APRIL 1, 2007
How to Keep from Being Robbed
For a fellow who never entered Colosse, Paul had a Spirit-grip on that city as well as that of Laodicea. Spirit-insight is the only way those who are “sealed” in the Anointed One can really know any area. The Sealed do not operate according to the principles of the world, which measures an arena by the yardstick of socio-econometrics. The Sealed in Him could care less about the “points of view of the Kings of Sodom.” The Sealed’s reference is from heaven downward, having the mind of Christ concerning the spectrum of review.
Author’s Note: When the section on Colossians was written in Sealed Unto His Coming (pages 507-513), the main thrust and emphasis was “being sealed in Messiah Y’shua,” which is the theme behind all of Paul’s theology. Some passages from Sealed’s pages will give background needed for a close look into Colossians’ second chapter. The following are excerpts from the book.
Since Paul wrote this epistle within a year of writing the encyclical called Ephesians, he assumed the Colossians had read and understood his Ephesian message. He remained in prison and could only make contact through letters and those who were operatives in the region. Paul was aware that three groups were pounding at the foundations of the Colosse saints: the Judaizers (who wanted all Christians to embrace Jewish tradition); the Mystics (who promoted an ethereal spiritism); and the Philosophers (whose humanism pervaded Greek society). These same forces are at work today. They represent the “basic principles of the world.”
Paul, throughout this epistle, addressed a people whose hope and trust was not in man or man’s determinations. Three passages in Colossians bear this out:
BECAUSE of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the Word of the truth of the gospel.(“Laid Up,” means what it says, “something set aside in your behalf.” It is a seal over the believer and his inheritance which transcends time and earth.)
And all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God both of the Father and of Messiah, IN WHOM are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.(Paul reiterated that not only hope was theirs, but all understanding of “everything” was theirs.)
And KNOWING that from the Lord you will receive the reward of inheritance for you serve the Lord MessiahPaul addressed “graduates,” (those who had matriculated from his school in Christ) and he included among them Revelation’s Laodicea, of whom most have equated loss and disdain. One must refer to this group as “graduates,” because even elemental references in Colossians point to a people who exceed modern Christianity and excel the spiritual clime of most institutions announcing themselves as “the Church.” These are Colossian New Testament “graduates,” who were equipped with a foundation superior to that required for church membership and leadership currently.
However, if their foundations were being threatened by the barrage of “man,” what must be the concern of today? Should Paul visit the ecclesia of 2007, would he not behold the end result of the erosion of his teaching? He perhaps could not fathom the “elementary,” stunted, character of most congregants. He would be hard pressed to find a true “graduate” among them.
Author’s Note: Over the past few days, I have been an observer of a main stream ministry and one of their televised conferences. I am grateful for what they teach; my consternation comes in their method. Taking a 15 minute word of truth and stretching it into a two hour preachment reveals the “elementary” make up of their audience. These are audiences of Christians who have been so-called “believers” for years. To attend another conference and to bask again under the dynamic ministry of a charismatic platform is their greatest goal. Paul’s goal was not to maintain a body dependent, but to graduate a people who would become his equal. One must surmise that “graduation” is never the modern goal, but rather to maintain a dependency which will come again to drink, to give and to marvel.
Paul’s prayer for Colosse was (1) to be filled with the knowledge of His will; (2) to be filled with all wisdom; and (3), (all) spiritual understanding (1:9-10).
He has delivered us (the Sealed in Him) from the power of darkness And translated (metamorphosed) us into the kingdom of the Son of His lovePaul included himself among them. He was with them as alumni. These graduates, however, were warned not to be robbed of what was theirs. In Chapter 2, Paul knew he was addressing the “church” composed of the “sealed.” They were knit together in love. (“It is one thing to be a ‘Bible believing church;’ it is another to have the church described by the Bible! [page 510, Sealed]”).
According to Paul’s dictionary of the ekklesia (Ephesians and Colossians), his definitions are not applicable to the “redefined” conflagration called the present day “body of believers.” He defined the church as “a living community of those who have died and been resurrected with Him. They live as He lives. They are occasioned to action as He is. They are alive to Him. They seek the things which are above. They set their minds to things there. They are ‘hidden with Christ in God (3:3).’ (Sealed, page 512).”
Being with them in “spirit (2:5),” Paul declared war on those who would limit the Colossian’s “freedom” or tread on their authority. He stood on the most foundational principle in Christianity,
As you have therefore received The Anointed One Y’shua the Lord, so walk IN Him, rooted in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.Unfortunately today, few have been taught to fathom the scope of “walking In Him.” “Can two walk together lest they be agreed?” decried the Old Testament. Jesus answered the question in John’s Gospel:
‘I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may Believe that You sent Me.Again in John 17:26
‘And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love With which You love Me may be in them and I in them.’Christianity is a duality, for neither the individual nor the corporate body can exist without Him in just this intertwined manner. The Godhead does not exist without inter-connection. How then can the corporate church deceive its shareholders into believing otherwise? The answer is simple: they have incorporated the principles of the world as a substitute theology!
Observe Paul’s assault against such trappings:
Beware lest anyone plunder you or take you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the ‘tradition of men,’ according to the basic ‘principles of the world,’ and not according to Messiah. For IN Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete IN Him, who is the head of all principality and power.Paul’s solution is still the solution. When one is In Him, he/she becomes as He was on the earth. God indwelled Jesus and He lacked nothing. Jesus indwells us and WE INDWELL HIM and we lack nothing. We are complete in Him. This is the Bride’s assurance. The love that sent Him, sends and sustains us. The word that exalted Him, brings glory to us. WE are IN Him. He cannot and will not be separated from His sealed ones.
Author’s Note: Few invitations have been given from modern pulpits to become one with Him. “Receive Him” is as close as someone can observe. No repentance, no sign of Godly sorrow leading to repentance, no indication of metamorphoses is apparent in todays convert.
Paul warned about “Being captured through philosophy and empty deceit according to the tradition of men.” It seems at first this teaching related only to the Judaizers who invaded ranks like those described by II Peter and Jude; but no, this passage reaches into the halls of the current church. Modern churches’ Bible classes and pulpits ring invectives of mindless conjecture superimposed on all who blissfully await “my point of view” or “my revelation” or “my program,” and become the crown of “empty deceit.”
That is what Paul disdained as, “The basic principles of the world.” Such is applied in regular doses today. (Recently, I was reading Wm. Bernstein’s, The Four Pillars of Investing. His book proposes the following pillars as tantamount for investment in today’s market place: Theory, History, Psychology, and Business. Paul’s “rudimentary principles of the world” are visible in these components. If one will substitute theology for theory, it will become clear. Every appeal of the modern church functions along similar guidelines to these four pillars. Their appeal to the world is their belief system (be it ever so modified), their historical perspective (both of the historical Jesus and their claimed connection to historical authority), their use of persuasion and mass brainwashing through psychological application and their use of business techniques incorporated into every activity (whether ball caps and T-shirts or stage production—it is the economy of Baal.)
Author’s Note: The rudimentary principles of the world incorporate more than these pillars, for sure, but for the sake of discussion they must suffice for all operations required for commerce, social life and government.
With measured force, Paul addressed the worldly four.
Paul’s answer to the Judaizers was, “We have our circumcision through Him (2:11).” Our immersion for remission of sins came when“We have been buried in baptism with Him (2:12).” Our sacrifice is through Him, not the blood of goats which could never defeat principalities and powers, never truly forgive ALL trespasses and could never “wipe out” the judgment against us.
He summed it by saying the Judaizers held “symbols” but the Sealed Ones” hold substance—Him! (2:17). The answer to all the divisions, degrees and disgust of “religion” remains, “You have symbols; We have substance.”
Paul intensified his assault with, “Let NO ONE defraud you of your reward.” The Sealed are to “hold fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase which is from God.”
The Sealed have died with Christ FROM the “basic principles of the world.” It is those principles of the world “which concern things that are perishing with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men (2:22).” When the modern church uses the principles of the world to attain its goals—it perishes and its sharers perish!
Author’s Note: If one could systematically reduce all he/she has heard and seen in the modern religious spectrum, excluding all that is not of heaven and further excluding all that pertains only to public ministry—a new perspective will arise. It is the perspective of a Paul! He wrote: “These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh (and nearly all that pertains to the modern church is in some form or fashion flesh indulgent) (2:23).”
To conclude: Paul declared some safeguards against being robbed. After asking, “If you died with Christ” in verse 20, he now queries, “If you were raised with Christ.” These are rhetorical questions which assume a “Yes.” When one can affirm these questions, he or she is able to receive Paul’s new summary found in Chapter 3.
Chapter 3 establishes the “principles of heaven.”
Paul drew the string; he closed the gap; he sealed the escape route by saying, “But Christ (The Anointed One) is all and in all.” Nothing lies outside the realm of His authority and nothing supersedes His power to deliver. He is IN the believer and the believer is IN Him. The Anti-Christ seeks to destroy this truth. The Anti-Christ attacks these four spiritual pillars by using the four of earth. Sadly, the anti-anointing has found a seat in the hearts of many, but thank God---NOT in the holy and beloved.
These four spiritual pillars must be sounded from every sacred desk, preached to every congregation and upheld by all who are the SEALED. They simply must be.
Until next month,
Dr. Cosby R. Oliver,
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