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Thanks to Pastor J. for the Church Photo - Check out his blog - Lillie-Put: http://josephelonlillie.com/

In yesterday’s study of the Sabbath, I referred to Paul’s mention of the Sabbath in Colossians 2.

Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- - Colossians 2:16

The problem with this verse is that it starts with “Therefore” and ends with dashes. How can I just leave that alone? In good conscience I can’t simply ignore the wherefore to its therefore, or leave out what it is dashing toward, can I?

I suppose I could yank it out of context and just say – “Don’t judge me” and be satisfied, yeah – no – can’t do it. So let’s dig a bit, shall we?

Here’s a bit of context, but I warn you, you better get on your shoutin’ shoes cuz it’s ‘bout to get fun.

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. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. - Colossians 2:8-17

What is it there for?

I know that is a pretty big passage of scripture, and with the way Paul packs his writing with meaning, you could no doubt write volumes on this passage, but let’s see if we can’t glean the gist here.

  1. It is a warning – don’t let anyone take you captive by deception.
  2. Jesus is fully God – all that is God dwells in Him.
  3. You (Christian) have been made complete in Him.
  4. Your sin nature has been cut away from you, it is no longer a part of you – like the piece of flesh that is cut off in circumcision and disposed of, so it is with your sin nature.
  5. The bill (wages) for the actual sins you have committed was nailed to the cross (Jesus became sin.)
  6. Your enemy has been disarmed. This bill – this listing of your sin – was his ammunition against you, as he went before God to accuse you. He no longer has any weapon to use against you.

This is the ten-thousand foot view of what Paul is pointing back to with his “therefore,” and let me tell you, it’s got me happy!

His Conclusion

This therefore points back to his warning – If you are in a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ - don’t be deceived.

  • Don’t be deceived by someone telling you about some rituals you must follow in order to keep your Christianity.
  • Don’t be deceived into believing that if you keep the Sabbath on a Saturday, you are denying Christ’s resurrection.
  • Don’t be deceived into believing that you are offending God by eating meat on a Friday.
  • Don’t be deceived into believing that you are still in your sins if you are not participating in some religious observance – what ever it is.

Your sin has been violently cut away from you – it was a bloody mess – and there is no putting it back. It has been cast into the trash, and cannot be reattached to you. You have been circumcised!

I have gone longer than I intended, and I am only half way there. I am so blessed though by this discovery of circumcision today. Come back tomorrow for what comes after Paul’s mention of the Sabbath. I think it will be eye opening.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

Shine where you’re screwed in today.

Ben

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There is this crazy train of thought running around inside my head – perhaps headed for an idea train wreck, but I am sure you will let me know if I crash and burn.

Here is the thing.

God is Holy – in fact He is Holy Holy Holy

One part of holiness is separation – sort of a “set apart”ness. And God’s holiness sets Him so far apart – so completely set apart – that He is unapproachable.

Many times I am overwhelmed by a realization of the great holiness of the Father. The problem with this is that it puts me right there beside Isaiah, in Chapter 6 where he cries out

Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

Isaiah 6:5

Sometimes we forget that God has actually dealt with this problem once and for all.

Yes – His holiness can rock my world, and seemingly amplify my sin in my own eyes, but He is no longer asking me to stay back, to keep away.

No longer does only one man have the privilege (perhaps dreaded privilege) to enter the Holy of Holies.

Now you and I are called into His presence.

We are told, at the very time we feel the greatest temptation, that moment that our enemy, the accuser, is saying “if you were a real Christian, you would not even have thought of that” – right then – that is the time the Father calls us to His throne.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:15-16

Do you see it?

It tells us in no uncertain terms, since Jesus has been tempted, He “gets it.” And that is why we must screw up our courage, stir up our daring, and walk right into the throne room of All Might God, King of the Angel Armies. [Tweet This]

And what will we find there? What awaits us?

… so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

In His throne room we find, first, mercy because, we all know we need mercy . What we don't get is what we deserve! We don't get the fiery wrath of a holy God! Nope - Jesus got that at Golgotha.

And grace to help.

So there it is. Right in the middle of our sinful day, we sense the tug of the Spirit, we head over to the throne room (easy access granted to all who will be thankful and praiseful) and the Father  forgives all that has come before, and dispenses to us the exact implement of grace needed to face the temptation we are currently combating.

Don’t let the presence of temptation cause you to run for the bushes and put on your fig-leaf bloomers! Head to the throne and get the grace you need to face the day.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Shine where you are plugged in!

Ben

My Beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms In the vineyards of Engedi. (Song of Songs 1:14 NASB)

Ok – here we go again with these cryptic references to things and places we don’t know.

Let me start today with another “I’m no scholar” disclaimer. I will say that there is great value in scholarship, so please don’t take my admission as any dishonor to the scholars in our midst. Not at all!

That said – here is what I understand:

Engedi was famous for it’s gardens and vineyards. They were mature and well maintained, and famous far and wide for their beauty and sweet fragrances.

Here is the thing – the beauty and fragrance of her Lover point to the fact that unlike her first encounters with religion  - (remember the bucket brigade?) – which were burdensome and full of stress, when she actually gets up close to her Shepherd King it is a sweet fragrance and beauty that can only be compared to this world famous garden.

Throughout the Song we are going to view the vineyard as the personal spiritual life of the believer. As she gazes on Jesus, she sees that a relationship of this kind is nothing like religion.

Sadly, it is all to easy for the most rigorously spontaneous of us to fall into religious patterns, and lose sight of the fact that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

O beloved, there is such a wonderful freedom and blessed joy that comes with our yoking ourselves with the Lord Jesus.

I pray the Spirit that anointed Jesus for the liberation of each of us would set you free today.

Breath deeply of the fragrance of freedom today.

Ben
Come back next week.

Ben