Friday, November 23, 2018

A Purpose and a Warning

As we go through this study of Becoming a Woman of Godliness, our key verses are:

Philippians 2:12-13
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Philippians 1:6
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

In this first session, we will see the purpose of this study unfold, and we will also see a warning to believers.  This warning is directed at us, and it is one that we need to take seriously.

Our text for today comes from Colossians 2:1-8:

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himselfin whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument. For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Paul is the writer of this letter to the church at Colossi.  He tells us that he words hard and struggles greatly.  Why does he do this? 1) for the Colossians, 2) for those at Laodicea, and 3) for those who have not met him.  Sisters, this is us! So all that Paul is writing by God’s hand is meant for us.  This is such an important thing for us to realize. The Bible is meant, not just for the people of the times that is was written, but for us in present day.

All three of the people groups that Paul is writing to are knit together in love.  This shows the unity of believers.  Why is he writing this letter? 1) so that their hearts may be encouraged.  We can all use some encouragement! And 2) so they will have all of the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding.  The word wealth here literally means money possessions and figuratively means riches and abundance.  The words full assurance mean entire confidence.

Ephesians 1:7
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

Ephesians 1:18-19
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might

Ephesians 3:16
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,

God’s grace is rich. God’s inheritance is rich. God’s glory is rich. Paul wants us to have the riches of the full assurance of understanding all of these things about God.  The result of understanding is a true knowledge of God’s mystery that Christ is available to the Gentiles.  In Christ hides all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Isaiah 11:2
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Romans 11:33
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

Paul is writing this, through the power of God, so there will be no doubt in our minds about ourselves as believers in God.  The riches we have in God are enough to keep us fully satisfied.  If we have the understanding of this, we will have treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  These treasures are in Christ Himself.  Everything listed in Isaiah is our treasure.  It is essential that we know God’s Word so that we can attain to the full assurance of understanding.  This is our purpose!  This is why we are living our lives, working out our salvation.  God wants us to be rich, and He has given us the path to full assurance of understanding.  God does not save us and immediately take us to heaven, although He could.  He allows us to live, and one reason is so we can work to become rich in Him and His wisdom and knowledge.

And now for our warning. In verse four, Paul says that he does not want the Colossians, the Laodiceans, or us to be deluded with any kind of false gospel or enticing words.

Romans 16:17-18
17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

Paul is with the church at Colossi in spirit.  He rejoices to see their good discipline.  He rejoices to see the stability of their faith.  Do you have good discipline in the Lord?

1 Timothy 4:7
But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;

There is a book entitled Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney.  In his book, he discusses eleven different spiritual disciples: Bible intake, prayer, worship, evangelism, serving, stewardship, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, learning, and perseverance. I highly recommend this book to you. In order to know what the Word of God says, so that we are not deluded with false gospels and enticing words, we must be disciplined to study the Word of God.

How stable is your faith in Jesus Christ?  In verse six, Paul goes into this. Now that you have received Jesus Christ as Lord, walk in Him! You are firmly rooted in God.  This happens at the moment of salvation.

1 Corinthians 3:6
I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.

Now, since you have firm solid roots, you are being built up in Him.  Now you are being established in your faith.  Jesus will confirm you to the end.

1 Corinthians 1:7-8
so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our warning here is clear.  Know the truth of God’s Word so that you will not be poorly persuaded.  You are Christians – you have received the Lord as your Savior.  Act like it!  Walk in Him.  Paul says that the Colossians have good discipline and are stable in their faith.  How about you? Part of working out our salvation is being strong in our disciplines in the Lord.  We are firmly rooted in God – we cannot be pulled up from Him.  But, we now have to grow up.  Now, we have to come established in our faith.  We have to do as we are instructed in Scripture, with a thankful hear.

Look at verse 8. Paul says to be careful that no one takes us captive: 1) through philosophy, 2) through empty deception, 3) according to the traditions of men, 4) according to the elementary principles of the world, 5) not according to Christ.  Let us be secure and stable in our faith.  Let us know the truth of God’s Word so that we know when something is deceptive.  Let us walk in Christ, being built up in Him and being established in our faith.  Let us work out our salvation with fear and trembling, as God is at work in us.

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