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200 - In Him

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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June 15, 2024 12:54 pm

200 - In Him

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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June 15, 2024 12:54 pm

Episode 200 - In Him (15 June 2024) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

Truth Talk
Stu Epperson
Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
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J.D. Greear
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Pastor Rick Gaston

You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. So, circumcision, what religion do you associate that with? Oh, with Judaism.

Yeah, of course, but would it surprise you to find out that it's actually part of Christianity? Is it really? Yeah, it is, and Paul is going to explain why that is the case, and we'll look at it today on More Than Ink. That's right, you are joining us here on More Than Ink. I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And we are studying our way through Colossians, hoping that you are picking up tips on how you can read this for yourself. I think Colossians, even though it's kind of a dense book, you know, and when I say dense, I mean it's kind of packed together.

It's not like a narrative. I think it's something that if you just read it over the surface, it makes a whole lot of sense without having to be a philosopher to get it figured out in your head. Yeah, it's short enough that if you just read from beginning to end in a sitting, you'll pick up more than you think. Yeah. And that's actually always a good technique to read in a single sitting if you can. Right. The whole book or the whole paragraph or the whole section that you're about to study.

Even if you don't absorb every single thing. Right, which you won't. But you can go back and take a look at it. So what we're doing now is we're not reading it fast.

We're actually doing that slower take. So we're in the middle of chapter two of Colossians. And gosh, we just came out of an extraordinary section last time where we talked about amazing things about Jesus. About, you know, the fullness of deity dwells in him bodily and that we've been filled in him.

I mean a lot of just extraordinary things. And now he's going to turn his attention toward what that effect has been upon us and the fact that we're alive in Christ. Because of not what we've done, but because of what Christ has done. And we kind of left off last time in the middle of a sentence. It feels like a statement, but the sentence goes on where Paul had said, you know, he is the head over all rule and authority. This is actually the second time in the letter he had said that. He said it way back in chapter one when he was talking about how Christ is preeminent over all rule and authority anywhere in creation. And so, you know, he has just told us, in him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form.

That's verse nine of chapter two. And then ten, in him you've been made complete. And so we're going to hear this phrase in him, in him, in him over and over and over again.

In fact, he's going to expand that right now. How many ways have we been made complete? How have we been filled in him?

What's the benefit to us and how big is it? Well, that's where we are today. We're in chapter two, verse eleven. And that's exactly what we're going to talk about.

What is the benefit to you because of what Christ has done for you? So, you ready? I am. If you're following with us, we're in the ESV version of the English Bible and we're starting in chapter two, verse eleven. Here we go.

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands by putting off the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God who raised him from the dead. Let's stop there. You want to? Yeah. Yeah. We should have stopped at circumcision actually.

Well, we got. It's all hooked together. That's all one sentence. Yeah, it's all hooked together. You were circumcised, you were buried, you were assuming you were dead. Yeah. And then you were raised. Well, yeah, I mean, let's talk about circumcision for a second.

We need to. Because interestingly enough, the Colossians that he's writing to are probably largely Gentiles. And so this is a hint to the fact that perhaps there's been some errant teaching going on saying, well, look, we're Jews, we have circumcision, you're Gentiles, you don't. And so Paul's saying, no, no, no, we were all circumcised.

So there's something different from the actual surgical procedure of circumcision and something else more spiritual. So maybe we should talk about what circumcision was given to Abraham as a sign of the covenant that God made with him. And you can read that back in Genesis 17. The first number of verses of chapter 17 are all what God will do for Abraham.

And Abraham had already, two chapters before that, believed God and God reckoned him as righteous. So God gives him this sign of the covenant as a mark in his body of believing God's promises. What God will do, and now you're marked.

Yeah, so you're marked in that sense. But it means something much more spiritual too. It points to a spiritual reality, right? Because there's this literal separation of the flesh.

And that's what Paul is saying. No, you've all been circumcised in a circumcision that men didn't do by the hand of God in Christ. You've been separated from your sinful flesh. Yeah, so let me read you a couple of passages in the Old Testament. Because even in these passages it shows there's kind of like two ideas of circumcision going on. For instance, in Deuteronomy 10 16, Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart and be no longer stubborn.

So it's the removal of the stubborn, it's the removal of the sin. And then in Deuteronomy again, I just wanted to show you both in Deuteronomy 30 verse 6, And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that, here we go, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul that you may live. So there's something about circumcision from a spiritual sense that happens on your heart and not someplace else. And as a result of that, it makes you right with God. And that had always been understood in the very earliest days, right?

You were quoting from Deuteronomy. And the prophets also, Isaiah and Jeremiah, picked that up too, that circumcised heart is the issue. God's interested in your heart, not in any mark you have on your body. But by the time of the first century, the Jews had been all about the mark. The mark was everything.

The mark was everything, but not the heart. And in fact, there's a passage, I had to go looking for it, in Ezekiel, where he talks about the fact that the Jews, you know, maybe looking forward to the time of Jesus, that the Jews will put confidence in this outward mark and it won't be enough. And this is what he says, listen to this, because you can hear the two of them in this sentence in Ezekiel 44, 9. Thus says the Lord God, no foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the people of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary. And then he says a fascinating thing, he says in Jeremiah, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh. So here's these two, it's like a circumcision of the heart, which is a soul issue, it's a spiritual issue of having the flesh of sin cut away.

And then there's the physical action, which reminds you of that. So really the operative, important part of circumcision is the circumcision of the heart. Okay, and Paul, being a good Pharisee, knew all about that, right? And when he wrote the book of Romans, in Romans 2, verses 28 and 29, he says that very same thing. He says, for he's not a Jew who's won outwardly, neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.

What? He's a Jew. Verse 29, but he is a Jew who is won inwardly, and circumcision is that which is of the heart by the spirit, not by the letter. And his praise is not from men, but from God. Yes, so listeners, you've got to get straight when we talk about circumcision, not just in the New Testament, but in the Old Testament as well, we're talking about two different things.

The outward thing that actually pictures the inward thing, and the inward thing is the opportune. So when you read verse 11 here, listen to what he says, In him also you were circumcised, you Gentiles, what? with a circumcision made without hands. So now we're talking heart issues, and how by putting off the body of flesh, that's what circumcision does, it removes flesh, by the circumcision of Christ. And that phrase right there, what do you mean, what is the circumcision of Christ? Well, everything Christ has done for you has resulted in the removal of flesh like circumcision. Right, because then he changes the tense in the sentence and he says, having been buried with him in baptism. Well, this is how the circumcision happens, and it's identifying in his death on the cross. So that's why he goes on in 12 and says that, because what? Well, you've been buried with him in baptism.

Oh, what? So is the picture only just being plunged into the water, you know, overwhelmed by the water and being brought out? Well, yes, if you are baptized by immersion, but not everybody was baptized that way. Right, but that is the picture, you've been plunged into Christ, identified with him. Yeah, so in that identification in being placed in him, you know, that's the baptism. We were buried when he was buried with him, we were raised when he was raised. So this is the strong identification of what Christ does on our behalf. And he's using the word baptism to say that we are immersed into the identification of what Christ has done on our behalf. So we likewise, we likewise have died, buried and been raised again with him.

Raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God. Right. It's not anything we do.

It's entirely by faith in what God has said he will do, and indeed he has done. Yeah, so these are things we do not do. And for instance, you know, you might look at this and say, well, there's baptism, I better do that or I won't be saved. Right. Well, he's trying to point to something, the much larger issue.

Something bigger. The much larger issue that because of what Christ did and solely because of what he did, when I identify with him, when I place myself into him totally, then I myself are going through the same process as I'm dying, I'm being buried, I'm being raised again. And he says it explicitly in verse 13, you were dead in your trespasses.

Right. And your uncircumcision. You know, the uncircumcision of your flesh, your flesh would have those sins.

So anyway, that was your situation. You were already dead and now you've been brought life. So I just turned to Romans 6 because this theme of baptism is huge in Paul's writing. And so he says in Romans 6, verse 3, don't you know that all of us who've been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death. Therefore, we've been buried with him through baptism into death in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

Right, right. So there it is, we are identified with his death and we are raised to a whole new life in Christ. Yeah. So we're moving just slowly right here, but you can kind of see when you step back, when you think about circumcision and the ceremony of it, which reflects a hidden inter-reality of your heart, there's these two things going on, but they're connected. And also in baptism, there's an outward thing you do, but it's reflecting something inward that has to do with identifying being placed into Jesus.

Now this is important because I think it's going to come next week when we talk about it. Right. Is that he's going to call these physical things we can see shadows.

Shadows. They're representations, but they're not the real thing. So when you talk about circumcision, the real thing is what happens in your heart. When you talk about baptism, the real thing is what happens with you identifying in what Christ has done for you, not what you're going to do for yourself.

That's important. That's important to understand because we all know you can go through a ceremony and not mean anything by it. Right.

You might be immersed in a baptism of some kind. You might actually undergo a physical circumcision, but that does not save you. No, that's why Jeremiah can say, you know, I'm going to punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh. Right. He's talking about Jews there who have not had circumcised hearts.

This is not a ceremony. This points to a reality that's fulfilled in Christ. Well, let's pick up in 13 because this is how it connects the baptism and that whole death and burial and resurrection thing in 13.

Okay. And you who were dead in your trespasses and the un-circumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in him. Wow. So a large transaction on the cross for our benefit. And you know, look who's doing all of the action.

God is doing everything. Right. Right. Because we were dead. Right.

Right. So like he said, we're identified with Christ and his death in 13. You are already dead in your trespasses, but God made you alive together with him. Did God make Jesus alive after the death and burial? Yes, he did. Well, he made us alive with him at that same time because it was possible now to forgive us of our trespasses in 13.

That was the key issue that was causing our death. And Paul's very verbose when he talks about this in other places. He is. The wages of sin is death. He comes back to it again and again.

Yeah. It's that sin that's killing us. Well, it did in fact kill us and we've been made alive because of what Christ has done on the cross. And that word, that word forgiven right there is a really nice one. It's a variation of the forgiven Greek words that we use, but this is the word that's based on Keras, which is grace. Grace. So this is the gracious giving of giving, you know, the grace of letting go of our trespasses. Canceling the record of debt.

I love that. Yeah. Because, you know, we all get those bills in the mail.

And that is the record of our debt. Right. Right.

But God canceled it with its legal demands and it says he nailed it to the cross. Right. Right.

What a terrific image that is. Well, and we're all familiar with the scene at the cross. What was nailed over Jesus' head on the cross? It was the charges. Right.

The charges against him. Right. Jesus himself was nailed to the cross. Right.

Right. He became sin who knew no sin, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5, 21. So that we might become the righteousness of God. So, yes, the crimes were nailed to the cross, but our Savior himself was nailed to the cross. Yeah, but he's making a big deal here about the fact that in a sense we were crucified with him and the things that we were crucified for, which is our sins, were put on that cross and said, this is why this death is happening. And in a sense, when Jesus died, our list was put over his head. It's a great picture of the fact that he actually took on our sins and died on our behalf.

So it's using a really vivid picture right here. That's how you cancel that death. How?

Because someone else paid the debt. And where? On the cross.

And how do we know that? Well, your sins are written on the cross above his head. That's exactly what he's saying right here.

Wow. And, you know, he set it aside is what's interesting in the end of 14. He set it aside.

It's not like he's saying, you know, I'm going to put my hands over my eyes and act like you didn't sin. No, he's going to take what he knows is there. He's put it away. And he's put it away.

It's no longer going to be between us. Yeah. And in so doing, because of what happened with taking care of our sins on the cross in 15, he gets big in his language right here. I mean, he says, look, this process disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them. So the question we ask ourselves when we see that is, who are these rulers and authorities? And in what sense are they disarmed? Were they armed?

And that's the question you have to ask as you rush through this stuff. So we slow down in 15, we ask who are these rulers and authorities who seem to have been armed against us? That's kind of what he's implying right here. Well, you know, the scripture says we have an opponent whose name is our accuser. Yes.

Right. And that is his whole purpose to deface the image of God in us, to accuse us before our father. To accuse us. Guilty, guilty, guilty. And to accuse us of our sins.

Rightly so. We have sins. And so he is armed against us. He's the accuser of the brethren.

And so, yes, indeed, in the spiritual realm, in the real spiritual realm, there are rulers and authorities who look at your sin and say, that's how I'm armed to attack against you and against God himself with your sins. But here, what he's done is he's disarmed them. And how has he disarmed them? He's taken away their ammunition. He's taken away their weapons.

What is the ammunition? Our sins. He completely took them and set them aside on the cross. So, you know, we cannot be accused by our opponent. Right. And that word blameless and irreproachable or above approach shows up again and again and again in the New Testament. Yeah. That we are in Christ will be blameless and unreproveable. Yeah.

Yeah. So this is the important thing on the cross. I mean, we talk about being baptized into what he's done for us, identifying whether we talk about having the removal of the sinful flesh.

That's a circumcision. Here, what he's saying is that in reality, and he's not talking figuratively now, what he's saying is that your sins were being used as a weapon against you by Satan himself. And what Christ did on the cross for us in terms of setting aside that sin, I mean, put it off to the side and say it's not going to be between us anymore. He has completely disarmed what Satan has against you. In fact, Paul says the sting of death is sin. Right.

It's sin that makes death so powerful and so fearsome. Actually, it's not Paul that said that. I think it's one of the prophets. That's one of the prophets that said that.

He just quoted it. Yeah. So I mean, the whole deal is that your sins are kind of a weapon used against you by Satan. But at the cross, Jesus triumphed and took those sins away and disarmed the ones who wanted to attack you and to ridicule God. And he just disarmed them, took that away. They're powerless now.

They're powerless. And put them to open shame, right? What was so shameful about that from our opponent's perspective that it was simply God himself becoming human flesh and dying for us, right? That's not the weapon they were expecting, right? Paul says the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, right? Because it just doesn't make any sense except that it does in God's economy, God's way of doing things.

Yeah. On the cross, there is a shame on the part of Satan and his minions because they thought they had won. They thought they'd won. They thought they were cheering on the sides and saying, we've won, we've taken down, we've taken down the son of God, we win, we win, we win. And then in the end, they find out that they're being triumphed over.

They're not doing the triumphing. In fact, it reminded me of a verse, had to go look at it again, about if the rulers and authorities, the satanic rulers and authorities had understood what was really going on on the cross, they would not have done this. Okay. That's 1 Corinthians, right? 1 Corinthians 2.8. If they had understood who it was.

Yeah. 1 Corinthians 2.8. None of the rulers of this age, is that word again, rulers? None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. So this completely turned them on their heads. They thought they were winning and if they'd known that they were actually losing, they wouldn't have crucified Jesus.

And in putting him to death, they were actually signing their own death warrant. Exactly. Right. That was God's secret weapon. Right.

Because the death of his son is the thing that was going to bring down the satanic powers against us. Yeah, yeah. And so in their eagerness to dance around with their fists in the air and triumph over Christ, suddenly they're the ones being triumphed over because of what Christ has done.

And that word triumph, by the way, that's a very Roman word. That's a public display. Yeah. I mean, if a general went out to conquer another land and they conquered them and he would bring them back in chains and as slaves and they would actually do a parade through town.

Right. And the general usually, the conquering general would be on a big white horse out in front, you know, he'd be getting the accolades of people and they would look behind him to see all the people he's bringing in town. That was a triumph parade. That was a way of saying, we have bested them, we have taken them. So in a real sense, when you see that Jesus is triumphing over them, you can kind of say, this is general Jesus. This is Jesus who went out and did battle on your behalf at the cross. And as a result, conquered them, taking their weapons away, disarming them, this is all military language and disarm them, how?

By taking your sins and dying for them on the cross. And that is a triumph as general Jesus comes into town, leading Satan and all his minions saying, you guys never had the upper hand. I always did. I win.

You lose. No comment. I just was kind of thinking about in Revelation, when it speaks about the lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world. Right.

That it was always his plan to sacrifice himself for our salvation. Right, right. From the very beginning. Yeah. Yeah. It wasn't something the enemy cornered him into doing. No, no, this is, no, no. But I think sometimes that thought is out there that, oh man, Jesus came and he fought really hard and then Satan cornered him and he had to die for us. Yeah, it's too bad.

It was an unfortunate, accidental death. It was not. No. It was the plan from the very beginning. It was the plan from the beginning. And the beginning, God desires fellowship with his creation man. Man denied that, fell, rebelled.

His sins accumulated and now that fellowship is impossible unless the sins are taken care of. So the plan from the very beginning was to have this seed, you know, through the woman who would bring this enmity with the evil one. And so he triumphs in the end. He always wins.

It's never been out of control. But the issue all the way through humanity, the issue throughout humanity has been the presence of our sins. Our sins separate us from God and that's not something God ever wanted. So he came in the Son and took care of them on our behalf. And he did everything required.

He did it all. That's where it parallels. That's kind of what led me back to Genesis 17 when God makes his covenant with Abraham. He says, I'll do this, I'll do this, I'll do this, I'll do this, I'll do this for you and you shall have the sign that you believed it. So you know, if you look closely from verse 13 on, we're dead, right?

Incapable. But God makes us alive. He forgives us. He cancels the record of the debt that stood against us. He set it aside, he nailed it to the cross and then he disarmed all the rulers and authorities and shamed them.

Shamed them. God does everything. And you know, we can't say this enough. This will come up many times in Colossians. How much in Paul's books he emphasizes very strongly is that the new covenant is all about what God has done for us in Christ. All. Not just a little bit, but all.

And then what we do contributes nothing at all. In fact, when he keeps going on in this chapter, he'll extend that idea. But you know, if you did just a cursor reading of what we just read from 11 through 15, you would, you know, if you're not reading deeply, you'd think, well, I better go out and get baptized.

Maybe I ought to go out and get circumcised. Maybe I ought to go through all these things, which were shadows of the reality. And now that Christ has come, those shadows no longer need to point to the reality. We understand the reality and it's what Christ has done for us.

And so we celebrate that and we don't go out looking for traditions or different things to do in order to earn God's respect. And that's exactly where Paul is going. That's where he's going. In the passage. And we're going to deal with that next week when he says, therefore, don't let anyone act as your judge in regard to all these religious behaviors.

Right. But that's the temptation in false religion. All false religion has one thing in common and that false thing is you better do enough good to counteract the things you've done wrong.

And then maybe a judgment, if you're lucky, your good will outweigh your wrong and you'll be led into heaven. Well, it's not just doing the good. It's doing the special ceremonies. That's what I mean. Right. Doing the ceremonial stuff.

You better go out and do that or else you may not make it into heaven. Well, that's all false religion. In the New Covenant, and actually in the Old Covenant as well, it's everything that God has done.

Not what we've done. Yeah. You know, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3, we're not adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God who's made us adequate by his Holy Spirit.

Right. So that is, if you're kind of looking for a way to enter into understanding better this New Covenant, go and read 2 Corinthians 3 and then go back to Jeremiah 31, 31, 31, 34. And just read what God has promised with this new arrangement for life.

And we'll just double down on one last thing. The issues of the heart are the most real when it comes to your relationship with God. The outward actions, secondary, maybe shadows of the heart, but the heart issues are real. They're really what's at core here. And so Paul's going to continue that emphasis.

The shadows are useful to remind us. Baptism does, you know, circumcision does, but that's not the heart of the issue. The heart of the issue is your heart. And so when you think about lining up all these actions you need to do to kind of toe the line to make God happy with you, you're probably not focusing on your heart.

And the heart is the tremendous issue and it's, the heart's also an extraordinarily hard place for us to change and we're deceived about what's there. But not for Christ. Not for Christ.

He sees our heart and He heals us from the inside out. We're out of time. We are. And we'll continue on in verse 16 when we come back and He'll continue the thought about how fruitless it is for us to try and pursue all these things to do. So I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And we'll come back next time and look at Colossians here on More Than Inc. There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website. And while you're there, take a moment to drop us a note. Remember, the Bible is God's love letter to you.

Pick it up and read it for yourself and you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. What? Christianity. Yeah. Let's do that. Something like that. This has been a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-15 14:09:42 / 2024-06-15 14:22:14 / 13

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