Saturday, October 26, 2013
Scratching the Surface of Colossians
Scratching the Surface of Colossians
The devil does lots of dirty deeds in the church.
That's because the devil, as Luther wrote, is a "clever trickster" who disguises itself as "an angel of light" or someone/something good and tasty; or as I've come to believe, the tempter's temptations are so tempting 'cause we wanna take a bite.
Jesus warned, it/they "come in sheep's clothing..."
It/they don't come looking like bad guys/gals.
It/they come looking like part of the team; and blend in like bad leaven to make things worse over time.
It/they are like sleeper cells that seemingly lie dormant in the halls and sanctuaries and on the committees of churches until the time is wrong for them to disturb, detour, divide, damage, and sometimes even destroy; noting one of its/their favorite strategies was summarized so well by the Rolling Stones, "Confusing is my game...Can you guess my name?"
C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters comes to mind as the old demon encourages the younger version, "I note with grave displeasure that your patient has become a Christian...There is no need to despair; hundreds of those adult converts have been reclaimed...One of our great allies at present is the church itself."
While James is right - "Resist the devil and he will flee from you" - and Paul is right - "We use God's mighty weapons to knock down the devil!" - there's often too much disturbing, detouring, dividing, damaging, and sometimes even destroying because too many pewsitters and pulpiteers do not identify and isolate 'em from infecting the rest of the body aka church with its/their disease: "Watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive."
Bluntly, the Biblically ignorant.
Even more bluntly, that's why the Church has always emphasized Biblical Christian education as one of the best ways to beat the devil in time.
But, again, we've seen its/their accomplices making a mess in too many churches.
Matthew 15 and Colossians expose its/their dirty tricks: "They elevate human traditions to the commandments of God...See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, and not according to Christ...not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body...grows with a growth that is from God."
I've learned how to cut to the quick in distinguishing authentic Christians from posers - the real deals from those who've unwittingly and often wittingly made their deals with the devil.
Just start talking about Jesus with them!!!!!!!
People who really know/love Jesus are always eager to talk about Him; and people who don't, don't.
Jesus is the litmus test.
Do you want to know what your deacon/elder/pastor really believes or if you'll be equally yoked in marriage or if your denomination is still faithful or if your government...or if...or if...or if...?
Just ask 'em to talk about Jesus.
If they can and are eager to do it, you know who they are because they know who He is.
If not, not.
To horrify the grammar police who often care more about jots and tittles than saving souls, you is or you ain't.
That's what Colossians is all about; establishing His identity and exposing ours.
Paul says Christians have an uncompromisingly clear and conclusive confession about Jesus: "He is the image of the invisible God...all things were created through Him and for Him...In Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell..."
In short, Jesus is not like God.
He is God.
This letter expands upon the opening sentences of John in establishing His identity - His divine birth certificate.
This letter also describes how people who know and love Jesus act accordingly; or, acknowledging the room for improvement in everyone's life which is why we praise our Lord Jesus for also being our Savior, how people who know and love Jesus are better than worse when it comes to following His ethics: "Seek the things that are above...put on...compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another...forgiving...And above all these put on love...Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
As I've scratched the surface of the Bible with Colossians really pounding home the point, Christianity is all about Jesus.
Think about it.
How can anyone who belongs/connects to any church/person that/who claims to be a part of Christendom not be focusing on Jesus and filtering every part of their life and ministry through Him?
Christianity is about Jesus being Lord and Savior and following Jesus because He is Lord and Savior.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!