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November 10, 2020 7:00 pm
BJU President Steve Pettit continues a discipleship series entitled, “Seeking Things Above” from Colossians 3:9-12.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform were continuing a study series entitled seeking things above, which is a study of the book of Colossians were looking this morning and Colossians chapter 3 verse nine of you have your Bibles. Would you please turn there. The apostle Paul here is speaking about seeking things above, we are to be heavenly people and where to think that way of live that way. In verse nine he says. And it put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision or un-circumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye scientific research's research shows that having a connection to something bigger than yourself makes you happier and healthier New York Times writer David Brooks gave advice to college graduates in a column that he wrote entitled. It's not about you is conclusion is that the purpose of life is not found in yourself is actually in losing yourself, he implies that the most successful people spend time on things bigger than themselves. As a part of Paul's ministry.
He was to teach Gentile believers that they are actually a part of something bigger than themselves, and specifically he is speaking of the church.
The church is God's work in the world today. The church you could say is where it's all happening in Paul's primary teaching on the church is actually found in two letters that he panned the book of Ephesians in the book of Colossians.
However, there's a slight difference of emphasis regarding the church at least two letters in the book of Ephesians, Paul tells us that through the gospel.
We have been incorporated into the spiritual body of Christ, which is called the church. Remember what Jesus said to Peter, I will build my church, so we through faith in Christ are put into that body Colossians, however, tells us that through the gospel.
All believers are connected to their spiritual head that is Jesus Christ.
So Ephesians focuses on the body and Colossians focuses on the head in both letters. Paul tells us that the church is actually a mystery, a mystery refers to something that was hidden in the past, but now it's being revealed in the present and what he means by that is in the Old Testament the Jewish people would not have understood the church. It was a mystery, and was given the Paul to teach that mystery, and here's the secret of the mystery and that is that believing Gentiles by the way there's two people two kinds of people in the world, Jews or Gentiles. And if you're not Jewish, then your Gentile, and Paul is saying that believing Gentiles could enter into the blessing of God's covenant that was reserved for the Jewish people. It is through the gospel that we become partakers of those promises. And through the gospel.
We become a part of God's work in the world. T.S. Eliot said most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.
And Paul is saying that we have become a part of the most important thing in the world and that's the church. Think about it if you're connected to a church if you are committed to the church if you're serving God either in the church or in support of the church, then you are really a part of the biggest thing in the world.
That's why believe that Bob Jones University. If we don't serve in it.
We don't support the church, then our existence is questionable. Bob Jones does not exist for the sake of Bob Jones University because God doesn't need this place because God's great work in the world is what he is doing through the church and therefore we are to be on support of that so I Colossians Paul is unfolding the nature of the church and basically he does it into metaphors. The first metaphor is the church is a new creation and by new creation. He is speaking of something that God made that did not formally exist in a chapter 1 he says that God created or he made the physical world that is God made the world out of nothing. Look at Colossians 115 he says who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For by him were all things created that are in heaven that are in earth, visible, invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created by him and for him and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. What is Paul saying everything was made by Jesus.
Everything was made through Jesus and everything was made for Jesus by Christ's own power he sustains and he holds creation together, and like a firstborn son in the ancient world who has rights and privileges over his father's inheritance.
Jesus has first place. Over all creation. So the new creation is first of all, pictured in the physical world, when, and secondly, Paul says, is pictured in the spiritual body, the creation of the church.
Look at Colossians 118 and he is the head of the body, the church, what is the church. It is a society of men and women who have been supernaturally re-created through the new birth through regeneration and this new creation is a result of what Christ came into the world to do and that is to deliver us from Adam's fall, or we would say to reverse the curse in the garden of Eden, Adam lived before God in a state of righteousness. However, he disobeyed God, and the result was disastrous. His entire nature which transformed Adam's nature from being God centered to being self-centered and his sin was so great that he passed it on to the entire human race so that you and I are all born children of Adam.
What did Jesus come to do, he came.
If you could say it this way to start a new race of people and think of the result of the fall of Adam and the way it is transformed how humans relate to each other. Everybody knows, and in human society, we are deeply divided me. I mean, we see it all the time in the newspapers today we see the struggle even in American society we are divided through language were divided through culture were divided through racial conflicts. We are divided through tradition were divided through religion.
So what did Christ come to do. She came to create a new society you could send this way, a new spiritual race of people, and this new society or this new creation is called the church, the body of Christ and Paul's point is this.
Everyone who become believes becomes a part of the body. Regardless of your background, regardless of the way you've lived. I think one of the glories of the church is to become a member of a body of people where people come in from all kinds of diverse backgrounds and what once separated humanity has now been broken down through the cross. Look at verse 11 where there is neither Greek or Jew, circumcision or on circumcision barbarian's incipient bond or free.
Christ is all and in all.
What is the result of Jesus becoming everything to everyone. It is this that there is a potential of incredible unity in the midst of extreme diversity, or to make it simple is like going to church member preaching a church in New York City at 200 church members and in that church of 200 church member 200 people. It had 40 different nationalities and and what was interesting is that some of the nationalities in the real world hated each other. For example, in the church. There were people from India and there were people from Pakistan and Pakistanis in Indians have always had conflict and yet in the church. They have peace and unity.
How do you describe that the only way to describe that is the new birth.
The love of Christ, the new creation. People who once hated each other now love each other. People who were once separated from one another are now connected to one another. People who distrusted each other now trust each other. People who would not associate with one another now are part of a family and is the old life of sin and prejudices put all believers become united through this spiritual renewal that comes from the knowledge of Christ. The church is the new creation, but the notice there's a second metaphor and that is not only is there a new creation.
But there's a new Israel. God chose Israel and made them his treasured possession. And God has invited Gentiles now to fully participate in the people and the heritage of Israel.
We, the church stand before God is Israel stood before God and look at Colossians 3 in verse 12 where Paul tells us that the church is given the same titles he gives to Israel. Look at what it says put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, elect, holy and beloved is the way that God spoke about Israel like Israel believers have been chosen on the basis of God's sovereign will and not on any special quality that they possess. God chose Israel like Israel believers have been set apart for the Lord and for his service and so we have been set apart for God service and like Israel, God set his love upon them. He let he chose to love them and, therefore, in response they love God back. That's exactly what we do. And Paul is calling us the Israel of God. Listen to Galatians 615 for neither circumcision counts for anything more on circumcision, but a new creation and is for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon you and upon the Israel of God, nothing to stop here and say that there's an important question that has to be asking this is not one that we have time to fully develop. But the important question I want to throw out is this has the church replace the nation of Israel as the people of God, or let me ask it this way is God finished with the literal nation of Israel in his plan, and now God's plan is only the church, well if he is then how do we handle all the promises that God made Israel as a nation.
He made them to a literal nation is God still going to fulfill them. But we know Jesus came and he God fulfilled his promises in Christ and yet there are many promises to the nation of Israel that have not yet been fulfilled. If God is going to fulfill those promises. That means he cannot be finished with the Israel with the nation of Israel, and therefore as a conclusion, Israel and the church are distinct and I'm reason I'm bringing this up is because there are differing viewpoints on this and I'm not here to make contention over the points of just simply here to tell you there are differing points of view.
One point of view is a a covenantal form of view that says that the church has been rolled over into Israel and now it is replaced Israel in the promises of the Old Testament are strictly for the church, but then there's a dispensational view that believes that God has specific promises to the nation of Israel that he got yet unfulfilled, and therefore there is a distinction between the church and Israel. That's where I personally stand and that's what I personally believe and I'm bringing that out simply because I don't you think that I'm passing by that. But the point that Paul is making here in this passage is actually much more practical and that is if we are a new creation and we are the new Israel. Then the point is how are we supposed to live.
It's all about being practical now. I want to ask you to turn to first Peter chapter 2 in verse nine and I want you to notice what Peter says because he's actually saying these basically the same thing. Paul is saying. He says in first Peter two in verse nine. Notice the language to use a C says you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people by way peculiar doesn't mean weird.
Although the gospel light does attract some strange bugs were peculiar main special, unique, one-of-a-kind, your peculiar people, and here's why. Did all this that you should show forth the praises of him who called you out of darkness in a marvelous life. We are called to show forth God's present praises as we display the light of Christ.
So how do we do this. How do we display that light.
If we are a new creation of a new race, a new society of people. How are we supposed to live and basically we're supposed to live a different kind of life and that's what Paul is commanding us to do here in Colossians chapter 3, beginning in verse 12 he says we are to put on the qualities that reflect a new creation. We are to have these character qualities in our life. Don't just stop here and say that oftentimes we do this we can do this easily. Bob Jones that in our emphasis of Christian character development, it can actually become very selfish for character is developed could be for the benefit or the betterment of the person so that you can be successful in life. We understand that people who are successful in life have character, but Paul is not speaking so much about success. I don't think that's even in his thinking.
I think what Paul is concerned about is that the church reflects the character of God, so that the world can get a glimpse of what God is like that the world would see the nature of God through the society of his people called the church and the qualities that God wants us to reflect are the same qualities that God showed to the nation of Israel, take your Bibles and turn with me please to Exodus chapter 34 and I want you to notice this on Mount Sinai. God revealed himself to Moses, God told Moses what he was like, and I'd like to read these verses to you because I want you to read this. Exodus 34 and then will go back to Colossians 312 and notice the exact exact same qualities in verse 30 forces of the Lord passed before him, Moses, and proclaimed the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and will by no means clear the guilty for visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and upon the children's children, unto the third into the fourth-generation look of the qualities that God says about himself, merciful, gracious, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy and forgiving. Now let's go back to Colossians chapter 3 in verse 12, and notice that these same qualities are to be reflected in our lives. And since we are Christ body, then obviously these are the qualities that were reflected in the life of Christ, that we are to put on notice he says in verse 12 put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, forgiving one another. These are qualities that were reflected in the nature of God to the nation of Israel and the Lord is saying these are the qualities that we need to have developed into our life and I do want to make a point here about the sermon I preached last week because of gotten some response back and that is there was a point in the sermon last week where is talking about putting to death and putting all the old and I used the phrase repetitively and by the way I did it on purpose. I said stop it. Remember that I just got yelled stop at about six or seven times and for some of you that was difficult for you and him and I'm not going to sit here and try to correct your thinking. But I will. But I want to say something. I did that intentionally. Why, because the only way to deal with sin is you have to stop. For example, you can't have sex a little bit okay is like okay would you stop having sex no release try mess on the way that you deal with sin, would you stop cursing just a little bit okay like like can you cut it in half.
That's not the way you docent the only way to deal with sin is you have to stop. You have to put it off so we deal with sin. It's always to be put off immediately what you do if you sin again.
You confess it and you go back to choosing not to do it. But what is very interesting is that the putting on of these qualities is not something that can be done immediately. It's a choice that you made and it grows progressively. It's like fruit fruit is grown we kill weeds.
We grow fruit so these qualities do take time and one of the qualities that reflect the nature of God look at what he says. Bowels of mercy was mean by bowels. He's talking about your inward parts, and the Greeks believed that this was the seed of your emotions, you're feeling it's a deep, heartfelt compassion for people is is what the Bible says. When Jesus all the people and he was moved with compassion when Jesus all the man who was a leper in he was moved with compassion, it's the feelings that we see for those who suffer the quality that we should be putting on in our life is the sense of mercy and the notice and export kindness. Kindness means to the display gracious acts of kindness for the good of others. Jesus said love your enemies, do good lend of them, hoping for nothing again, and your reward shall be great as you shall be the children of the highest, for he is kind into the unthankful and to the we are to be kind to actually people who were not kind to us in the number three says humbleness of mind, was that mean it means thinking of others and serving them thinking of their interest serving their needs. Is that not the way Jesus thought. Remember what Paul said let not.
He said let nothing be done through strife or vainglory but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Look not every man on his own things, but of the things of others.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
Was he saying humility, kindness, a heart of compassion. All of these qualities reflect Jesus and these are the things that were to be developing in our life. This is going to take our whole life to be this way the notice. The next word meekness weakness is somebody who is not consumed with their own self-importance. They're not rebellious they're not reactionary, the gentle are mild and their patient Jesus said take my yoke upon you and learn of me from meek and lowly in heart, so were to put on the spirit of meekness and then notice the next word, long-suffering, long-suffering, means that people are painful suffer and you have to put up with them a long time.
You know, if you don't put up with people long time is obviously not long-suffering so the idea is putting up with people in the face of being provoked or somehow there are complaints or there some kind of irritation. Think of Jesus. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. He was brought as a lamb to the sweet slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth. Jesus showed patience and long-suffering and in the last two forbearing one another, and forgiving one another to forbear means to endure, to forgive means to show the grace of forgiveness and notice what he says and I want to finish with this this morning. He says in verse 13 if any man have a quarrel against any Celeste stop there. The word moral means to be able to find a legitimate complaint that implies blame right now.
Think with me a moment we are to put up with and forgive people who actually have done things wrong to us that actually are legit.
Okay, somebody really mistreated us in the temptation and what I want to see when he says, forgiving one another, he's talking about Christian. I think one of the easiest places to develop quarrels or complaints is Bob Jones why because we're living among Christian people in a society of people where we are restricted in their regulations and your under authority and it's very easy for people to misunderstand or mistreat or not really treat you appropriately and it's very very easy to have a legitimate complaint okay.
I went to Bob Jones University I served outside of this ministry for over 30 years. Let me tell you something I actually had some legitimate complaint got complaints about Bob Jones and I am being serious and not being funny some things that I felt were not right or the way that I was treated or things that were said so what am I supposed to do be ticked off the rest of my life really what is what is Paul say to do.
He says put up and forgive those things that are legitimate and why does he tell us to do that because even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Let me ask you question is God have any legitimate complaints about you. Anything that you have done where you and actions have mistreated him and what is doing is he taking all of these qualities in his putting them together almost in this package of perfection in he says look you are as the body of Christ are to reflect the nature of Christ in these character qualities.
By the way you refill his finish with this illustration probably two months into my presidency.
Here is back in 2014 I got a letter from a former student who was here in 1952 I think he was 87 or 89 years old with time he came to Bob Jones University in he was here for about a year and he got kicked out of school. He came as a preacher boy and he was I think he was married and he lived off campus and he had a job where he would where he was painting and so on. The Bible conference came up. He got a legitimate excuse to miss Bible conference in the morning because he had to work well when Bible conference was over with.
He got turned in for missing Bible conference services and so when they brought him in. He said look I have this pass I was excused in in the process. He was actually dismissed from school because he missed the classes and that was put on his record while he writes me any assets cannot be removed from our records. He went on, graduated from Michigan State University. He got a PhD.
He taught there for years, retired from there yet postdoctoral work okay is the got a rope I get this letter and I go well alright so I checked all the records and sure enough. What he rigidly he wrote to me was very legitimate.
So I wrote them back as a dear Sir, thank you for your letter. It appears like what you've told me is the truth.
There's no reason for me not to believe you and I want you to know that your record is clear and I want you to know that whatever was done. That was wrong. Would you please find it in your heart to forgive us and I want you know that the people that dealt with, you are actually no longer with us. They are in heaven, so whatever they were like down here.
They are now in a perfected state, and it reminds me a little coin that says to dwell with Saints above. Oh that will be glory but to dwell with Saints above, below, now that's another story. And I said sir I just want you to know that in Christ all is forgiven and all is good.
That's what were supposed to do. Wrongs are never justified, but in the body of Christ. There should be a spirit of putting up with people. Now I will say this as we finish there a lot of you right now that need to put the stuff on you in your life because you go around and complain and you grumble about things that really are not a reflection of the light in the character of Christ. May God help us to put these things on. Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we continue the study in Colossians here on The Daily Platform