Series: Maintaining this hope
Now you must love what I love & as I love
For the past few weeks we have had a greek word sort of woven into the fabric of our teachings. That word is Epignosis (epee- no-see) or (epi-gnosis). When used of knowing people, it means to come to know someone through relationship or through relational exposure to them. When it is used in scripture in the context of our character becoming more and more conformed to Jesus’, it takes on a meaning, not at all dissimilar to an apprentice learning the skill of a trade from a master craftsman…only in a close relational context. So perhaps a better visual for this word would be a son, learning from his father the skills of their family trade.
As we were walking through Colossians chapter 3 last week, I asked you to look for
- The resurrection/rapture and the effect on our lives the hope of it inspires
- God’s passion for us
- Our response to that passion
We ended with three major thoughts…
- God’s wrath is not personal – it is relational and required. The Father’s wrath is in response to man’s rebellious, prideful and hatefulness against His Son and the work of the Holy SPirit in attempting to influence and woow their hearts towards love and obedience to the Father through and because of Jesus Christ. As such God’s wrath is longing accompanied with grief.
- The sins addressed in this chapter are all sins of passion for things other than God, which makes his longing accompanied by grief the result of unfaithfulness and adultery.
- Our Life (our union & intimacy) with God is hidden in Christ, which means we will only find our union and intimacy with God the Father through love & relational commitment and devotion to the Son – Jesus.
So before we rush into new territory, let’s refresh our memories of these things we covered last week by reading those few verses which lead up to where we left off…
“(1) If however you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, enthroned at God’s right hand. (2) Give your minds to the things that are above, not to the things that are on the earth. (3) For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
(4) When Christ appears—He is our true Life–then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
“(5) Therefore put to death your earthward inclinations–fornication, impurity [averice – extreme greed], sensual passion, unholy desire, and all greed, for that is a form of idolatry. (6) It is on account of these very sins that God’s anger [wrath] is coming, (7) and you also were once addicted to them, while you were living under their power.”
Those sins of passion for things other than God are the focus of God’s wrath against the world. His anger, which is against man for their dismissive treatment of His Son and the Spirit – is a longing unfulfilled which brings deep heart grief. Jesus addressed the same possibility in the hearts of those who know Him, thing in the parable of the sower and the seeds. This would be the heart which was open to the word and received it, but which also allowed the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of wealth and the DESIRE FOR OTHER THINGS – to enter in and choke out the influence of the Spirit who reveals the Word – to us Who is Jesus!
But now, that we are His, along with those sins of passion which we used to substitute for finding our pleasure and fulfillment in God, we are also to set aside these things…
“(8) But now you must rid yourselves of every kind of sin–angry and passionate outbreaks, ill-will, evil speaking, foul-mouthed abuse–so that these may never soil your lips. (9) Do not speak falsehoods to one another, for you have stripped off the old self with its doings, (10) and have clothed yourselves with the new self which is being remoulded into full knowledge so as to become like Him who created it.”
The word “Remoulded” is also translated in some bibles as “renewed”. It means, to make new, which is from kainós (G2537), qualitatively new. To be renewed completely by God.
Both the Old and the New “Self” or “man” – is a word which when used in this place focuses upon the nature and character of a person. It means the disposition or attitude which is created and cherished by the new nature that Jesus Christ gives to the believer in opposition to the old nature which was part of the fall.
“(11) In that new creation there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free man, but Christ is everything and is in all of us.”
Now I am getting a little bit ahead of myself here, but this phrase and others like it in the scriptures (like the one found in Galatians 3:28) are many times taken out of context in order to force an ideology being advanced more in our day perhaps than in any other.
The idea is NOT to say that there IS no distinction at all. Paul himself writes quite clearly about the advantages of the Jew over the Gentile as well as the debt the Gentiles who have come to Christ OWE to their Jewish brothers [See Rom. 3:1-2 & Rom. 15:26-27].
He and Peter both also, point out the distinctions and both marital and social role differences between men and women, parents and children, owners and servants. So it is not only WRONG to use this passage to say that such distinctions do not exist since they are clearly supported as valid and incumbent upon us in Christ. The New Testament is SO clear on these points that it makes all arguments against them clearly and decidedly – intellectually dishonest.
What Paul is referring to here is that one person does not have any advantage above another in becoming a New Creation. A gentile can come into Christ and live out their new nature in Him as readily and freely as any Jew as can any slave as freely and can their master…and so on.
But this freedom is tempered with a character of loving servitude as Jesus came to serve and not be served…and THIS is where we have to ask ourselves…Where is my line in the sand? Where is it that God could ask me to go that I would say, “I will go to this point – but no further!”
- “Am I willing to give all He is requiring?”
- “Am I willing to live as God tells me to?”
- “Am I willing to submit to His ways, rather than force expressions of selfish independence?”
Where is my line in the sand?
“(12) Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own people holy and dearly loved, with:
- lowliness of mind
- (13) bearing with one another
- and readily forgiving each other
- if any one has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, you also must forgive.
(14) And over all these…
put on love, which is the perfect bond of union;
(15) and let the peace which Christ gives settle all questionings in your hearts, to which peace indeed you were called as belonging to His one Body; and be thankful.”
There is LOTS here, and only a few need further explanation.
We understand tender-heartedness & kindness, but what is lowliness of mind? It means to see ourselves as we really are – in particular, it is to see what Paul said above. That NONE OF US has the advantage above the other in terms of personhood. Jews are not better than Gentiles, Men are not better than women…Women are not better than men, Parents than children, owners than slaves, those in political power than those under them. As such, realize that when we serve, we are not stooping far at all, in fact we are seeing ourselves as the created. Paul’s letter to the Philippians helps us with this exact word by providing an example of it in Phil. 2:3-5.
Php. 2:3-5, “(3) Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. (4) Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (5) Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus…”
To consider others as – means to keep how important others are to God as your leading and first thought in your dealings with them – rather than thoughts of your equal importance.
The word meekness is interesting.
First of all it is not an outward expression…it is an inward grace of the soul.
One may be soft spoken and yet, passionate in a plea. Or conversely one may be exceedingly angry to the point of violence, yet temper their response to a stern verbal rebuke.
Aristotle describes this word as that inward virtue that stands between two extremes.
Jesus was said to be meek and lowly, yet zeal for God’s house drove Him to drive out the moneychangers with a whip of His Own making.
It was not a self-righteous anger or a spur of the moment reaction. He had to take some time to actually MAKE the whip. This was not done in the heat of the moment. It was a zeal for God’s house, not a self-indignant reaction.
The next words which need no explanation were Long-suffering, bearing with one another, readily forgiving and grievance against each other, being careful to PUT ON love, which is that which makes us “stick and stay” rather than get frustrated and bolt.
Finally, we are commanded to let the peace which Jesus transferred to us, to RULE in our hearts because we were invited to this very reality.
Rule? Let it govern, prevail & abound in our hearts unchallenged! When used in the Greek games it meant to serve as an umpire or referee.
Finally we end with these words which will serve as our springboard into next week’s lesson…
“(16) Let the teaching concerning Christ remain as a rich treasure in your hearts.
In all wisdom teach and admonish one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and sing with grace in your hearts to God.
(17) And whatever you do, in WORD OR in DEED, do EVERYTHING in the name of the Lord Jesus, and let it be through Him that you give thanks to God the Father.”
Video will be uploaded soon…