Every Christian has Jesus as their personal Savior & Redeemer, dwelling within them, and bringing them internal, personalized hope for a glorious eternity with Him.
Nothing else and no one else is needed for that salvation and that hope.
I. The Theological Challenge At Colossae
A. False Teaching At Colossae
1. Much of what Paul wrote was aimed at correcting certain heretical teachings
2. 2:4 False teachers were seeking to deceive
3. 2:8-10 Fullness of God found in Christ. Christian is complete in/with Christ
4. 2:16,17 Some form of legalism versus faith in Jesus.
5. 2:18,19 False humility (asceticism?), worship of angels, diminishing of Jesus
6. 2:20-23 Legalism, false humility, “self denial”, that supposedly led to holiness
7. 3:1,2 The Christians at Colossae were being tempted to focus on earthly methods instead of on Jesus
B. Modern Days Parallels
1. False religious teachers today. Some deceitful, others themselves deceived.
2. Religious, human based traditions still taught today. Thought of as essential
3. Basic principles of the world are taught, and not Christ and the Bible.
4. Jesus plus legalism taught in many churches. “Jesus Plus”. List of works.
5. False humility, self denial, asceticism, rooted in human effort, leading to pride.
a. “Was Jesus A Vegetarian?”- by Ted Altar
6. Worship of and focus on angels, rather than on Jesus-
a. “Angelic Hosts”- by Todd Bentley
C. Some General Comments
1. We cannot & ought not judge the motivations of those who teach/suggest such things. God alone knows the true motives of their hearts.
2. We are called to judge their words and actions, but not have a condemning heart.
a. Judge not. Matthew 7:1-5
b. Beware of false prophets. Matthew 7:15-20
3. We cannot know the motives of those who choose to listen to false teachers
a. Some may be “babes” in the faith. Young, immature, unlearned.
b. Others may want a cheap, quick fix for their lives.
c. Some may be sincere, others enjoy the hyper emotion. Who knows?
4. Some might ask what the harm is in following these types of teachings
a. Christ is minimized, people are left wanting, deceived, & disappointed.
b. The fullness and hope of the Christian life is missed.
c. Believers go into bondage from lies instead of into truth that liberates.
II. The Revelation Of God’s Mystery: “Christ In You”
A. General Thoughts Re. The Word “Mystery” V. 26
1. Mystery– Paul often spoke of the Gospel message as a mystery.
2. In Greek pagan religions, a mystery was a secret teaching reserved for a few spiritual teachers who had been initiated into an inner circle.
3. Gnosticism was one of the Colossian heresies. Secret knowledge for a select few
4. In the New Testament the word implies something which, while it may be obscure in its nature, or kept hidden in the past, is now revealed. Hence used very commonly w/words denoting revelation or knowledge. Meant to be revealed
5. Paul tells them that whatever has been hidden is now fully revealed in Christ
6. Jesus used the word: Matthew 13:10, 11 10And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
B. The Mystery Of The Inclusion Of The Gentiles
1. Jesus came first to the Jews, but alluded to a salvation for the Gentiles
a. Matthew 15:24 “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
b. John 10:14-16 14I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
2. Turn to Ephesians 2:11-13; 3:1-9 God’s intention further revealed thru Paul
3. Part of that revelation re. the Gentiles was that they were co-heirs with the Jews re. the blessings of the kingdom of God.
4. That the Church was made up of both Gentiles & Jews.
a. Revelation 5:9,10 9And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”
b. Romans 10:12, 13 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved
C. The Promise Of The Indwelling of Christ V. 27
1. The teaching of the Gentiles being included in the Church brought them comfort because they were in the Church, forgiven by Christ, heaven bound.
2. But being “in the Church” isn’t the stopping point.
3. When one accepts Christ, then Christ is “in you”. A lifetime of transformation.
4. This truth guards the Believer from searching after “something more” than Jesus for their salvation and spiritual wholeness.
5. Protects the Believer from false teaching that suggests they need “Jesus plus…”.
6. It speaks of the complete work of Christ in and for the Christian, and that the Christian is complete in Christ, not needing angels, legalism, or whatever else.
7. The presence of the indwelling Christ is the testament and witness to the believer’s heart about the glory of the Christian life and the glory to come.
8. John 14:15-21; Romans 8:18-39
by Revivalist Todd Bentley
From Todd Bentley FreshFire Ministries Website 2004
EMMA, ANGEL OF THE PROPHETIC
Now let me talk about an angelic experience with Emma. Twice Bob Jones asked me about this angel that was in Kansas City in 1980: “Todd, have you ever seen the angel by the name of Emma?” He asked me as if he expected that this angel was appearing to me. Surprised, I said, “Bob, who is Emma?” He told me that Emma was the angel that helped birth and start the whole prophetic movement in Kansas City in the 1980s. She was a mothering-type angel that helped nurture the prophetic as it broke out. Within a few weeks of Bob asking me about Emma, I was in a service in Buelah, North Dakota. In the middle of the service I was in conversation with Ivan and another person when in walks Emma. As I stared at the angel with open eyes, the Lord said, “Here’s Emma.” I’m not kidding. She floated a couple of inches off the floor. It was almost like Kathryn Khulman in those old videos when she wore a white dress and looked like she was gliding across the platform. Emma appeared beautiful and young—about 22 years old—but she was old at the same time. She seemed to carry the wisdom, virtue and grace of Proverbs 31 on her life.
She glided into the room, emitting brilliant light and colors. Emma carried these bags and began pulling gold out of them. Then, as she walked up and down the aisles of the church, she began putting gold dust on people. “God, what is happening?” I asked. The Lord answered: “She is releasing the gold, which is both the revelation and the financial breakthrough that I am bringing into this church. I want you to prophecy that Emma showed up in this service—the same angel that appeared in Kansas city—as a sign that I am endorsing and releasing a prophetic spirit in the church.” See, when angels come, they always come for a reason; we need to actually ask God what the purpose is. Within three weeks of that visitation, the church had given me the biggest offering I had ever received to that point in my ministry. Thousands of dollars! Thousands! Even though the entire community consisted of only three thousand people, weeks after I left the church the pastor testified that the church offerings had either doubled or tripled.
During this visitation the pastor’s wife (it was an AOG church) got totally whacked by the Holy Ghost— she began running around barking like a dog or squawking like a chicken as a powerful prophetic spirit came on her. Also, as this prophetic anointing came on her, she started getting phone numbers of complete strangers and calling them up on the telephone and prophesying over them. She would tell them that God gave her their telephone number and then would give them words of knowledge. Complete strangers. Then angels started showing up in the church.
I believe Emma released a financial and prophetic anointing in that place. That was the first angel that I have ever seen in the form of a woman. Some angels I’ve seen seemed like they were neither male nor female. However, Emma appeared as a woman who was like a Deborah, like a mother in Zion. When she came, she began to mentor, nurture and opened up a prophetic well. The people in the church began having trances and visions and the pastor began getting words of knowledge and moving in healing. That congregation also saw more financial breakthrough than they had ever seen before.
Jesus and the early Christians
Was Christ a Vegetarian?
by Ted Altar
The following arguments are to be found, for the most part, in Keith Akers’ very useful, A Vegetarian Sourcebook, 1989. Another sourcebook I would also highly recommend for its scholarship is Lewis Regenstein’s Replenish the Earth: The History of Organized Religion’s Treatment of Animals and Nature–Including the Bible’s Message of Conservation and Kindness Toward Animals, 1991.
“I require mercy, not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13 & 12:7)
This is a significant message when we remember that in the context in which this was said meat eating was commonly considered part of these sacrifices. Sacrificial offerings often entailed meat consumption and a strict reading of Leviticus 17: implies that, indeed, all meat consumption necessitated a sacrifice. Also, the noted confrontation of Jesus in the Temple suggests that he was not at all pleased by the desecration of the Temple by the money changers AND by “those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons” (John 2:14-15) since these animals were being sold for sacrifice before being eaten.
No Unequivocal Biblical Reference to Christ Eating or Buying Meat
Consider the verse where it is said that Jesus’ disciples “were gone away unto the city to buy meat” (John 4:8). This translation from the King James version has been misunderstood as meaning literally “meat”. In fact, the Greek word for “meat” from which the James translation based its choice for this word, simply meant nutrition in the generic sense. Hence, the Revised Standard Version now simply translates this same passage as “his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food”.
Regenstein notes that nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus depicted as eating meat and “if the Last Supper was a Passover meal — as many believe — there is, interestingly, no mention of the traditional lamb dish”.
Did Christ at Least Eat Fish? (e.g., Luke 24:43)
Note that on the two occasions where he is said to have eaten fish, these were after his death and resurrection. Also, we should maybe keep in mind that fish was a well known mystical symbol among these early Christians. The Greek word for fish (Ichthys) was used as an acronym whose initials in Greek stood for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior”. Given how the early Christians employed the term, there is therefore good historical evidence for the argument that all of the “fish stories” that managed to get into the gospels were intended to be taken symbolically rather than literally.
Jesus in me is my hope
While working as a journalist for the Chicago Tribune, Lee Strobel was assigned to report on the struggles of an impoverished, inner-city family during the weeks leading up to Christmas. A devout atheist at the time, Strobel was mildly surprised by the family’s attitude in spite of their circumstances:
The Delgados—60-year-old Perfecta and her granddaughters, Lydia and Jenny—had been burned out of their roach-infested tenement and were now living in a tiny, two-room apartment on the West Side. As I walked in, I couldn’t believe how empty it was. There was no furniture, no rugs, nothing on the walls—only a small kitchen table and one handful of rice. That’s it. They were virtually devoid of possessions.
In fact, 11-year-old Lydia and 13-year-old Jenny owned only one short-sleeved dress each, plus one thin, gray sweater between them. When they walked the half-mile to school through the biting cold, Lydia would wear the sweater for part of the distance and then hand it to her shivering sister, who would wear it the rest of the way.
But despite their poverty and the painful arthritis that kept Perfecta from working, she still talked confidently about her faith in Jesus. She was convinced he had not abandoned them. I never sensed despair or self-pity in her home; instead, there was a gentle feeling of hope and peace.
Strobel completed his article, then moved on to more high-profile assignments. But when Christmas Eve arrived, he found his thoughts drifting back to the Delgados and their unflinching belief in God’s providence. In his words: “I continued to wrestle with the irony of the situation. Here was a family that had nothing but faith, and yet seemed happy, while I had everything I needed materially, but lacked faith—and inside I felt as empty and barren as their apartment.”
In the middle of a slow news day, Strobel decided to pay a visit to the Delgados. When he arrived, he was amazed at what he saw. Readers of his article had responded to the family’s need in overwhelming fashion, filling the small apartment with donations. Once inside, Strobel encountered new furniture, appliances, and rugs; a large Christmas tree and stacks of wrapped presents; bags of food; and a large selection of warm winter clothing. Readers had even donated a generous amount of cash.
But it wasn’t the gifts that shocked Lee Strobel, an atheist in the middle of Christmas generosity. It was the family’s response to those gifts. In his words:
As surprised as I was by this outpouring, I was even more astonished by what my visit was interrupting: Perfecta and her granddaughters were getting ready to give away much of their newfound wealth. When I asked Perfecta why, she replied in halting English: “Our neighbors are still in need. We cannot have plenty while they have nothing. This is what Jesus would want us to do.”
That blew me away! If I had been in their position at that time in my life, I would have been hoarding everything. I asked Perfecta what she thought about the generosity of the people who had sent all of these goodies, and again her response amazed me. “This is wonderful; this is very good,” she said, gesturing toward the largess. “We did nothing to deserve this—it’s a gift from God. But,” she added, “It is not his greatest gift. No, we celebrate that tomorrow. That is Jesus.”
To her, this child in the manger was the undeserved gift that meant everything—more than material possessions, more than comfort, more than security. And at that moment, something inside of me wanted desperately to know this Jesus—because, in a sense, I saw him in Perfecta and her granddaughters.
They had peace despite poverty, while I had anxiety despite plenty; they knew the joy of generosity, while I only knew the loneliness of ambition; they looked heavenward for hope, while I only looked out for myself; they experienced the wonder of the spiritual, while I was shackled to the shallowness of the material—and something made me long for what they had.
Or, more accurately, for the One they knew.