying to make Christians obey the Jewish Law.  Paul talked about them all through the Book of Galatians.  They were trying to make a show of the Christians they had reconverted to the Law.  They were making a show and were hedging in people who were saved so they would follow the Laws of Israel.  But they wanted so bad for Christ to have included the ceremonial law as part of being saved, but He hadn’t included it.  These misguided men wanted the Law only because they did not want to suffer persecution for the Cross of Christ- to appease the Jews who were so violently against the new Christianity.

Even the Judaizers could not completely obey God’s former law, as Jesus had showed the Pharisees when He was on earth.  But they wanted new Christians to obey it so that they would be glorified by their numbers and similarities to the Jews.  Paul only wanted to glory in the cross- the very thing the Jews could not understand.  They could not understand a life without the Law and thought God would never change.

The cross was so important in the making of and completion of God’s salvation for man.  The Law was incomplete and had no heaven or reward involved with it.  That’s why the Messiah had to come.  But they expected someone different and once again their flesh blinded them to the true Messiah.  The cross did so much work for man and the work of salvation.  Like as Paul was crucified to the world and the world to him.  The world is a very evil place.  The cross has a very prominent place in Christianity.  We also crucify the flesh figuratively with Christ and die to self much more spiritually.

Gal6:15  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor un-circumcision means anything, but a new creature.  A new creature loves as that in 1Cor13.  No one ever did that before.  All new creatures are given mercy and peace for their struggles to be like Jesus.  Mercy- room to breathe and Peace- being assured of God and salvation.

It’s About Love

The scriptures are at the end of the page this time.

Circumcision is meaningless as of now, as of Jesus.  You can’t be saved by following the law.  Remember if a law could save surely these could have done it.  The Jewish laws were as good as any.  The American laws can’t save you but they can un-save you, by ruining your life if you don’t obey them.  Ha.  The justice system- be that as it may.  So why bother with laws at all, just love GOD and love your neighbor then the law would be fulfilled like Jesus did, by all of us.  He fulfilled God’s purpose for the law.  He did it in both love and letter.

A person who is struggling to obey laws is having a hard time and always having to pay for his mistakes.  At least he should be paying for the ones in his mind, if there are none outside his mind.  But a person who loves is a new creature because, see the difference?  A person struggling to perform and yet failing, he is focused not on love but on performance.  But a person focused on love is new- who does that, except a lovesick Romeo. Ha.  People who focus on love are new and always getting better because there is no condemnation for failures.  This is the only discipline where that is true.  God wants to help us succeed so this too is a very special reason to have joy.  You are not whipped or put in jail but you are corrected and forgiven and encouraged to do better.

God is Good, and you support your families, talk about Him to others, endure persecution, learn and grow and become wise.  He, it, is all I ever wanted.  What could be easier?  But it is hard though.  God loves us and we need love.  We can’t earn that love by obeying the most laws.  Or we can’t earn it by being the ‘Most Obedient for January, 2017’.  But maybe you don’t like the new creatures that God made.  Don’t like God, new creatures, obedient people.  Just don’t like Christians…..

Well I guess you just don’t want to be liked, because what goes around comes around.  Maybe you won’t be liked when you are putting out love.  Galatians 6:16.  So if you like being a new creature Paul prays a blessing on you- peace and mercy.  And they are really going to need it, for the reason that many people don’t like us and too many people want to constrain us to the law.  So we are given mercy because not many have it as a part of their make-up.  Also peace is given, because reality sets in once in a while and we need peace to offset what people say about us and feel balanced again after hurt feelings.  But thank God for the Christians we meet every where that are usually supportive and kind.

 

Gal 6:12  As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

Gal 6:13  For neither they themselves who are (c-word) keep the law; but desire to have you (c-word), that they may glory in your flesh.

Gal 6:14  But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Gal 6:15  For in Christ Jesus neither (c-word) availeth any thing, nor       (un-c-word), but a new creature.

Gal 6:16  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

 

 

In Case You Wait

Israel will be attacked in a war that was prophesied in Ezekiel 37 &38.  Their philosophy about being attacked was that they will take a hit and they know they will survive because God said it in the Bible.  But they have changed their outlook on this situation by saying now they will take some people with them if they are attacked and survive too.  In Psalm 7 in the Literal Version of the Bible it says that these enemies of Israel will have their mischief fall upon their own heads or crowns.  I think this means that Israel will attack them in return and make them pay for doing this.

So I am just trying to give you a foundation, a foot hold, in case you find yourself needing the Lord when the world becomes a desperate place.  There are more prophecies that when you see them you will know that Jesus is telling the truth.  That God’s hand is in all these things in the last days will be apparent because they are prophesied.  The first and biggest is that Israel became a nation.  No other country in history has come back after destruction and dispersion to form a new nation in the same place.  So there is this war that will take place and when you see one world religion, one world government and one world bank, you will know that they are expected.  The religion is being talked about by the pope and he is making efforts to gather all religions under one roof.  The President is talking about the government and trying to make the USA a part of it rather than a sovereign.  The world bank is in place now.

Then there is the Revival and Apostasy, two separate and distinct activities that could be going on at the same time.  In China over 35,000 people are becoming Christians every day.  We are not hearing about it in the news because they don’t want to help or encourage a Christian world to form.  In Africa also many are becoming Christians because of the AIDS epidemic.  There are many kids in orphanages hearing the Word of GOD and many are reached before they die.  The Great Apostasy is happening in the West-USA and Europe.  Many are turning away from God and becoming Atheists.  They have given up, their love has gone cold, they could not wait any longer.

Another interesting fact is that Turkey has gone to Russia for help and that completes the block of nations that will attack Israel in the war.  It has happened and will happen step by step.  One step at a time it has happened until we see the completion of the prophecies in the Bible- the invasion of Israel.  Russia is already in Syria their next door neighbor!  There will also be the antichrist on world TV reading in Gods temple on the temple mount a little later.

That is how you will know if you wait to get saved- too long- and you will have to die before you can go to heaven.  These are substantial solid prophecies that will happen.  You should be watching.

Father of Faith

Gal 3:16  Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.

Gal 3:17  What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.

Gal 3:18  For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.

Gal 3:19  Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.

Gal 3:20  Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one.

Gal 3:21  Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.

Gal 3:22  But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Gal 3:23  But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.

Gal 3:24  Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

Gal 3:25  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Gal 3:26  For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Gal 3:27  For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Gal 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Gal 3:29  And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

 

In verse 28 it is referring to the customs of the land and the times.  ‘There is neither male nor female’.  Jesus made men and women equal- to be treated as such and it should be satisfying to each.  This was a new idea and is seen through God’s eyes.  The world is a little slow catching on- and so the big fight for women’s rights.

Jesus is the seed of Abraham.  He is the Messiah.  Messiah means Savior of the world.  This is a promise that was frequently spoken to Abraham in such passages as Genesis 15 & 17.  He believed GOD that one of his descendants would be the Messiah and that he would have a son in his old age.  This is the birth of faith.  This is the blessing of being Abraham- the Messiah in his bloodline and being the father of all the Jews.  He was already rich, powerful and living in the Promised Land.  God really loved Abraham.  He was possibly the only believer at the time.  God’s plan had unfolded and we don’t need another father of many nations or a Messiah because we already have them.  But don’t feel left out.  You can use your gifts and be yourself and do God’s work.  Now God wants to save as many as He can and have many more people love Him and follow HIM and in turn He will bring them to heaven.

GAL 2-2-2

Last night God stopped in to improve my last message.  I didn’t see Him but I heard HIM.  He made me think about a scripture I was on and I wrote and wrote about it.  I thought I had more to say so here I am trying to see for sure if I do.

It was about the second half of Galatians 2, about vs. 14.  It is harder for Gentiles to live like Jews than it is for Jews to live like Jews.  So don’t compel them to live like Jews because they can’t.  Even Jews have trouble being good Jews.  All these years Jews have had the law and have tried, tried, tried to the point of not trying anymore.  They have completely failed in the Spirit of the law, but have gained a measure of obedience but not so much as to be able to brag about their goodness.  Paul was blameless, Elijah was blameless, Enoch was blameless.    The supposedly best of the best killed Jesus, could not change, and fought Him over everything He said.  They had no faith.

We are justified by faith because we believe Jesus died and lived and rose again to justify us by faith.  We believe He gained righteousness and gave it to us.  We have the righteousness of Jesus because we believe He gave it to us.  We believe in Him and what He did and how He did it.  We believe in you Jesus.  You loved us and shared with us your eternal life.  We believe in what you did, we believe in your goodness, that you are good.  Like we believe in someone that can succeed.  Like we believe in someone can turn their life around with the Holy Spirit.  Like we believe we are becoming more like you by your grace and help and trials.  It is well with our souls. Like we believe in your word that it works, because we have done it and know.  Like ‘a soft answer turneth away wrath’- I have seen it enough, it does turn away wrath.  We believe in eternal life.

Is Peter rebuilding what he once destroyed?  God showed him twice that the Gentiles were not unclean in a vision and Cornelius received the gift of tongues just like the first fruits of the Jews in Christ.  He knew!  But he backslid a little that day or days limiting himself, to the Gentiles, and being afraid of his own people that he knew disagreed with him a little or a lot.  He wasn’t sure of this situation.  He let his fear for his skin come out and his fear like when he denied Jesus.  Well never again after Paul’s correction.  But he whined and said Paul’s beliefs were sometimes hard to understand, in a letter.  Fear is real, Peter was a great man but always humbled by his fear.  It was a very good lesson, Jesus.  I’m a whiner myself that is why I can relate to this lesson.  I am afraid to die.  I think about it.  What if I’m from Smyrna, I hope I don’t have a choice when I die or am killed.   Peter did go on to die.  He must have trained himself not to run.  He died honorably a criminal’s death, but for a Christian the best- hope I can.

Gal 2:20  “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Then the hope vs.20; the genius of Paul and his thinking process- pearls of wisdom from GOD, immense consolation, HOPE, a reason to go on, honor to go to in time of need and elevation of our spirits- a reason to go on and face any coming state of affairs.  Fierce consolation in the face of death and returning, God lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shadow ‘Dog’

Col 2:8  See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Col 2:9  For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,

Col 2:10  and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

You know it is empty deceit when it doesn’t include Jesus, when it is not about Him.  If it is only about men and, nature or the thoughts of men, you know it is the world, the flesh, and the devil, and empty.  It possibly has no eternal significance and is not going anywhere but leads to death.  ‘There is a way that seems right to a man, but it leads to death’.

You have to know Christ as He is in the Bible.  The God man Jesus, the Son of God,’ who has the words of eternal life’, for us.  Jesus is the Messiah, the one who came to save us.  He is Immanuel, ‘God with us’.  In Him is all the fullness of Deity in bodily form.  I can’t express that enough it is so awesome.  Only God is awesome.  He is the only one who can make us complete.  He does- we are more simple beings we don’t need a lot to be fixed- a little love and blessing and to be on the right path.  We are headed to something, the reason for our search.

Vs. 11 and He wants us to be changed into a spirit-man.  If we are ruled by the Spirit we are spirit men.  We are not to be controlled by the flesh, but to deny the flesh.  Choose not to be grumpy, or to produce the works of the flesh, like murder, disobedience and immorality.  We have committed these things in the past but now we are made alive through the forgiveness we have received and continue to receive.  When we are forgiven the sin is gotten out of the way and the Holy Spirit can come in and with HIM He brings eternal life and we are ‘alive to God and dead to sin’.

Paul further protects the Colossians with these words and from being further diluted from the purity of the Gospel.  It is so simple, hard but simple.  He tells them about people pushing rules and things that are a shadow of the truth.  They only show something small, an outline, but Christ is the substance.  He is the real thing, the way, the truth and the life. The Judaizers wanted all Christians to follow rules about the new moon and the Sabbaths and the festivals.  But in Christ they had freedom from the letter of the law.  The law is important don’t get me wrong.  Jesus said a new law I have for you.  LOVE.  Love God and Love your neighbor.  Other rules the legalists wanted followed- the worship of angels, and if a person was making a point about his visions we don’t have to follow them if they don’t agree with Jesus and Paul.  If a man is overly inflated without cause because of a fleshly mind, that doesn’t take Jesus humility into account- go elsewhere.

These are some of the things the cults would try to cause division over.  God hates division, even in divorce.  The Colossians were baby Christians.  They didn’t know any better.  Satan could have taken the seed out of their hearts at any time.  It was only stopped by prayer.  Or the seed could have fallen on rocky ground or among thorns and not borne any fruit.  God protected them and Paul informed them, educated them, so did Epaphras.  They knew the basics and now they knew what to beware of from false teachers and prophets and false Jews.

Christianity doesn’t hit like a ton of bricks, like drugs and alcohol do.  It makes an impression but has to be reinforced.  It does lead to deterioration of the spirit and mind and get you sick.  Those are good things to stay away from.  But being saved will get you away from that stuff will lead you to a healthy spirit and body.  It is the right path to be on and it leads to heaven – a reward for your trouble and not eternal death.  I like being straight much better.  It’s a good life, Jesus is good, life gets better and better.  Live it and see.  Jesus Loves You.

Love, Wars and Darkness

Chapter two of Colossians is about the reality of the cults and Paul gives examples.  He makes it very real.  Showing how they work:  to introduce doubt; to change the focus to worldly things and the flesh.  But first he wants the people to know who they have believed and not to endure anything else.

Col 2:1  For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,

Col 2:2  that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself,

Col 2:3  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Col 2:4  I say this so that no one will deceive you with persuasive argument.

 

Paul’s struggle would endear him to them.  He lets them know how much he cares and shares his deepest feelings for them.   His great struggle they are made aware of.  He cares though he has not even seen them face to face.  Nor has the church in Laodicea ever seen him.  Laodicea was a close neighbor whose assembly was also started by Epaphras.  He knows these two young churches would be able to encourage each other to share leadership. Laodicea was the lukewarm church in the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  They were resting in their riches and glorying in not needing anything but they weren’t doing anything for God and were a dead church but still being called by Christ’s name.  It took 40 years for them to cool off and be reprimanded by Jesus.

That Paul had never seen them could be a point of contention for cult like people.  They could twist his words and they would never know.  They might say anything to shake the Colossian’s faith.  They would even be able to impersonate him.  So Paul is writing this letter to instruct them in true Christianity and to speak how they are going to be attacked before it happens.  Then they would know the defense and not be in left field when it happened.  Not knowing is also a threat.

The Laodiceans were also vulnerable.  In their short life span they probably were led to false doctrine by someone who sounded convincing.  Maybe he just said ‘Hey you guys are really blessed’, so they rested in their abundant wealth.  Why else would you quit searching unless you thought you had it all.  Wealth is a bad deal, the rich are insulated and the poor are chosen to be rich in faith.

 

Vs.2 The real wealth as mentioned here is the knowledge of GOD and His love.  It is not just stuff about His love or about Him, but a knowing of whom he is and how His love is.  It gets inside, the way it is worded, not for everybody to understand.  It takes study and commitment and a true heart searching for the truths.  Wide open to what God has to say and being in need to be completed is a winning combination.  It fits right into your heart, right where you need it and fills and completes.  It is God’s love for you as a separate individual and comes with awareness of a new you.  It is not the same for everybody.

This knowledge is the root of our lives and it helps us and gives a big boost to get started on the path.  After that, you just know and the scripture reinforces it and prayer and giving.  It helps in ministry to others and in giving reassurance and encouragement.  We give the Bible because it is the heaviest and talks to the soul.  In relationships we have been coached to have pure ones and symbiotic.  In business- honesty; and in building each other up, to succeed against the wiles of the devil- the world doesn’t think there is a devil. The devil’s attacks on our minds are real, ‘it’s a battle for the mind’ against the enemy.  Maybe you have never experienced this, you probably just let the world, the flesh and the devil have their way.  It’s all going one way, towards you so it feels good.  But doing the right thing has eternal rewards.  Fighting against a mind that likes to sin and doubt and lead astray, this is what holds us to the facts of the spiritual life.  This wealth is important too, to just doing well, keeping your head above water.  This is the short list of the things the knowledge of God is GOOD for.  Bottom line- we have wealth by knowing Christ and understanding deeply what HE has said and done.

The cults will deny any number of things we have learned in the Bible.  Men want to pervert the truth because they can’t bear it.  ‘Men love darkness rather than light’.  They want you to follow them and so they get the glory that Jesus and Paul have.

But Paul keeps sharing about the wonder of Jesus- the source of all wisdom and knowledge in that little Book.  If you can’t see the truth there, if it is not enough for you- practice it, do what it says, open your heart and let it in. He rejoices in how well they are doing and he wants them to keep walking that way.  He places his trust in them and in what Epaphras has wrought.  Paul wants their protection and growth in strength.  He informs the Colossians and hopes and prays.  Next time we will finish this chapter and it is really quite exciting about more of Paul’s examples and where the attacks can come from.  Even from seemingly calm people there can be wolves.