Nailed to His cross

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Nailed Cross

Sunday 01/14/23

Title: Nailed to His cross

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Nailed to His cross

Colossians 1:1-29,

Last week we began the letter of Paul to the saints in Colossea. We ended in chapter 2 verse 12 which says,

“(12)  buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, Who raised Him from the dead.”

I made a point of this by pressing again upon your hearts the ongoing need for faith subsequent to salvation.

That faith does not end at the cross where we first meet and surrender to God the Father through Jesus. Though not necessarily stated in this way – or even stated at all really, this is in reality Christianity as it is lived by a great number of people. And I’ve pressed this truth upon you several times in the past year or so, but it occurred to me the other say as I was listening to last week’s message that I’ve never pressed this point with much scripture.

So before we continue I thought it wise to establish and drive home a point already made, before establishing any new points.

A phrase I actually used last week which I knew was in scripture I had a difficult time finding, until I switched to the Amplified version and there is was nearly word for words as I had stated it.

It is found in Romans 1:17 and says,

“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed in a way that awakens more faith]. As it is written and forever remains written, “THE JUST and UPRIGHT SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

Of course this was just after Paul had stated that he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ BECAUSE it is the POWER of God unto salvation to all who believe.

But the next verse clarifies that this faith does not end at the point of salvation, but only begins a lifelong journey of ongoing trust in God to produce Christ’s image within you. Or said another way, to work out your salvation with respect and quaking. Or said another way still – to receive the salvation of your soul at the end of your faith journey.

It is said many ways throughout the New Testament.

This is not to say that lapses in trust have eternal consequences, but it does greatly diminish our momentum as wastes much time battling condemnation and shame unnecessarily.

I like what Charles Spurgeon once said, 

Noah fell down many times in the ark, but he never once fell out of the ark.” 

This is true of all who truly have placed their faith in Christ, but there is a need for a continuance in faith.

Jesus is said to be boththe author and developer of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). The faith that He authors, He matures and perfects to the end for those whose eyes are on Him.

So in our passage in Romans 1:17. Paul talks about the good news reveals  “the righteousness of God from faith to faith” (verse 17). 

There are several ways to understand this but I am certain beyond doubt that a primary way and one which is in keeping with the context of what Paul was addressing in Romans 1 is that what started in faith, must continue in faith so that it might end in faith.

Remember that ultimately it was our trust in God which satan was and still is interested in disrupting and so far as we can tell from scripture, satan’s fall was regarding a matter of trust.

When reading up on this I found an article entitled From Faith to Faith – Romans 1:17 from OnePassion Ministries on February 2017 by a Steven J. Lawson.

He said something that you’ve heard me say in slightly different words many times…

“This truth is important, because faith is not merely repeating a scripted prayer, walking an aisle, raising a hand, and joining the choir, and then assuming that a person is automatically in the kingdom of God. If they fail to move forward and live by faith, that is not the mark of true, saving faith.”

He goes on to make this point I am pressing by saying (and this is a partial quote)…

“As we can see, this major theme of faith runs throughout this entire opening prologue. The importance of faith is clear. 

We cannot be saved apart from faith. 

We cannot be sanctified apart from faith. 

We cannot be what God desires you to be without faith. 

We cannot experience the abundant life that Christ has come to give you apart from faith. 

Faith is the fountain from which your daily life flows. We live “from faith to faith.”

So all I am saying is that faith is ongoing. We do not just sit back on our Christian rears and do nothing in pursuit of God or in response to His pursuit of us. We press on in faith to the salvation of our souls. We actively place our trust in God regarding the formation of Christ Jesus within. We make it a part of daily prayer to the Father. Seeking Him in both request and trust that He form Christ within us. We hunger for this and require this of Him and such prayers of faith WILL be answered we know for such is God’s will for all who are in Christ.

So now, let’s pick back up in verse 10 of chapter 2 and keep reading.

Colossians 2…

“(11)  In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,  

(12)  buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, Who raised Jesus from the dead.”

As I told you last week, the words “raised together” both here and throughout the NT, points to a condition or work affected by union with Christ in His resurrection, taking place in and proceeding from it. 

Remember that the scriptures are very clear about what Jesus did for us and when.

Romans 5 tells us that Jesus was offered up on the cross for our offenses but He was raised from the dead for our justification.

However, the means of our partaking of this is by joining Him. Meaning when we die with Christ, sin loses its grip on us as we learn in Romans 6. We have died to sin in Christ. But this condition is NOT enough. God did not send Jesus to die only to produce a bride who is only dead to sin. He wants a bride who is alive to righteousness! So we don’t just die with Him, we rise with Him.

Baptism is the sign chosen by God of the effectiveness of that death and resurrection work. (Romans 6:4). But all of it is accomplished by faith, both initial faith and ongoing trust!

Going on to verse 13…

“(13)  And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,  (14)  having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. “(15)  Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”

Wow… that is powerful!

I found myself nearly weeping and laughing at the same time the other night, rereading these words as if for the first time.

Paul points to our resurrection with Him – our being made alive TOGETHER with Him!

Everything is together! Once we come to the Father through Jesus – we do nothing alone ever again!

If Jesus died – I die… we die.

If Jesus rose – I rise… we rise.

Jesus did these things alone, but we do it together with Him!

But what does Paul mean by the statement,

“…having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

What handwriting of requirements is Paul referring to? 

Now we have to be careful because these requirements are said here to have been taken out of the way and nailed to His cross.

Perhaps before I have you offer a guess as to what these handwriting of requirements were which were contrary to us are – I need to define what it means to move them out of the way and be nailed to His cross.

The New English translation has this verse saying,

“He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.” – Col. 2:14 

Blotting out the hand-writing is possibly an allusion to the custom of discharging the writing from parchment by the application of a fluid which would dissolve the blackening principle of the ink. 

Nailing it to his cross – There may be another reference here to some ancient mode of annulling legal obligations, by nailing them to a post; Antiquated laws are said to have been thus abrogated. This was evidently practiced in Asia. Also, some time ago and in a similar manner, banks used to use a sharp instrument to puncture a hole through a check as a sign that it has been paid. Such seems to have the same meaning here. 

Jesus’ very last word on the cross was teleo which means,

To make an end or to accomplish, to complete something. It does not merely mean to put an end to something, but to bring it to perfection or to its intended goal, to carry it through.

So knowing this, what do you think the handwriting requirements were?

It cannot be the law itself, because the entire New Testament is predicated upon the law. Now our RIGHTEOUSNESS is not predicated on the law, but upon faith in Christ. And we are no longer OF the law nor UNDER the law, but the law IS fulfilled IN and THROUGH us who are not led by the flesh but by the SpiritRomans 8.

  • John tells us what when a Christian sins, he is living as if there were no law.
  • The antichrist is called the spirit of lawlessness.
  • James tells us not to judge our brother, because to do that is to judge the law and if we judge the law, we cannot at the same time be doers of the law.
  • Paul tells us that we do not make the law void by faith, but rather we establish the law by faith (Romans 3:31).

So the law itself, being holy, just and good did not need to be moved out of the way. We are not free to lie, steal, kill, bear false witness or anything else.

No, this is referring to the external rites of the law, which Paul directly mentions in verse 16.

“(16) THEREFORE let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,  (17)  which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”  

All of these things Paul lists are things which were types and shadows.

NOT A SINGLE COMMAND from the 10 commandments were a type and shadow. These external rituals were!

If you remember, many of the feasts were called “convocations“, which literally means dress rehearsals. They were a symbol pointing to Christ, so that once Christ came the symbol was no longer needed!

This is yet another reason why we know that this word “sabbaths” which is in the plural, is not referring to the 7th day which God declared holy from the creation week. That day IS holy because God declared it as such. The wording in the Hebrew in Genesis 2 regarding this is quite specific.

God made the 7th day uncommon or unlike the other 6 days BECAUSE on it He ceased from all His labor. The word Sabbath means “a ceasing”. So that is why when God gave the command in the Ten Commandments to observe the 7th day as a day “of ceasing”- He said to “KEEP it holy”. Meaning “I declared it as Holy, therefore you keep it that way by honoring My ceasing, by ceasing from all your labor on the same day.”

Now we just went through a LOT about this a few months back, but this is just another reason why we know the sabbathsPaul is referring to here is NOT THE Sabbath of the 10 commandments but any of the MANY days of ceasing which the Jews were obligated to observe as part of their holy days and Feastdays.

In fact, teaching that we are free from observing the sabbath is one way the modern church IS being cheated of their reward by false expressions of humility.

Many Christians claim that now that we are in Christ every day is holy. This of course reveals a lack of understanding what holiness is. Holy means – other than, or uncommon. The 7th day was uncommon, in that it was treated differently than all the other days. THAT is what makes it uncommon. If all days are treated the same, then that makes all days common and no days uncommon. It is patently impossible to have all days be uncommon if they are all the same!

If you remember in our study on this, we saw how the modern trend to no longer honor the Sabbath as the scriptures instruct has played a MAJOR role in the advancement and proliferation of even in the world.

Every culture that we examined where the church stopped treating the Sabbath according to scripture, experienced a major decline in general morality even among the lost in one or two generations.

Think about it here in the states. In MY lifetime, beaches were closed on the Sabbath, stores were closed, the county itself was dry on Sundays and in general… with very few exceptions, there was nowhere to go and nothing to do on a Sunday (which of course is not the 7th day, but that is a separate issue). Once the door was cracked open for businesses to stay open on Sundays – the flood gate flung open wide.

Within one generation nearly all stores were open. People were beginning to work 7 days a week. Christians felt pressure to not even assemble on Sundays due to work concerns. Family relations began to come more and more unraveled. 

Now, it is more than just another day. If you are off of work Sundays have become a day to do the complete opposite of the Sabbath. People now set aside Sundays as a day to pursue their own pleasures and society is beginning to pay the offal costs of its neglect.

In keeping with this Paul says,

“(18)  Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,  (19)  and not holding fast to the Head, from Whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.”

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!