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Colossians 2:1 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;
2 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.
4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9 For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of you flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.
19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

Comfort in Assured Knowledge...

For every one of us who has been illuminated by a real experience with Christ, the devil has one thing in mind, and that is to put out our light. Even though he may not get us out into the vileness of this world, he has contrivances under the garb of religion that will put out our light just as quickly as if we went out and robbed a bank. Paul is not teaching us in the Scripture lesson to beware of roadhouses and such. He is teaching us that we need to beware of religionists who use smooth talk and enticing words that sound right, but they are not after Christ.

Paul warned the Colossians, and may God help us to take the same warning as people of God. As he warned them against false philosophy, he set before them true philosophy; basically by two cardinal points found in verses 9 and 10: the fullness of God in Christ, and the fullness of Christ in us. The fullness of the Godhead dwelled in Christ, and when Christ is in us, we are full.

Living for God is a balanced life. For instance, we can be stirred with evangelism, and we will be preaching that the need is to get the world to Christ; however, that is only part of it. There are countless millions who have been brought to Christ and have had a good experience, but they are back in sin (practicing sinful things). They were led away from Christ, and some of them were led away through the religion they were with. Therefore, there is more to it than just receiving Christ.

After a person receives Christ, there is a lot of teaching to do concerning beware. “Beware lest any man spoil [corrupt] you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

As I talk about traditions, philosophies, and vain teachings, I am not speaking against individuals. Tradition is any doctrine, precept, or custom not named in the Word of God. Not all traditions are wrong, but there are many traditions that will lead you away from Christ. Paul mentioned many things, and we want to highlight a few that bring confusion.

According to verse 2, Paul was writing to the Colossians that their hearts might be comforted, and he wanted their hearts to be comforted in two ways: by being knit together in love, and by being able to have the riches of the full assurance of understanding.

How many doctrines are there that you are not clear on? Perhaps within your heart y9ou have been convinced by the Spirit that they are true, but you do not have the full assurance of understanding to the degree that you can explain them to others. There is comfort in assured knowledge. Some of the greatest comfort I have ever gotten was when God lifted the veil and let me see a certain truth. As long as you do not have the full assurance of understanding, you are plagued with the harassment of the devil: “Maybe that isn’t right.” But when the full assurance of understanding through the Holy Spirit brings clear light and understanding to the heart, there is a comfort that comes, and you are not troubled when people try to push false traditions or doctrines on you.

What kind of comfort does the Holy Spirit bring? Jesus said He would “teach you all things,” and that He “shall take of mine and shall shew it unto you.” If you are ever convinced of truth, it will take the Holy Spirit to convince you.

Substitute Instead of Substance...

Beginning with verse 16, Paul dealt with meat and drink, holy days, the new moon, and Sabbath days, but in verse 17, he let us know that all those things he had been talking about were shadows, or figures, of things to come; however, the real substance is of Christ. (I know the King James Version says body; but the same Greek word is translated body or substance.)

Here is what we are faced with today, even as Paul and the Colossians were back then: Many substitutes are being given for the substance, and people merely have a substitute, a figure, a ceremony, but there is no power in it. They cannot do what God tells them to do, and they cannot live as God wants them to live because there is no power in a shadow. The religious world today is laying hold of substitutes and missing the real substance; and because of that, they are powerless, trying to live in their own strength and ability, forgetting that it is impossible to please God as long as you are in the flesh.

One of the first substitutes given for the substance is water baptism. How many millions today think they have been saved because they have been baptized in water! Yet they live the same sinful life they lived before. They listen to a man who had some enticing words, a great philosophy, a tradition that had been handed down to him, and they were carried away and laid hold of the substitute, and they do not have the substance. Water baptism is a ceremonial ordinance for God’s people to keep. It was instituted by Christ and commanded by Him. It is an ordinance, but when water baptism is regarded as regenerative, or as creating a relationship, which is only recognizes, then the sign is taken for the thing signified, and a simple ordinance is turned into a fruitful error.

While you live here on the earth and obey God, there will be some ordinances to keep, and water baptism is one of them. We believe in water baptism, and we practice it just as Jesus ordained it; but it has no efficacy to save, not one bit. Ephesians 4:5 says there is only one baptism, and that is being baptized by one Spirit into one body; this is the only baptism that you must have to ever get to Heaven. There are people who have gotten to Heaven without water baptism (the thief on the cross did), but they did not get to Heaven without the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Ordinances and outward ceremonies in both the Old Testament and the New Testament were merely figures; they were never realities. In verse 17 of our Scripture text Paul said, “Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Hebrews 9:1-9 clarifies this thought. In the first eight verses, he explained the old tabernacle, and in verse 9 he wrote, “Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience.” In other words, those things given in the old tabernacle with all its teachings, laws, and governings were just shadows, just ceremonies that would point to Christ, but the subject was Christ.

Paul taught in the Hebrew letter that those old teachings of the law were figures of the good things to come. They were figures of what would come to us in reality in experience through Jesus Christ. Therefore, an ordinance now is a figure, and ceremony, telling of what has come into one’s heart and life, but it does not bring anything. In the Old Testament, the ceremonies and the ordinances were figures of that which was to come. The work of Christ is not through ceremonies and ordinances. It is a work of the Spirit in the hearts of men. According to the Bible, water baptism is a ceremony, an ordinance, whereby you show people that you are already saved. It is necessary, but it does not have any part in your salvation. The ordinances in both the old Testament and in the New Testament hinge on Christ being come. When Christ comes into your heart and life, salvation is come to your house.

First Peter 3: 18-20 reads: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, [when did that preaching go on?] when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” How did the Spirit of Christ preach? According to I Peter 1:10-11, it was the Spirit of Christ in the prophets that preached unto them. It was the Spirit of Christ in Noah that preached to the antediluvian world. What kind of prison were they in? The spirits were in prison to the flesh: they were given over to the flesh, living wholly to the flesh. That is the kind of prison house Jesus came to open.

How does water save us? Peter went on to wrote in I Peter 3:21, “The like figure whereunto even baptism [ Peter taught that baptism was a figure] doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh [nothing about water baptism will clean you up], but the answer [the sounding forth] of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” You received your good conscience toward God through the power of Christ’s resurrection when H set forth this great salvation whereby you and I could be set free.

First Peter 3:21 from The Amplified Bible reads, “And baptism, which is a figure [ of their deliverance], does now also save you [from inward questionings and fears], not by the removing of outward body filth (bathing), but by [proving you with] the answer of a good and clean conscience [inward cleanness and peace] before God, [ because you are demonstrating what you believe to be yours] through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” When we came in old-time repentance, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.

Hebrews 9:14 states that you conscience has been purged from dead works by the blood of Jesus Christ; therefore, through the power of Christ’s resurrection, through the power of the Holy Spirit, your life is changed. You are made a new creature, and you are able to live for God. You are saved! Baptism is the answer, the demonstration, telling the world that you have a good conscience and you are living for God.

The water did not save Noah; the boat did. His salvation was not getting in the water; it was getting in the ark, and that boat is a type of Christ. He is our salvation; you must get in Him. How do you get in Christ? You are baptized into Christ by one Spirit when you are truly born again. By one Spirit you get in Christ; then after you get in Him, you get in the water.

How did the water fit into Noah’s salvation? The same water that brought destruction to the whole world bore Noah up. When the floodwaters of judgment were turned loose on the old world, the same water that deluged and took the world raised the boat higher, and it is doing the same today. We are in a world such as it was in the days of Noah. As the judgment of God’s eternal Word is poured out upon this world, it will not hurt you if you are in Christ. It will only lift you and sustain you.

Let us study some verses, which those fellows used when Paul was referring to their using enticing words and wresting the Scriptures to their own destruction. Hold the thought that as Old Testament ordinances were types or figures of good things to come, now New Testament ordinances are figures of good things that have come. Baptism is only salvation in a figure.

In the second chapter of Acts, when Peter preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and those people saw the great rejoicing, they cried out and said, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” In other words, they were asking, “What must we do to get what you have?” Then Peter preached a very plain message. He said in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” This is one of the strongholds of traditional teacher who say that Peter said you have to be baptized to have your sins remitted.

Let us analyze Peter’s words when he said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ” In the name of Jesus Christ is the authority, not the formula. The people were Jews, and they had bee baptized unto Moses, according to I Corinthians 10:2. What did that baptism do back then? They were baptized unto Moses when they went through the sea on dry ground; therefore, they never got a drop of water on them. How were they baptized unto Moses? When they heard his cry that God had given for deliverance and walked out of Egypt by faith, they were baptized unto Moses, but now they must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. They were going to have to come unto Christ, repent of their sins and let Him be Lord instead of Moses.

Then Peter said they must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins or they could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. I want you to notice the word for. The Greek word used for the word for is the preposition eis. It is a preposition of reference, and it is translated many different ways. In English, it may refer to the words for, at, about, unto, into, toward. Water baptism refers to the remission of sins that the believers already have when they repent. The word for does not always mean “in order to.”

Peter did not say, “Repent and be baptized in order that your sins may be washed away.” Read the verse in the light of the context. In essence, he said, “Repent, and be baptized that you might refer unto the sins that have already been washed away.” You might praise a man for his bravery, but that does not make him brave. You may praise a woman for her beauty, but that does not make her beautiful. Even so, we baptize people, not to get them saved, but referring to the salvation they already have. For the remission of sins is referring to the salvation one already has.

The same Peter who preached in Acts 2:38 wrote I Peter 3:21. Would he preach at one time that you have to be baptized in water to get you sins washed away, and then write that water baptism does not wash away anything? When he used the word for, he used it in the manner of referring to the sins that have already been remitted. In other words, Peter said, “If you know the blood of Jesus has cleansed your conscience, if you know the power of the Holy Ghost has made you a new creature, then get in the water right in front of this crowd and show them all the your sins have been remitted.”

The people who hold the doctrine that water baptism is a part of salvation close their messages by emphasizing that nothing can wash away your sins but the blood of Jesus.

We do not baptize people to get them saved. Baptism is referring to the fact that they are already saved. Those people were to be baptized for the same reason we are baptized: to signify the remission of sins. We walk into the outward ceremony, testifying to the inward work that has already been wrought through the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of His Holy Spirit. Water does not wash away sins.

In salvation, you are baptized into His death. You must be submerged into Christ’s death and become dead to the things He died to. Before you can be resurrected, you have to become dead to sin, even as Jesus did. When you are submerged into His death, Paul said, then you would be raised even as He was raised, to walk in newness of life.

Colossians 2:12 reads, “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God…” Paul taught us very plainly that there is no efficacy in hand wrought circumcision. The word efficacy means, “power to produce an effect.” Circumcision was a ceremony. Paul shows us that our circumcision now is made without hands. Now, after he spent much time teaching to show that the circumcision we enjoy is a circumcision made without hands, are you going to turn around and say there is efficacy in hand wrought baptism? The baptism referred to in Colossians 2: 12 and Romans 6:3-5 of being submerged and raised by the power of God does not happen in water baptism. You are raised by the same hands that put you under, whoever the preacher is. Paul was talking about a baptism where the power of God raises you. If Paul would turn from the teaching that there is no efficacy in hand wrought circumcision and then teach that there is efficacy in hand wrought baptism, he would introduce the very element of ceremonialism that he had denounced. The entire letter to the Colossians was to show them that there was no efficacy in a ceremony.

When the sinner yields his life to God, he has a spiritual circumcision: God takes out the old heart and puts in a new one. He also has a spiritual baptism: he is baptized by one Spirit into one body. Water baptism is a ceremony, a figure of the death, burial, and resurrection that takes place when God saves an individual.

The Promised Blessing...

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14-15). Paul was dealing with the teachings of the Mosaic Law that was against us and contrary to us. The curse of the law is really the handwriting that was against us. In Deuteronomy 27:26, God spoke through Moses and said, “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the word of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.” They were cursed if they did not continue in all the law. Tradition and philosophy begin with some person puffed up in a fleshly mind saying, “I’ve seen things. This is what God wants us to do.”

I want you to see what Christ did for us. The curse of the law was against us, and it threatened our eternal ruin. Galatians 3:10-13 reads: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Every one of us was under the curse of the law. The curse is sin, basically, but sin is disobedience of God’s law. Man was unable to keep the law and was under the curse of the law, doomed to an eternal hell. However, the penalty of the law had to be paid, and Jesus Christ paid it. God so loved us that He gave His Son to become a curse for us.

Christ became the curse of the law for us, delivered us from the curse of the law, and gave us freedom from that law. “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles [that is us] through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:14). What is the blessing that God promised Abraham? Way back when Abraham first started to walk with God, God promised Abraham, “…and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 26:4).

Peter, preaching to the Jews in Acts 3:26, said, “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” What is the blessing we are to get through Jesus Christ? What is the blessing all nations are to receive through the seed of Abraham? Being able to turn away from our iniquities and our sins. Furthermore, according to Galatians 3:14, He gave us the promise of the Spirit of God in our hearts and lives. You are not saved today until you are delivered from the guilt and the power of sin: The blood of Christ delivers you from the guilt of sin and the Holy Ghost delivers you from the power of sin. That is the promised blessing. Jesus took all those things that were against us to the Cross, nailed them and finished them there.

In Galatians, Paul teaches that the law is not for a righteous man. God had to bring a new law for a righteous man. The old Law was given to govern men who had sinful hearts, and the blood of bulls and goats could not take away their sin. The old Law was a yoke of bondage. It was fully make of “thou shalt nots.” It was contrary to them, working against them, ever rising up against them; but when Jesus Christ came and brought New Testament salvation, He brought a new law. The new law is not a yoke of bondage, but a perfect law of liberty. Isn’t that wonderful? There are no “thou shalt nots,” rather is “thou shalt.” When a man is a Christian, the truth never binds him. It gives him a greater freedom.

After Jesus blotted out those things that were against us and nailed our sins to the Cross, He did not quit there. Colossians 2:15 reads, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Jesus took on the very same nature that a sinner has: the likeness of a sinful man. Some teachings and traditions have good men sold on the idea that as long as they are in the flesh, they cannot please God, basing their belief on Romans 8:8. However, that is not rightly dividing the Word of truth. Read the next verse where Paul said, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

How did Christ spoil principalities and powers? He took on the same kind of flesh we have an allowed the very enemy that had defeated man ever since the Garden of Eden to assault Him in any way he wanted to. Jesus understood that old deceiver, and every way the devil tried to lay an assault against Him, He led him out as far as He could, and then made a show of him openly. Jesus let Himself be led before the captains, the procurators, the governors, the high priest, anybody that tried to find a flaw in Him. He made a show of them openly, for every one of them testified they could find nothing wrong with Him. He did not fail! He was victorious!

Then Christ took hold of death. Men had lived under the fear of death, but Jesus walked right up and died on Calvary’s Cross and made a show of it openly. He let the devil know in Gethsemane, “Old devil, this is your hour now. The Father has put Me into your power. Do the best you can.” So, the devil probably said, “We’ll kill Him. That will get rid of Him.” They hung Him on Calvary’s cross, and there He died. The devils rejoiced, “He is gone!” But the third day He arose from the dead, a victory over death and the grave.

He spoiled principalities and powers and made a show of them openly before the whole world. Because He lives, we can live also! Jesus said in John 12:31-32: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” He spoiled principalities and powers and made a show of them, triumphing over them in it.

A Holy People…

Romans 14:17 states, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink (no outward ceremony); but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” If you really believe Christ nailed the old ceremonial law to the Cross, then Paul said, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days” (Colossians 2:16). What he was saying is that if you want to hold any day holy, go ahead, but do not let any man judge you, because God is not. All this judgment being put out that you are not worshiping God on the right day, or that there is only one day holy is not God’s judgment. That is some man judging you. Romans 14:5-6a reads: “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.” One man may esteem a day above another; let him do it. It is a conscience matter; but do not let him bind it on you.

I worship on Sunday because it is the day the Lord rose from the dead, but I do not esteem it any higher than any other day. I worship and live for God just as much on Monday as I do Sunday, and on Tuesday as much as I do on Wednesday. You ought to be able to do anything freely on Sunday as you do on Monday. Sunday is the Lord’s day, and it is set aside to worship God, but it is not to be esteemed holier than any other day of the week.

Back in the Old Testament, God had holy days, holy altars, and holy rooms, but He did not have any holy people. GOD WANTS HOLY PEOPLE EVERY DAY, just the same seven days a week. Christ is against esteeming day, churches, and men. There is only One to esteem: Jesus Christ.

Too many honest and sincere Christians act as if they are living on eggs and sitting on needles, afraid they might be wrong. They say, “I would not want to speak against that because I might be wrong.” We nee our minds comforted! Speak the truth in love toward all people, but SPEAK THE TRUTH.

Paul said to let no man beguile you of your reward, or your prize. What is your prize? Eternal life. This is the reward of salvation. John said in I John 5:12, “He that hath the Son hath life.” What are men out to beguile you of? They want to take away your prize, your victory, your reward.

There is a great move in the religious world to fight against Bible holiness. The devil is working through the ism’s of our day. If you would go to the core of nominal religion, you would find out how they feel about holiness and how they feel about complete deliverance from sin and having victory over it. Deliverance from sin and victory over it is why God sent salvation, my friend.

Voluntary Humility...

Let us read Colossians 2:18-19a again: “Let no man beguile you [as the devil did Eve] of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head…” There would be much less con – fusion if preachers would learn to preach just what God definitely shows them to preach. Some preachers hear someone teach something that moves the audience and is great, so they get a tape and go home and try to preach it, but they did not see it, and they misrepresent it. They do not sanctify the Lord God on the question in their hearts.

In verse 18, Paul speaks of voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, and in verse 23 he deals with the same point, “Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility…” IN certain religions, the honor paid to angels exceeds that of the honor paid to Christ; and from angel worship, they go to creature worship and lift Mary above Jesus Christ. Praying to statues is a voluntary humility. You would have to admit that a man must some kind of a humble person if he gets down before a hunk of stone and prays to it, but it is a voluntary humility.

God never commanded man to get down in front of any kind of statue, and God never commanded you to humble yourself at any time before Mary. There is no commandment anywhere to worship and angel or pray to it. Such is voluntary humility, and people are doing it on their own. They got into that shape because they intruded into things they never saw, and they intruded into things they were never born again. There is only one mediator between God and man: Jesus Christ ( I Timothy 2:5).

Paul said in verse 18, “…intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” While it is a voluntary humility, truth lets us see that it is really pride. People follow ceremonies without any real salvation, and they are proud that they are what they are. Paul let us know that they are the notions and inventions of man, and they were not received by divine revelation. Men intruded into the things they never saw. By the proud conceit of human wisdom, individuals dived into things and determined them without sufficient knowledge or warrant of Scripture. There is a show of wisdom and humility in the practice, but there is real pride in the principle.

Paul wrote to the Colossians because Judaizers were trying to make Gentiles who had been converted get specially circumcised. Paul taught them that they were already circumcised in heart and did not need fleshly circumcision. According to history, the Judaizers thought themselves wiser than others, and in observing the law of Moses together with the Gospel of Christ, they thought they were wiser and would become stronger Christians by so doing.

Hold to the Head...

Our text warns us to beware lest any man lead us away from truly following Christ. Preachers need to be careful because they can have their own rules and commandments for which there is no Bible whatsoever. Those kinds of preachers think they are pasturing, but they are being lords over God’s heritage.

The only rule a pastor has is the Bible rule. The devil not only works to get us to compromise, but he also will work to get us to overdo it and put bondage on people that are not living according to God’s Word. The pastor is not a church boss; he is to teach people the truth. If an individual is having trouble or is not measuring to truth, then he is to deal with that individual with one thought in mind: to restore him, help him, get him to follow the plan of truth. It is the pastor’s duty to warn, to teach, and to show people what is wrong and what is right.

Colossians 1:18reads, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 2:19-22 reads: “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?”

Galatians 4:1-5 reads: “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we [speaking of the Jews], when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under th law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Paul was saying that if you are really dead with Christ, if you are dead to what He died to, since He died to the old Law, you are dead to it also. Romans 7: 4 tells us that we are dead to the law and married to another, even to Him that is raised from the dead.

The words rudiments or elements mean, “the beginning principles.” Paul was speaking to people who had been saved, set free from the bondage of the old Law. In other words, Paul put it like this in Galatians: “When we were little children, we were under the tutorship of the law till the fullness of time came, and when the fullness of time came, Christ came to set us free from the law. Now, why do you want to go back to those rudiment?” It was like saying that if you are a great scholar in reading, why would you want to go back and get you ABC book? The law was just the beginning elements of Christianity, the very rudiments of it, as schoolmaster to bring you to Christ, why would you want to go back to the rudiments, or the ABC’s, of salvation?

Again, Colossians 2:23 reads, “Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” The last part of that verse is hard to understand in the King James Version, but if you have a center reference which contains the Greek, the Greek makes it very plain: “Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship and humility and are not any value against the indulgence of the flesh.” He was saying that all the ceremonies you can go through in religion are of no value whatsoever to stop you from sinning or indulging in the flesh. You may go through ceremonies, but they do not help you, because there is not power to deliver from indulging in the flesh. Ceremonies, or outward works, do nothing for the inward man in the thought of changing him. The check to see whether or not it is real Christianity is, Did it make a new creature out of you and stop you from indulging in the flesh like you used to do? The ceremonies and traditions of men will not do it.

We have been teaching you about the mystery of God: Christ in you, the hope of glory. Iniquity is also a mystery. Paul said, as he warned the church in II Thessalonians 2:7-10: “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that persist; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

The deceivableness of unrighteousness takes place when the devil through some ceremony of religion causes you to feel you are right with God, even though y6ou are living in unrighteousness. Millions are deceived by some kind of religion, which teaches that no one can ever be free from sin, but that if you meet a certain ceremony, you are a child of God and you will go to Heaven. This is the deceivableness of unrighteousness!

Friend, Jesus Christ came for one express purpose: et enable you to live holy. Titus 2:11-12 reads: “For the grace of God [grace is not a feeling, but grace is Christ] that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Ceremonies give you a feeling, but they have no power to stop your indulging in the flesh.

An Inward Work...

Let no man beguile you with enticing words. Something runs lie a strain through Paul’s epistles, and it can be summed up to the fact that he is always setting forth the inwardness of salvation, fighting against the outward forms and ceremonies. Real salvation is an inward work in the heart. It only changes the body to the degree that the body is an instrument of the soul: it only acts according to the dictates of the soul. Thank God, when a new man comes inside, the hand that used to pick up cigarettes now picks up the Bible. Jesus came to change the inner man.

Paul said to the Colossian church, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him…” Do not get built up in anything except Christ, not even the church. You must follow Christ. If you are following Christ, then you are in the church, but you are not following it. I am not talking about material things the church decided to do, but I am talking about the spiritual virtues that govern our eternal welfare.

It is wonderful that God so fixed it that every one of us can know the truth. You should not pin you faith on any man’s coattail. Pastors and teachers are God’s means of getting the message to you; yet with all these, you can have an unction from the Holy One. The truth gets into our hearts through the unction of the Holy Spirit. [ The End ]

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