Saturday, February 17, 2007


IN CHRIST Col 2:11-15

All blessings are in Christ
No blessings are found outside of Christ (Col 2:9,10)
The key is our identification with Christ: that is, seeing ourselves as we are in him
Through baptism we identify with Christ
COL 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
COL 2:13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
1. In Him We Experience Spiritual Transformation
A New Position of Forgiveness
In the ancient city of Venice there was a bridge called "The Bridge of Sighs." At one end of the bridge there was a courtroom; at the other end there was a dungeon. Above the door to the dungeon were the words, "Abandon hope all ye that enter herein." Try to picture a man who has been sentenced to spend his life in that dungeon. As he walks across the bridge he takes a last long look at the sun and bids a last farewell to his loved ones. He is going to spend the rest of his life without hope and without light. But while he is crossing the bridge, a court official stops him and presses a paper into his hand. When he looks at the paper he finds that it is a pardon. His eyes are soon dimmed by tears. He is free now; his sorrow has been turned to joy. He goes home to live a new life.
A New Condition of Freedom
There are two ordinances, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament, are pictures of salvation from us (Colossians 2:11-12)?
The one ordinance from the Old Testament is of circumcision. The one ordinance from the New Testament is baptism. Neither of these ceremonies had the power to cleanse someone from sin; they only dealt with the outward person. There were those who taught circumcision was necessary for salvation (Acts 15:1). Still today there are those who add baptism or some other work to faith in Christ for salvation. Paul said we are complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10). Salvation is a matter of the heart. Circumcision was a picture of the inner circumcision of the heart (Romans 2:29) that the Holy Spirit performed.
Baptism is a picture of our death and burial with Christ, and the fact that we have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

We have experienced the circumcision of Christ (2:11)
In OT days, circumcision was the cutting of the foreskin. It was a sign of the covenant (Gen 17:9ff).
The new circumcision is different. It applies to women as well as men.
It is not done by hands. It is, rather, the cutting away of the sinful nature (sarx).
All this is ‘in him’.
Victory over temptation and sin is ours.
2. In Him We Experience Personal Union
Buried and raised in baptism
In New Testament days, it was normal practice for new Christians to be baptised in water.
See Acts 2:38,39 Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’
Mode of baptismThe primary meaning of the word baptidzo is ‘immerse’At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. Mark 1:9,10
Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away Acts 8:38,39
From the earliest times, immersion was the accepted mode of baptism Up to the fifth century there are records of immersion-- ‘An old comedian of Curubis was cured at baptism not only of paralysis, but also of hernia, and, being delivered from both afflictions, came up out of the font of regeneration as if he had had nothing wrong with his body…’ Augustine, City of God, XXII, 8)
Baptism is an expression of our identification with Christ
We are ‘buried with him’ in baptism (Col 2:12) Verb = bury together as two bodies in the same grave
It is if when Jesus was buried, we were buried with him It means the end of the old life
12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God...

3. In Him We Experience Supernatural Resurrection
Baptism is an expression of our identification with Christ
We are raised with him in baptism (Col 2:12) Verb = raise together
It is as if when Jesus was raised we were raised with him
Coming out of the water depicts the beginning of a new life
12 having been… raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

4. In Him We Experience Legal Satisfaction
In the ancient world the Greek term here translated as "written code" (Col. 2:14), referred to a handwritten certificate of indebtedness that obligated the signer. This note stood between him and the person he owed until it was paid. This debt would often become a heavy burden which the debtor was unable to pay. Paul says here that Christ "took it away" and nailed it to the cross. My sins oh the bliss of this glorious thought, My sins not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more praise the Lord praise the Lord Oh My soul!
He Has Put Away our Debt
He Has Paid Our Debt

5. In Him We Experience Total Liberation
And so verse 15 - we move from the baptismal language, through the financial language, to the triumphal language: `And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.' Publicly, openly, finally, conclusively, supremely, Jesus Christ has defeated every power and authority, such that no power or authority anywhere in all Creation can possibly hold us to account. And it's the language of triumph, isn't it? It's the language of the profession of triumph. I wonder if you remember Gladiator. It's a wonderful film; it's a film that Hollywood does best: no plot - no, a plot, but it's really straightforward, isn't it? And very basic: the goodie is the goodie, the baddie is the baddie. From the first shot you know what's going to happen and you can go out and make yourself a pot of tea and come back - there's no problem because it's still going nicely according to plan. You can nod off for a few minutes because you had a late night the night before, and so long as you wake up ten minutes before the end you are right on track: with Russell Crowe, playing the hero, finally confronting the wicked Commodus. Crowe has fought the lions and the bears and he's taken on the other gladiators and wrestled the bull single-handedly to its death. He has trampled on the Roman chariots, and now finally he confronts the wicked enemy. And of course, he wins; and he stands triumphant in the arena, victorious.
And that is the picture of this verse 15. Actually it's of the Roman triumphal procession - a Vespasian returning from his conquering victories, with all the enemy just trailing along, bedraggled, in his train. And Paul is saying, not only has Jesus Christ brought you alive, not only has He paid the price, but He has triumphed publicly over every possible enemy that you might have. All you need is Jesus. If you are joined to Him you have been brought alive by Him. If you're joined to Him no debt stands against your name. If you're joined to Him He is your great hero: no enemy can stand against you.
He has Expelled the forces of evil
He has Exposed the forces of evil
He has Embarrassed the forces of evil
Baptism is an expression of our victory
Not just symbolism Not just automatic
By faith, baptism is a powerful, life-changing experience. ‘It is by faith in the working (energema) of God’ Colossians 2:12 The same power that raised Jesus from the dead! God’s power
Calvin’s three essentials--
God’s power When we believe in the Word proclaimed in the power of the Spirit, baptism is a powerful tool in God’s hands.
Mark 16:15 Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
1/Through baptism we declare our position in Christ
Too many Christians don’t know where they stand. Many live by superstition not faith!
‘Pleading the blood every day’ — victory by memory, not faith! ‘Binding demons’ before we go anywhere — ‘magic’, not faith! We need to believe in the saving, delivering, keeping power of Jesus Christ!
My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…On Christ the solid rock I stand All other ground is sinking sand Edward Mote
2/Through baptism we declare we are totally forgiven (13,14)
‘He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.’ (Col 2:13,14)
All condemnation and accusation has been done away with! Romans 8:1
All our sins, past, present and future, have been absolutely and everlastingly dealt with through the cross of Jesus What a wonderful redemption Never can a mortal knowHow my sins though red like crimson Can be whiter than the snow! Thoro Harris
3/Through baptism we declare Christ’s absolute victory over demonic powers
In a Roman Triumph, the conquered foes were stripped of all their wealth and weapons and put to open public shame
This is what Jesus did to Satan and his hordes
In the name of Jesus, In the name of Jesus. We have the victory; In the name of Jesus, In the name of Jesus, Demons will have to flee!When we stand on the name of Jesus, Tell me who can stand before? In the mighty name of Jesus,We have the victory. Anon
It is time to believe what God says about us in his Word!
If you have been baptised, will you believe in what your baptism declared?
Remember, the main teaching about baptism in the New Testament is to people who were already baptised (Romans 6:3,4; Col 2:11,12)
Consolidate your faith
If you wish to be baptised, will you believe in the transforming power of God?
Through baptism, you can consolidate your faith in Christ
Respond to the challenge
If you have not been baptised, why not decide to do so today?
And then trust God to make your baptism a life-changing, revolutionising, powerful experience!
You can rise up in newness of life
The power of baptism
When Philip baptised an Ethiopian Eunuch, ‘he went on his way rejoicing’ (Acts 8:39)
Story of the Anabaptists and Martin Sattler
An Anabaptist hymn
The sinner receives a harsh judgement To bring him to repentanceIf he does not refrain from sin God warns him with threats.His Word shows clearly That people must repent,Believe his Word and be baptised And follow his teachings…
The suffering is great and hard Which is happening to us;Help us to thank you for it And see it as joy. George Blaurock, former priest, burned at the stake in 1529.

An Anabaptist hymn
Eternal Father in heaven, I call to you from deep within.Do not let me turn from you; Hold me in your eternal truthUntil I reach my end You Lord God are my protection;
We lift ourselves up to you; So it is but a small painIf our lives are taken from us. You have prepared for us in eternitySo if here we suffer insults and blows it will be for nothing
Body, life, soul and limbs We have received from you;these we offer up to you To praise and glorify your name.It is nothing but dust and ashes We commend to you our spirit, O God,Take it into your hands. Amen.
Written by Michael Sattler
Sattler was born in Stauffen, Germany about 1490. Little is known about his early life or even his education. He entered the Benedictine Monestary of St. Peter's near Freiberg where he probably became its prior. In the 1520's he left the monastery probably due to theological differences and disgust over the unspiritual lives of the monks and priests. In May of 1525, a group of peasants from the Black Forest marched upon St. Peter's monastery to protest the high taxes levied upon them by the abbot. Sattler may have left the monastery as a result of this attack. Shortly after leaving the monastery Sattler married Margaretha, a former Beguine. Because of the program to eliminate heresy from the region by Ferdinand I of Austria, Sattler and his wife, who would join him in martyrdom, fled to Zurich in 1525 where he became an Anabaptist. He was present at the Third Disputation in Zurich on November 6,1525 and was expelled on the 18th.He eventually went to Strasbourg and stayed with Wolfgang Capito, a German humanist who became a leading reformer. During his stay with Capito, Sattler discussed theology with his host and Martin Bucer. They disagreed on several points including infant baptism. Sattler's experience with the reformers was different from that of the Swiss Anabaptists in that the disagreement over infant baptism did not cause animosity between Sattler and his friends. Sattler referred to them as his "beloved brothers in God" in a letter written after he left Stasbourg. After Sattler was executed, Capito and Bucer described him as a "dear friend of God."In February of 1527 a group of Anabaptists met in Schleitheim, north of Zurich near the German border. The result of their meeting was the drafting of the Schleitheim Articles, of which Michael Sattler was the principal author. In the month following the drafting of the Schleitheim Confession, Sattler and his wife were arrested, tried, and convicted of heresy. As a result of his conviction, on May 20, 1527, Sattler was taken to the town marketplace in Rottenburg and tortured. A piece was cut from his tongue, although not enough to keep him from speaking, and glowing tongs ripped pieces from his flesh. At the marketplace he prayed for his persecutors. He was then taken outside the city and tied to a ladder and a sack of gunpowder was tied around his neck. He prayed, "Almighty, eternal God, thou art the way and the truth; because I have not been shown to be in error, I will with thy help on this day testify to the truth and seel it with my blood." He was then pushed into a large fire. As the ropes around his hands were burned away, Sattler gave a signal to his group to show them he was confident about his fate and prayed, "Father, I commend my spirit into thy hands." Two days after his execution, Margaretha Sattler was executed by drowning, often called "the third baptism" by authorities

Baptism is the first expression of identification with Christ. When we are baptised we ‘put on Christ’ (Galatians 3:27). Let Christ be our uniform now and forever!
We have been fulfilled in Christ (9,10)
Pleroma (fullness) was the Gnostic name for the pantheon of all divine beings
All fullness is in Christ.
So what does this tell us about Christ?
We have come to fullness in Him. We are complete, made whole, fully satisfied.
We are not ‘God-chasers’, like heathen idolaters. He has found us and we are complete in him.

Now none but Christ can satisfy,No other name for me!There’s life and health and lasting joyLord Jesus, found in Thee.

Once it was the blessing; now it is the Lord. Once it was the feeling; now it is His Word. Once His gifts I wanted; now the Giver own. Once I sought for healing, now Himself alone. Once 'twas painful trying; now 'tis perfect trust. Once a half salvation; now the uttermost. Once 'twas ceaseless holding; now He holds me fast. Once 'twas constant drifting; now my anchor's cast. Once 'twas busy planning; now 'tis trustful prayer. Once 'twas anxious caring; now He has the care. Once 'twas what I wanted, now what Jesus says. Once 'twas constant asking; now 'tis ceaseless praise. Once I tried to use Him; now He uses me. Once it was my working; His it hense shall be. Once the power I wanted, now the Mighty One. Once for self I labored, now for Him alone. Once I hoped for Jesus; now I know He's mine. Once my lamps were dying; now they brightly shine. Once for death I waited; now His coming hail. And my hopes are anchored safe within the veil. --A.B. Simpson

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