[SW400] 10/19/2019 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019
“The Real Jesus Christ — Part 4”
Text: Colossians 1:21-23, etc.
The church is flooded with many strange teachings about who Jesus is. I will not directly refute such false teachings in this message, but will use the Word of God to show today’s believers “The Real Jesus Christ.”
The Spirit-filled Paul did the same, with the believers at Colossae. Just like many of today’s believers, they had abandoned the true teaching of the gospel, and were accepting false teaching about Jesus Christ.
By abandoning the true gospel through which they had been saved, the believers at Colossae revealed that they were infants in Christ (1Corinthians 3:1), unable to discern the true from the false. They were accepting another Jesus, and a different gospel (see 2Corinthians 11:4).
Therefore, Paul urgently wrote to them from his Roman prison cell, warning them that they were in danger of moving away from (literally, changing their position) regarding their salvation (see Colossians 1:23), because they were following and believing these false teachings —
Colossians 2:18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize (salvation, per Strong’s Concordance) by delighting in self-abasement (i.e., self flagellation and depriving oneself of physical needs) and the worship of the angels . . .
Colossians 2:20-21 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”
Again, by following such things, they were in grave danger of changing their position regarding their salvation — that is, removing themselves from their saved position! The Lord does not want you to do as they were doing, beloved!
You may say, “What? Once I am saved, I am always saved! Pastor Sue, you are wrong.” So, before I teach Colossians 1:21-23, I want first to assure you that I checked the most highly respected commentaries on this.
From The Expositor’s Bible Commentary —
If the Bible teaches the final perseverance of the saints, it also teaches that the saints are those who finally persevere (that is, persevere to the end)— in Christ. Continuance is the test of the reality.
And from The New International Commentary on the New Testament —
What Paul has said in Verse 22 is what they can look forward to, provided they remain on the one foundation for faith. Their first enthusiasm was being dimmed. They were in danger of shifting from the fixed ground of Christian hope.
“Holding fast” to that hope (literally, faith) is throughout the NT an indispensable condition for attaining the goal of full salvation to be revealed at the end of things.
So, salvation is conditional. The following are Bible verses that confirm that salvation is conditional —
Paul, to the believers at Corinth:
2Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
2Corinthians 6:1 And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain — 2 for He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to You, and on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time, behold now is “the day of salvation.”
2Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you — unless indeed you fail the test?
Paul, to the believers at Galatia:
Galatians 1:6-7 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting (turning from) Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
Galatians 4:19 My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you — 20 but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
Galatians 5:4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law (i.e., outward works); you have fallen from grace.
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived (literally, roam from truth), God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh (pleasing his sinful nature) will from the flesh reap corruption (perishing), but the one who sows to the Spirit (pleases God by being filled with the Spirit and thereby becoming a partaker of the divine nature) will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Peter, to all believers:
2Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness . . .
Hebrews 10:26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.
Jesus Christ, to five of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, and to all believers:
Revelation 2:5 (To the church at Ephesus) “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place — unless you repent.”
Revelation 2:16 (To the church at Pergamum) “Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them (literally, you yourselves) with the sword of My mouth.”
Revelation 2:20, 23 (To the church at Thyatira) “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 23 And I will kill her children (her followers) with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.”
Revelation 3:1, 5 (To the church at Sardis) “ . . . He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 5 He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
Revelation 3:16, 19 (To the church at Laodicea) “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit (literally, vomit) you out of My mouth. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.”
These scriptures clearly show that it is possible to remove yourself from your salvation. That is why Paul exhorted the believers at Colossae. Again, they were in danger of removing themselves from their saved position because they were following false teaching, a false gospel.
Now, I will teach from Verses 21-23 of Colossians 1.
Verse 21-23a —
Colossians 1:21 And although you were formerly alienated (estranged from God) and hostile (hateful toward God) in mind, engaged in evil deeds (sins), 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy (pure) and blameless (spotless) and beyond reproach (unable to be accused) — 23 if indeed you continue (literally, remain) in the faith . . .
Beloved, you must remain a believer in the real Jesus Christ, not the Jesus Christ that many false teachers are proclaiming in today’s church! Otherwise, you are in danger of removing yourself from your saved position!
The believers at Colossae were formerly estranged from God and hateful toward Him. They chose to do evil, just as you and I did, before we were reconciled to God through Christ.
Beloved, this was your state, before you believed into Jesus, regardless of natural good deeds you had done. All humans are born alienated (estranged, separated) and actively enemies of God in mind, by the evil works they do. Even if you were perfect in all of the outward good works you do, you were still born with a sin nature in you, as a child of Adam.
Paul quotes from Psalm 14:2-3 and Psalm 53:1-3, in his letter to the church at Rome —
Romans 3:10, 12 . . . as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; 12 all have turned aside, together they have become useless (corrupt); there is none who does good, not even one.”
Yet! Oh, the mercies of our God! Despite your complete lack of righteousness and inability to do good in God’s eyes, you were reconciled to God. How? By Jesus Christ’s death on a cross.
You were reconciled when you first believed into Jesus Christ. Your reconciliation to God through the cross of Jesus Christ made it possible for Jesus Christ to present you before Himself pure and spotless and unable to be accused, when you stand before Him in the day of judgment.
But I tell you the truth, when I first believed, I know that in no way was I pure and spotless and unable to be accused! I confessed Jesus Christ as my Lord at the age of 42, but I continued to sin against God the Father and God the Son — even through my own belief system. Though I was hearing sermons about the real Jesus Christ, I still believed much false teaching, including new age teaching. So, I was in the same perilous position as the believers at Colossae.
But then, at the age of 45, I obeyed His commands to stay in the city until I was clothed with power from on high, and wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit (see Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5).
The Father was faithful to keep His promise! I was filled with the Spirit and my sin nature was crucified. Sin is no longer in me, so I no longer sin against the Lord. He made me pure and spotless and unable to be accused by Him in the day of judgment.
What is more, the Father and the Son and the Spirit now fully and permanently indwell me (John 14:23). And the Holy Spirit continually teaches me all the truth (John 16:13). So, when I hear false teaching — anything contrary to the Word of God and the true gospel of Jesus Christ — I immediately reject it.
Do you see that there is a condition for your salvation, beloved? There is an “if.” You will be presented pure and spotless and unable to be accused by Jesus Christ in the day of judgment if you continue (remain) in the faith, But you cannot remain saved when you continue to sin. And you cannot remain saved if you follow the false teaching that abounds in today’s church. You remove yourself from your salvation by your sin and by the false teaching you follow.
But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high! Wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit! When you do, Jesus Christ will make you pure and spotless and unable to be accused when you stand before Him in the day of judgment.
Then you will be able to determine whether what you hear from teachers is true or false. And then you will remain in the faith, steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (1Corinthians 15:58).
Beloved, you cannot make yourself holy and spotless and unable to be accused by Him in the day of judgment! He is the One who works it, so all praise and honor and glory goes to Him!
Verse 23b —
Again, you will be presented to Him pure and spotless and unable to be accused in the day of judgment if indeed you remain in the faith, firmly established (standing) in it, and steadfastly holding onto it, not moved away from (literally, removed from) the hope (faith) of the gospel you have heard. It is the gospel which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, by Paul and others, both then and now. And it is the gospel of which Paul was made a minister.
If you continue to sin, you will not be presented to Him pure and spotless and unable to be accused by Him, in the day of judgment. No one who sins will enter the kingdom of God. Jesus Christ says this —
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE (DO) LAWLESSNESS (SIN).’”
If you follow false teachers who do not teach the real Jesus Christ, you will not be presented by Jesus Christ to Himself pure and spotless and unable to be accused by Him, in the day of judgment. Why? You have removed yourself from His salvation.
So, the believers at Colossae were in a perilous position, in danger of removing themselves from their saved position and once again becoming estranged from God. They were following false teachers, and believing a false gospel. By doing so, they sinned against the Lord.
The believers at Colossae had no spiritual discernment, but were infants in Christ who had decided to believe in another Jesus, just as with the believers at Corinth. The cure for their position would have been for them to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That is why Paul prayed for them to be filled, in Colossians 1:9-11. And that is why I pray for today’s church to be filled!
So, who are you listening to, beloved? When you stand before Jesus Christ in the day of judgment, will you be found by Him to be pure and spotless and unable to be accused? You will exclaim, “Yes!” if you are filled with the Holy Spirit.
If you say, “No,” then heed His words today and ask Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit! Then you, too, will be steadfast and immovable, and always abounding in His work! Then you will no longer be in danger of removing yourself from your saved position. It is very good news for you, beloved! So, repent, believe and obey!
Lord Jesus, I pray believers would hear and heed these truths. Let it be so, I pray. Amen.