Wednesday, November 26, 2014

CHRIST THE FOUNTAINHEAD OF LIFE: THE TRUE REALITY

Christ the Fountainhead of Life: Christ the True Reality: 
Colossians 2:16-23 Week 5
"So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality (See Greek Word 'so-mah'). Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it. You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires." (Colossians 2:16-23 NLT)
Christ is the Reality behind the shifting shadows
Christ is the true reality, substance, or body of every spiritual thing that we see, all of which are shifting shadows. He is the reality of everything seen and one day all seen spiritual truths will be realized, revealed, and culminate in Him; in complete truth in the unseen heavenly realms!

The Greek word for Reality can be translated as Body, Substance, Reality, or True Picture
Greek word 4983: σῶμα
Pronounced so'-mah: the body (as a sound whole), used in a very wide application, literally or figuratively:--bodily, body, slave.

Don’t let anyone condemn you, but rather focus on the Reality of Christ who is the 'So-Mah' in the unseen in four ways. 
  1. Let Christ be your righteousness. 
I have found that people “try” so hard to be Christian when this is an practical impossibility. I think of the scripture where Jesus says, "unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees you can never enter the kingdom of Heaven”. We as the Church have often times tried so vigorously hard to be righteous apart from Christ. We must stop trying so hard. Let Christ be your righteousness! He will stand in the gap for you! He will cover you with his Righteousness! He will clothe you in Holiness! Let Him do it!

"And Christ himself is that reality. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things."

People were being pressured in the Colossian Church to act out their piousness, But Paul says that Christ himself is our piousness, He himself is the reality of all things spiritual, the seen, the unseen, and the not yet known! so trust him for those things!

Greek word for condemn here can also be translated to trick or beguile...καταβραβεύω it is pronounced kat-ab-rab-yoo'-o (in its original sense); to award the price against, i.e. (figuratively) to defraud (of salvation):--beguile of reward. Now isn't that interesting that Paul here is asking the Colossians to not be tricked into thinking that you could be pious enough, holy enough, or good enough to attain your own salvation. Don't let anyone defraud you of the salvation that Jesus wrought for you on the cross!!!

We are asked not to let anyone trick us into taking up a righteousness of our own through empty piety. in other words "do not take up a yoke again of slavery"! Jesus has taken all our condemnation in our place!
  1. Put your pride in Christ alone
"Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body."

Pride is one of those acceptable sins in the Church. Let me give you a for instance. If your pastor gets up this week in your church and admits that he has been looking at pornography for the past 5 years on his Church computer, he would be fired before he leaves the church that same day. But on the other hand if he gets up there and confesses pride a deep and hurtful pride, you would think like I have many times, “yes brother, I am with you.” We have agreed too many times in this area. We have placed our pride in the wrong things! We have succumbed to the worldly pattern which says that pride in self and accomplishments is ok. This is actually the exact antithesis of true spirituality. This verse shows us that when our pride puffs us up, we are not connected to the head of the body namely Christ. We must turn our pride from self and put our pride in Christ alone! "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God". Also Paul wrote that he "boasted only in the cross". We can also take up that boasting when we turn away from worldly pride. 
  1. Receive Christ’s victory
"For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it. You have died with Christ, and he has SET YOU FREE from the spiritual powers of this world."

One of the areas of weakness in the Calvinistic, Reformed theological traditions is that of the SPIRITUAL VICTORY that we have in Christ. This Reformed/Calvinistic Camp (of which I am happy camper) sometimes tends to a spiritual defeat perspective. Instead, Romans 8 describes an “overwhelming victory” that we receive through Christ’s righteousness. Many times what I hear in between the lines of these traditions is somewhat of a “woe is me” tone. However this could not be further from the truth! We are OVERWHELMINGLY VICTORIOUS! and We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ! We are made brothers by His own blood, and sacrifice! So my encouraging word is for you to receive and live in that victory, and do not take up the yoke of slavery to sin again!!! 
  1. Trust that Christ has destroyed the evil systems of this world (your world)
Christ has destroyed the Evil Systems in the World
"So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.” 
Legalism says that "you cannot do that" because you will not be holy or acceptable to God. The gospel says, however, that you cannot be holy or acceptable to God. Jesus has done that in our place!!! Therefore, He has destroyed all those rules regulations, and teachings that say we can somehow be holy on our own power. But as Paul says here it cannot help us conquer even one evil desire. This is the greatest news we could receive in the gospel! You cannot do it, so stop trying so hard. He is our righteousness. Put down your empty acts of religion, and receive His perfect righteousness. When I am most tempted to act on my own behalf, I have usually taken my eyes off of Christ. "Let us therefore fix our eyes on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith". We can begin to do that through worship. 

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