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Monday, June 27, 2011

A Study in Colossians (Part 2)


…A Study in Colossians…
…Part Two…

…Preface…

            It’s unusual that one places a preface in the middle of an epistle, but before we begin our study on the second chapter of Colossians, the Holy Spirit would like me to acknowledge some things.  In Part One, I made some references to Dr. J. Vernon McGee.  If you don’t know who he was, I encourage you to listen to his radio broadcasts on the “Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee” program. For now, it is sufficient to say that Dr. McGee was a profound influence on my life as the vessel God used to keep His word near me in the years that I wandered in the wilderness.  As you read this epistle, some of this influence will invariably sneak in. Solomon said:
Ecclesiastes 1:4-10
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. 5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.  6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. 7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.  8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. [1]

“…and there is no new thing under the sun…”  My beloved, he was right.  I’m just an ol’ country boy, the son of a Kansas pig farmer.  Teaching from the Word of God wasn’t something I’d ever thought I’d do, yet here I am, doing just that.  Now, I’d like nothing more than to be sittin’ out in the middle of a Kansas wheat field on a hot August night, watching the stars and talkin’ to God.  I’d be real happy to be doing just that, and nothing more, but God wouldn’t be very pleased, because this I truly believe is my call. this is what He wants me to do.  You see, and I’m sure a lot of you know this already, that God has a plan and a purpose for everyone of us He calls His own.  If we don’t obey God and do what we are to do, then that job won’t get done, at least not by us, in the manner that God had originally planned.  For sure, God will do some re-arrangin’ and put somebody else to doing the work, but what was missed by our disobedience?  We might not know until heaven, and by then, it might be too late.  Did our disobedience get repented of, or will we be carrying a debt of disobedience (sin) to God’s throne?  Lord, I don’t want that; Father, allow me the opportunity here and now to ask for Your mercy and Lord, I repent of my sin of disobedience.  You see, it isn’t all the sins we carry with us that condemn us, it is only one…  the same sin that got Adam and Eve put out of Eden wasn’t the fruit of the tree, it was their disobedience of God’s word.  One sin that led to cover-ups (the fig leaves, remember?), lies and excuses.  It doesn’t matter to God how many sins we pile up; it is that ONE sin that starts all the rest: disobedience, and with God, one sin is all it takes.  My disobedience was my not giving in this epistle credit where credit is due.  I try very hard to footnote every source I use, for the obvious reason that it is the right thing to do.  In some of my commentary, though, some of Dr. McGee’s words and thoughts slip in, whether by memory or by something of his that I’ve read, thought about, and restated in my own words. I’m sorry to say I don’t always acknowledge this.  The idea was not to to steal another man’s thoughts and claim them for my own, but to use all the resources God has provided me with to teach.  The whole back-bone of teaching is learning first yourself.  A foundation is laid, either by reading, listening, surfing the ‘net or whatever it takes to clarify what God wants me to understand so that I can share it with you, my beloved.  Most of what you read here is based upon what the Spirit puts into my heart, but given the chance, I see no wrong in building upon another’s foundations.  There is Scriptural precedence for this:

1 Corinthians 3:5-11 (1901 ASV)

What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? Ministers through whom ye believed; and each as the Lord gave to him. 6I planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: but each shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9For we are God’s fellow-workers: ye are God’s husbandry, God’s building. 10According to the grace of God which was given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder I laid a foundation; and another buildeth thereon. But let each man take heed how he buildeth thereon. 11‍For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [2]

Verily, we build upon the foundations laid by God, upon the cornerstone that is Christ Jesus.  Solomon said there is no new thing under the sun, yet we build anyway.  From God the Father to Moses, from the Prophets to Christ, from Christ to the Apostles and so on throughout the history of God’s church we build upon foundations laid by others.  Paul cautions us to build only upon Christ Jesus, and this is what I do my best to do. So I study and quote or expound upon the things of God that I’ve learned from His Word, from learned men touched by God’s grace of the 19th century, to an old country preacher by the name of J. Vernon McGee.  By the grace and mercy of God, and by the Holy Spirit, I then do my humble best to pass it on to you, for (2 Timothy 3:16) “…teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.”[3] I’m not really the teacher, just a messenger, for I can impart nothing unless it be “…God that giveth the increase…”  So here, to you beloved of Christ, I acknowledge that I build on what has gone before, and hopefully, if the poor words I pen are from the Lord, let that be acknowledged by their agreement by His Word and then prayerfully, someone can build upon them.  To this end I say, Dr. McGee, as you watch with our Savior from heaven, I want to say thank you for your obedience to God’s word, and for the impact your obedience had in my life.  If your words find their way into that which I write, may we both be blessed if those words ring true in the heavens.

Father, we thank you for Your Word, and for the men and women over the ages that have held true to it, so that we who have followed after may learn of You more, and begin to love you completely, with all of our heart, mind, strength, and soul…

I’d like to take this time to dedicate this to my Lord and Savior Christ Jesus and to thank all who read this epistle, and, and to thank the following loved ones also, for without them, their prayers and support, I would not be here today:  Thank you Susana, my sweet lovely bride of 25 years, and thank you William and Carol: you showed me Jesus.

DER






…Chapter Two…

Now we return to Paul’s epistle to the Colossians.  Remember what we discussed in Part One, about how Paul was writing to the Colossians to help them stay the course in the midst of all the paganism and heresies that abounded in Colosse.  All around the city temples of the Greek and Roman gods stood, in contrast to the struggling ekklesia of Christianity.  Even among believers was there contentions, for the early Gnostics held that this “new way” of Christianity was insufficient, that their way of the “mystery” with visions that could only reveal the truth.  They held that the faith of the ekklesia was an immature faith, that the beliefs of the Essenes were more robust and that Christ was unable to fulfill the role of propitiation for sin.  Into this also arose the philosophies of Philo and the Stoics[4], and the rituals of the Jews and of pagans etc.  No
wonder the Colossians were confused!  They were even assaulted with angel worship! 

How was Paul to combat these two powerful enemies of the truth, philosophy and ritual?  Christianity has always been threatened by these two extremes.  Philosophy on one hand creeps into the church, trying to capture the head; workshops on “self-esteem”, “prosperity”, “ministries to the ministry”…  Ritual on the other hand slinks in, bringing about legalism, religious spirits, pride, in some ways, a “bunker” mentality that keeps the congregation behind closed doors and not on the hi-ways and by-ways preaching to the lost.  Compare what assaulted the ekklesia in Paul’s day with what faces believers today, and you can readily see that Solomon WAS right: there is nothing new under the sun!  But there is always something right… 

…Jesus Christ…


Philosophy stokes the fires of man’s imaginations, putting him at the head of all things: fire though produces heat, and eventually if not controlled, reduces everything to smoke and ash.  Ritual grows tentacles that choke and chill the heart, producing ice.  Together, this hot and cold, this fire and ice cancel each other out and produces nothing but vapor.  Jesus Christ though, He is Living Water.  The fire of philosophy is extinguished in His river of Truth, and the stagnant ice-flow  of ritual gives way to the running water, reducing its form until it too is swept away.  Ice and fire cannot sustain life, only the Living Water can do that, and this is what Paul sets out to show, that it is only Christ and in Christ alone that Christianity can live.

Christ is Christianity and Christianity is Christ!

            The danger for the ekklesia then is the danger for the ekklesia now, five-fold:

1.                  Enticing words
2.                  Philosophy
3.                  Legality
4.                  Mysticism
5.                  Asceticism[5]

Here in Chapter Two, I encourage us all to take stock of where we are, and see if there isn’t any area in our own lives that we need Christ to work in. 

Chapter 2
Colossians 2:1 (KJV) 
1For I would that ye knew what great conflicta I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; [6]

conflict: G73  agon  ag-one' from G71;  properly, a place of assembly (as if led), i.e. (by implication) a contest (held there); figuratively, an effort or anxiety:--conflict, contention, fight, race.[7]

Paul begins here in with a prayer, that though it needs to be examined verse by verse, also has to be read in whole:

Colossians 2:1-3 (RSV)
1 For I want you to know how greatly I strive for you, and for those at La-odicea, and for all who have not seen my face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged as they are knit together in love, to have all the riches of assured understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, of Christ, 3 in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. [8]

When I say prayer, this might not look like one to you, but think for a moment about all of Paul’s epistles if you will.  I hope one day to be able to go through  them all, God wiling, but for now, just look over a few of them on your own.  In all of Paul’s writings you’ll see a common thread; he’ll be speaking along, laying out his great theological arguments, and all of a sudden, he’ll burst into a prayer or he’ll exclaim great praise for God!  Then as if nothing had happened, he’ll launch right back into his teaching.  Here is one of those examples.  Paul is telling the Colossians how much he agon for them (this word is also our word agony), how he strives and labors for them and then he just bursts out the hope he has, that they be comforted, encouraged, filled with the fullness of understanding of God and Jesus Christ!  Paul was a man who knew what it meant to be in constant prayer, even if it doesn’t seem like it.  Now of course, this is just an aside, but next time you read one of Paul’s great epistles, please take note of his spontaneous praise, of his constant prayers for those he write to.  My beloved, I hope that I one day can be that transparent in my love for Christ and the brethren… 

                Let’s look at the “why’s” of Paul’s labor:

Ø      “…that their hearts may be encouraged as…”
Ø      So that they may be ‘…knit together in love…” [Something that is lacking in so many churchs today…]
Ø      That they might “…have all the riches of assured understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery [Salvation], of Christ…”

The New King James Version reads verse 2 thusly:

Colossians 2:2
2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ [9]
Notice I’ve highlighted two sections of this verse.  In the NKJV, the translators added the word attaining.  In man’s attempts to clarify God’s Holy Word he does as the translators did here, adding a word that they hope gives a better understanding to the passage being read.  That is the reason so many versions of the Bible today are paraphrased, are "re-mixed" (as in the Message® bible; I didn’t capitalize the word “bible” for a reason; some translations of God’s word go too far in their headlong rush to make Scripture “relevant” to the world today.  God preserved His Word in the original languages for a reason- that what was contained within was already relevant and didn’t need further embellishment…[my opinion]).  This attempt to but the Word into simpler language has the noble intent of helping the reader better understand, but just because it seems right to do, is it really the right thing to change God’s words from what He originally penned?  Yes, if I wanted to take my own logic to it’s extreme edge, we would have no Bibles in anything but Greek and Hebrew, but thank God He had the better plan.  Translations are just that, a translation.  For us, they are the jumping off point for our journey into the wonderful riches of God’s word.  Proverbs said:
Proverbs 25:2
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. [10]
Are we not “kings and priest”?  We are to dig into God’s word, in the original, to search out His intent, and only a few translations are good for that.  If the original is changed to much, as in the case of the Message®, then one has no place to start his wonderful search from.  (You see how easy it is for me to go down rabbit trails?)  All kidding aside, there is a purpose for me mentioning this.  The “scholars” call it textural criticism, and it has been the source of many errors in many translations over the ages.  (Hence, as I mentioned in Part One, Westcott and Hort… See Appendix B  Article 1, “Who were they?”)  One example of this is found here, in Col. 2:2.  Let me give you a snap shot of an interlinear bible, from a program called the “Interlinear Scriptural Analyzer”:


 
Here is a description of the various line translations:

ISA basic  2.0  RC 6  Copyright © 2008 André de Mol. All rights reserved.

Interlinear
WHNA     ● Greek New Testament (Westcott-Hort text from 1881, combined with the NA26/27 variants) ● by Maurice A. Robinson, Ph.D.
WHNA_t  ● WHNA transliterated (only NA part) v1.0 ● Scripture4all Foundation
Lemma_t ● Lemma transliterated  (only NA part) v2.0 ● Copyright © 2007 Scripture4all Foundation
Strong    ● Strong numbers for WHNA (only NA part) v2.0 ● Copyright © 2007 Scripture4all Foundation
Parsing   ● Parsing for WHNA (only NA part) v2.0 ● Scripture4all Foundation
CGTS      ● Concordant Greek Text Sublinear for WHNA (only NA part) v1.4 ● Copyright © Concordant Publishing Concern 2007. Adapted  for WHNA : Scripture4all Foundation
CGES_id                ● Concordant Greek-English Sublinear -idiomatic- (only NA part) v2.1 ● Interlinear format Copyright © 2007 Scripture4all  Foundation


The “NA” mentioned above is the “Nestle-Aland” Greek New Testament, which although in some ways agrees with Westcott and Hort, in most ways agrees with the Majority Text in it’s renderings of the Greek, and of the Masorite Text for the Hebrew.  There are slight variations in the endings of the transliterated Greek, and these are from the sources that were used by the translators, whether it was the Alexandrian or Egyptian texts of the New Testament, or the Byzantine Text which agrees with the Textus Receptus (“The Received Text of what is called the Majority Text).  It is from the Alexandrian text that most of the “textural criticism” is raised from, as there is about 15% of it that doesn’t agree with the Majority Text.  These little variations are what has caused the great denominational shift away from the ekklesia, one body, one mind, to a “our way is the right way” attitude or simply put, “Did God really say that?”  How I answer all of this is by the one undeniable fact the God has preserved His word: over 5000 ancient documents support the Textus Receptus, and an additional 3000 agree with it 85-92% of the time.  ‘Nuff said.  I bring this to your attention, for it is important.  We will always find “difficult” passages in the Bible.  We will encounter doctrinal arguements from within the church and without.  If we don’t understand where the basis of these disagreements come from, how can we bring our brethren back into the fold of truth as God’s word has told us to do?

Jude 10-25 (NKJV)
10But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. 11Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
12These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; 13raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. 14Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15“to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
16These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. 17But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
20But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
24     Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25     To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Amen.[11]
James 5:19-20
19 My brethren, if any among you err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 let him know, that he who converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins. [12]

2 Peter 2:9-10

9 the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of trial [trial =error], and to keep the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished;
10 and specially those who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise lordship. Bold are they, self-willed; they do not fear speaking injuriously of dignities… [13]

2 Peter 3:15-18 (KJV)

15And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. [14]

1 John 4:4-6 (KJV)

4Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. [15]

Back to our verse:  The critics have said that some of the old manuscripts do not have the words “…both of the Father and…” making the verse to read “…to the knowledge of the mystery of God, of Christ…”  Does this omission change the meaning of the text and the knowledge of the mystery of God?  Let’s look at the verse both ways:

Colossians 2:2
2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
The King James Version

Colossians 2:2
2 that their hearts may be encouraged as they are knit together in love, to have all the riches of assured understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, of Christ,
The Revised Standard Version (Wescott and Hort translation)

What is one of the principle mysteries of the Bible?  Do not we as believers have to take on faith that Christ is of the Father and THE Father, all at the same time?  Does not this then speak to:
a)                              The Absolute Divinity of the Lord Jesus
b)                              His place in the Godhead
c)                              The mystery of Salvation of the Father through His Son (Himself).

 By omission or addition, unintentional, or planned with an agenda in mind, certain “scholars” throughout the ages have attempted to alter God’s word and substitute their own.  Others, in their “commentaries”, have believed that they understand the ancient languages better than the ones who spoke it! My friends, all it takes to truly understand what was taught is to read what the early church fathers taught (I’ll go more into this later…).  It is not my place to dwell on the “scholars” criticism of God’s word.  I have to admit I’m biased; sorry, but I am.  If God said it, so be it.  If He put it on paper through the hands of Paul, Peter or John, (Moses, Isaiah… you get the picture) so be it.  For an answer to the critics, to the difficult passages and so-called “apparent contradictions”, I can go only to Scripture, from the words of Christ Himself:

(John 14:6-7)
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am […declaring Himself to be God, the Father…] the way,  the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me,  ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. [16]
(John 14:9)
9 he that hath seen me hath seen the Father… [17]

To Know Christ is to know the Father.  I bring this up to you for there will always be those to whom you will try to witness to who’ll claim that God’s word has been distorted or changed by man’s additions or subtractions.  By studying the Scriptures in the original languages, one (the critic) would see that despite what they have to say, (and let’s face it, most of the critics you’ll ever meet will be those who haven’t even read the Bible, let alone the original autographs; if they have read God’s word, they then rely on others to tell them what it means instead of searching for themselves…), the King James is accurate.

Col 2:2  ιναG2443 CONJ  παρακληθωσινG3870 V-APS-3P  αιG3588 T-NPF  καρδιαιG2588 N-NPF  αυτωνG846 P-GPM  συμβιβασθεντωνG4822 V-APP-GPM  ενG1722 PREP  αγαπηG26 N-DSF  καιG2532 CONJ  ειςG1519 PREP  πανταG3956 A-ASM  πλουτονG4149 N-ASM  τηςG3588 T-GSF  πληροφοριαςG4136 N-GSF  τηςG3588 T-GSF  συνεσεωςG4907 N-GSF  ειςG1519 PREP  επιγνωσινG1922 N-ASF  τουG3588 T-GSN  μυστηριουG3466 N-GSN  τουG3588 T-GSM  θεουG2316 N-GSM  καιG2532 CONJ  πατροςG3962 N-GSM  καιG2532 CONJ  τουG3588 T-GSM  χριστουG5547 N-GSM  [18]
This is the Greek from the Textus Receptus (Latin for “The Received Text”; also known as the Majority Text).  The Strong’s numbers are included with each word, if you like, check them out; the only word I’m interested in is G3962, the definition of which is given below:

G3962 πατήρ patēr pat-ayr'
Apparently a primary word; a “father” (literally or figuratively, near or more remote): - father, parent. [19]

If God preserved it, it must be so…  Now about that modern translation, the New King James that added “attained”; what we have to do is what the translators did; research.

            And what is our best source of English words with Biblical meanings?  That’s right, Webster’s Dictionary of 1823!

Webster’s:

“ATTA'IN, v.t.

1. To gain; to compass; to achieve or accomplish, that is, to reach by efforts; without to following.

Is he wise who hopes to attain the end without the means?

This use of the verb is now established; but in strictness to is here implied; attain to the end. The real sense, as in the intransitive use of the verb is, to reach or come to the end or purpose in view. This word always implies an effort towards an object. Hence it is not synonymous with obtain and procure, which do not necessarily imply such effort. We procure or obtain a thing by purchase or loan, and we obtain by inheritance, but we do not attain it by such means. An inattention to this distinction has led good authors into great mistakes in the use of this word.

2. To reach or come to a place or object by progression or motion.

But ere such tidings shall his ears attain.
Canaan he now attains.

3. To reach in excellence or degree; to equal”[20]

(“…an effort towards an object…”  Sounds a lot like our Christian walk…) Again, by using as close a translation to the original as we can obtain, they got it right again. 1 Peter 3:15 (KJV) says: 

15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fearc [21]

What this doesn’t say is to engage in fruitless argument, but be ready, not to defend, but to give hope with the Truth of God’s word, casting down falsehood with the Word. We, as Paul says in 2 Tim. 2:15 are to:

“…Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth…[22]

Our job is to study God’s word, not argue with it, though, wrestle with it we will.  For the truth cuts deeply into our souls, and when iniquity is revealed, it is painful.  We want to wrestle, to deny what the Spirit of Truth tells us, but, in the end, all we can do is obey and repent.  We must be prepared for the critisim, for it will seek to convince us that what we hold fast to is not what God said- satan’s original lie.  Only Scripture is true- not man’s traditions and favorite seasons.  This is but one example of what has been described as “problem texts”, but by going back to Scripture, God’s words and His intent will always prevail.  So the end of this matter is to choose your translation carefully and trust the Holy Spirit to help you discern the right from the wrong.

Be ready: Paul tells us:
2 Timothy 4:2
2 …Preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching… [23]

Now, back to Colossians, verse 3:

(Col 2:3 YLT)
in whom are all the treasures of the wisdom and the knowledge hid,[24]

Christ. In Christ are “…all the treasures of the wisdom and the knowledge hid…”.  O ekkelisia!  If only we would learn this lesson.  All things through Him, by Him and for Him.  The in all things is where we should be as His body, yet we aren’t.  We talk of unifying the church, of accepting one another, yet we can barely stand each other at times, yet alone find unity.  And why are we looking in the first place?  What did Paul say in 1st Corinthians?
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (1901 ASV)

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. 13For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit. [25]

See what Paul says again:  “For as the body is one…”; and again “…were we all baptized into one body…” My beloved, why do we cry out “Unity, unity!  All we need is unity!”?  Why do we seek what we already have?  As the body of Christ, the Spirit has already united us.  What we are seeking is the unity of an organization, a church  what we need is to stop thinking that an organization can bring about anything, let alone unity.  An organization can never bring about this unity- only the Holy Spirit can, and He already has!  We were made to drink of one Spirit!  What is needed is accord! Unity we have, what is missing is the one accord- Christ and Christ alone.  We aren’t a body that is dismembered and scattered about.  When one Christian prays for another, when one believer goes to the gallows for his faith, when one member of the body testifies for the Lamb, the whole body experiences the release of God’s power.  I may be in America, another may be in Pakistan, still another may be in Kenya, but we are united!  We have unity!  We pray to one God, one Son, one Spirit… we are not separate, but whole.  What we fail to realize is, while we are striving to achieve unity, God just wants us in accord! One accord, that it is Jesus Christ, and Him alone!  In whom are ALL the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge hid!  What God wants is for us to realize we have unity- and for us to keep it.  We aren’t commanded to make unity, God wants us to keep unity.  One accord with the Spirit.  Agree with the Spirit that Christ is our all.  Become the ekkelesia, not the church; that is our trouble today. We want an organization, not a body.  Look again:  “…Christ, in whom are all the treasures of the wisdom and the knowledge hid…”  Some say that the “mystery of God” is the church, for it wasn’t revealed in the Old Testament.  I have to disagree. God wanted for Himself a people. He called them Isra’el.  They were His ekkelesia. The “church” isn’t the mystery, Salvation through Christ, through the blood, the true baptism, that is the mystery of God.  One principle of a mystery is that it is usually simple.  Isaiah revealed the mystery of God to us in Isaiah 9:6:
Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. [26]

It is upon Him, that all will rest.  My beloved, can you rest on Him today?  Can you give up the futile hunt for unity and accept that it is already yours?  Will you believe Him that he was made all wisdom for us and the answers for the sickness of this world, of sin, rests on His mighty shoulders?  All things.  All wisdom and knowledge.  O daughters of Zion rejoice!

Well, it’s taken us a while to get here to this point, I mean, page 13 and we’ve covered 3 verses.  Funny isn’t it?  God can say just what He wants to say in 3 or 4 verses and it takes us a book to figure it out…  My brother William, God bless him, is a lucky man.  His faith and beliefs all boil down to one thing:  Jesus Christ alone.  It really is that simple.  God gave me this inquiring mind though, and if you’re reading this and haven’t used it to line your bird cage yet, he must’a gave you one also.  There is a great purpose to be had in teaching- and that is to bring us all to where brother William is: Christ alone, may we all be that blessed…

            I said earlier that the ekkelesia of Paul’s day faced the same five-fold dangers we face today:

a)                  Enticing words
b)                  Philosophy
c)                  Legality
d)                  Mysticism
e)                  Asceticism[27]

Here we are back to Paul’s original premise for writing his epistle: to refute the heresies of the day, philosophy and ritual.  I’d like to quote Dr. McGee here, (and throw my two cents woth in) for I believe he said it quite well:

“…Philosophy and psychology have been substituted for the Bible, and this is the thing that is enticing to so many young preachers in our seminaries today.  I am amazed to find that some of these men with a Ph.D. degree from a seminary know so little about the Bible!  They know all about Bultmann and Kant and Plato, but they don’t seem to know very much about the Word of God.  That is the great problem of our day…”[28] Now for my two cents:  this isn’t the place for my testimony, but as God was dealing with me in my wilderness journey, I had a chance to be a participant in discipleship programs, that, had as a part of the programs, teachers with the “pop-psychology-with a little Christ” mixed in movement.  My brethren, there is nothing more destructive to the cause of Christ than His church looking and acting like part of the world.  Introducing this type of teaching into the church is like letting a chicken-killin’ dog into the hen-house; only disaster can occur from either case.  All psychology can do, all it is geared to do, is raise up the self, and this my friend is precisely what the devil wants to happen in the ekkelesia.  In a church gone mad with this doctrine, you have prosperity seminars; you have the sale of books and lattes, and the preachers sermons can be your for only $5.00 a CD or $8.00 for the DVD; you have “The Search for Significance “ taught instead of repentance.  You have “The Purpose Driven Life” classes taught in place of Bible study, and you have feel good, touchy, sugar sweet sermons designed to make everyone feel good, and not a single convicted soul in the house.  With this type of preaching and teaching, you have converts coming to the altar because it feels good, not because their hearts are beating a stacco rhythm in their chests because by the conviction of their sins and by being convinced of their need for a Savior.  The feel good crowd is more driven by emotion than obedience, more driven by the desire to acquire “blessings” than sacrifice. This is the danger today, just as it was in Paul’s. We are so focused on what God is “supposed” to do for us, because we can find a promise in the Bible and “name-it-and-claim-it”. The hunt is on in God’s word for what you can get, not what we are supposed to do.  The difference between the sheep and the goats will be in what they do, and what they don’t do.  Never mind that God has said “if” and “then” in His Word, over and over again, placing upon us the conditions of  discipleship, of how we are to build our house.  Sand is the way man thinks, rock is how Jesus thought.  The church today boasts of her “mega-churches”, her television ministries, her “Holy Land Experiences” and tours to the Holy Land with the rock-star pastor of your choice; the preachers decry how many young babies are dying in Africa while they build for themselves million dollar homes and wear custom suits worth more than you or I could make in a month.  I don’t begrudge anyone the blessings of God, yet what is His money better spent upon?  Now, before anyone can say anything, I’ll say something about myself, I include myself as one of those that have not been 100% faithful to God.  I’m not as responsible to the needs of God’s people as I should be.  Even as I write these words I feel the Spirit’s conviction for my faults.  Does that mean I should stop writing, and cure the beam in my eye first?  Part of teaching is to use yourself as an example.  By exposing my struggle, you can see your own, and know that you aren’t alone.  We all must face it: only Christ can right our wrongs and turn us around to walk the narrow hodos [Greek: hodos= way] again.  My brethren, I’m no better than anyone else, my heart rends at my shortcomings: thank God Jesus’ blood covers my sins, and His Spirit guides me, for if it wasn’t for His mercy, I couldn’t carry this load.  My beloved, rest in Him, see your faults in his light and let the darkness be shattered. O ekkelesia, join with me in repentance, and let us turn back to our Sweet Salvation once more, to be redeemed, daily, hourly, second by second if need be.  I need it; I admit it.  I humble myself O God before Your throne of grace and mercy… Church, will you join me?

…Enticing words…
Colossians 2:4 (DARBY)
4 And I say this to the end that no one may delude you by persuasive speech. [29]
The King James renders verse 4 as follows:

Colossians 2:4 (KJV)

4And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. [30]

“beguile”: παραλογιζηται  G3884  paralogizomai  par-al-og-id'-zom-ahee from G3844 and G3049;  to misreckon, i.e. delude:--beguile, deceive.[31]
 “enticing”: πιθανολογια G4086  pithanologia  pith-an-ol-og-ee'-ah from a compound of a derivative of G3982 and G3056; persuasive language:--enticing words.[32]

Beguile
BEGUI'LE, v.t. begi'le. [be and guile.] To delude; to deceive; to impose on by artifice or craft.
The serpent beguiled me and I did eat Gen 3.
1. To elude by craft.
When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage.
2. To elude any thing disagreeable by amusement, or other means; to pass pleasingly; to amuse; as, to beguile the tedious day with sleep.[33]

Entice
ENTI'CE, v.t. [L. titio, a firebrand.]
1. To incite or instigate, by exciting hope or desire; usually in a bad sense; as, to entice one to evil. Hence, to seduce; to lead astray; to induce to sin, by promises or persuasions.
My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. Prov 1.
2. To tempt; to incite; to urge or lead astray.
Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. James 1.
3. To incite; to allure; in a good sense.[34]

I believe that this warning given so long ago holds so true to us today. All around us are those who attempt to beguile us, to entice us not just only with words, but with lying signs and wonders.  Sound doctrine has given away to piffle words and platitudes; the masses are being duped by signs and wonders that have no doctrine behind them, no call for the repentance of sin and the glorification of Christ Jesus, just the glorification and advancement of a man and his agenda.  The world seeks to incite and inflame all the lusts it can, from the lust of pride and material wealth, to the lusts of the senses, the sexual licentiousness that knows no bounds. What is sin anymore, but a joke, not even snickered out in private anymore, but put on public display and proclaimed “GOOD!” by all.  That is the problem.  We WANT to feel good; we have been told by a society gone mad that competition is bad, that “self-esteem” is the only thing important.  Grades in schools are dumbed down so no student has to feel the urge to push themselves and to achieve is somehow an evil thing anymore.  Whatever we do should be done excellent as unto the Lord, yet even the work of our hands is looked down upon by a society that desires a position, not a job. Martyrdom is for “suicide-bombers”, not Christians, yet this is precisely what God calls out for us to do, daily.  We are to die.  My beloved, are you prepared?  Are you ready to die?  It matters not to most who call themselves “believers”.  They are so enticed by the world, so drawn to its glamour and allure that they don’t even look to the skies anymore, looking for the blessed hope of a returning Savior.  O they sing about it in the pews, but they don’t want it, they want it delayed, because they haven’t enjoyed that promotion yet, or taken that dream vacation, or spent that savings account.  Why, the new car smell hasn’t even worn off that $30,000 car yet, so how can they be excited about Christ’s return?  The world has captured the “church”, and the church doesn’t want it to let go.  Christ calls for us to die! He says “Pick up your cross and follow me!  He is not talking about following Him to the bank, He’s talking about following Him to Golgatha!  The cross is a place of execution, a place of death- a place where all ambition dies, where religion dies, where selfishness, “self-esteem” die. O how I long to take my place beside Him on that Place of the Skulls; yet even I hang onto this life, always some little remnant that I just don’t want Christ to crucify yet.  So I drag my cross instead of carrying it, sometimes it is so heavy I just don’t want to lift it anymore.  Yet, it at this point Christ comes back and just like Simon the Cyrenian, He picks it up for me and together we go on to that hill.  O shame at having to have my Savior carry my cross, yet His tender mercies prevail, and shoulder my shame and blame He does.  “…to die is gain…” Paul wrote.  Brethren do you believe this?  Can we save our life without losing it? Nay, we cannot.  Who has beguiled us into thinking we can?  Who has enticed us away from that place of death, away from life? Why does not my heart cry out “Come Lord Jesus Come!”? Why don’t I lay my life down?  Christian, take heed. The way, the hodos is only found in the cross of Christ.  If we don’t carry ours, we are not worthy to be His disciple.  If we don’t die, we have no hope.  My life is meaningless, all that matters is His life lived out through me:

Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. [35]

This is the only way, the only possible way that my life has any meaning, if it is Christ who liveth in me.  “…I must decrease so that He may increase…”  What John the Baptist said is even more true for us today, for on all sides we are told that martyrdom isn’t necessary anymore, yet:

Revelation 6:9-11
9 And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of them that had been slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 and they cried with a great voice, saying, How long, O Master, the holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11And there was given them to each one a white robe; and
it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little time, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, who should be killed even as they were, should have fulfilled their course. [36]

Will you stand for the Word of God and the testimony for which you hold?  We are coming into an age where holding onto the testimony of the truth of God will cost us.  We WILL be persecuted.  We will be labeled cults and heretics.  We will be asked to surrender our beliefs and live, or hold fast to the testimony of Jesus Christ and die.  Which life will you choose?  The life of this world, or He who liveth within you? This is the truth of what faces us, yet, even in the midst of darkness, we have power that comes in the form of assurance!

Romans 8:31-39 (KJV)

31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [37]

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Who?  Only ourselves, my beloved, only ourselves.  And this can only happen if we aren’t truly His, truly rooted and grounded upon HIM.  Not His promises, not His words, not His blessings: Him and Him alone.  O ground yourself at His nail-scarred feet!  O take hold of those scarred rough feet and wash them with your tears and cry onto him “Don’t ever let me go O my Lord!”  Die to Him my beloved, give up your life for His; be accounted with the sheep for the slaughter and don’t look back…

Colossians 2:5 (DARBY)

5 For if indeed in the flesh I am absent, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing and seeing your order, and the firmness of your faith in Christ. [38]

Here is the proof of what has just been said, that Paul rejoices at the firmness of the Colossians faith, at the fact that they were standing! 

Let’s take a look at the word order:
order: G5010 τάξις taxis  tax'-is from G5021; regular arrangement, i.e. (in time) fixed succession (of rank or character), official dignity:--order.[39]

Thayer Definition:
1) an arranging, arrangement
2) order
2a) a fixed succession observing a fixed time
3) due or right order, orderly condition
4) the post, rank, or position which one holds in civic or other affairs
4a) since this position generally depends on one’s talents, experience, resources
4a1) character, fashion, quality, style[40]

τάξις is derived from τάσσω  (tassō) which Thayer defines as:
G5021 τάσσω  tassō
1) to put in order, to station
1a) to place in a certain order, to arrange, to assign a place, to appoint
1a1) to assign (appoint) a thing to one
1b) to appoint, ordain, order
1b1) to appoint on one’s own responsibility or authority
1b2) to appoint mutually, i.e. agree upon[41]
The definitions highlighted are what I want to address.  To define any word from the original, the context of the writing must be examined and taken into consideration.  Now some theologians have defined “order” as a military term, bringing into mind the rank and file of soldiers, standing together shoulder to shoulder.  I read this as different, as denoting the Colossians character.  Indeed, this same conclusion was reached by Adam Clarke (1760-1832):

“…The whole verse shows that this Church was sound in doctrine, and strict in discipline. They had steadfast faith in Christ, and regular order or discipline among themselves…”[42]

The point is, order in the ekkelesia is based upon agreement, upon accord. What accord could have made Paul rejoice? Christ.  Jesus Christ alone. This accord was founded in their firmness of faith, their “steadfastness” (KJV), that unmoveable, unshakable faith in Christ.  Brethren, are you there, in this unshakable place, disciplining yourselves as to in obedience of God’s word? Do you study so as to hide away the words of life within your heart so no man may deter you with smooth words? Now, by study, I’m not talking about what I do, the searching out of the words penned by the Apostles. I’m simply referring to daily washing yourself in the water of the word, letting the wisdom of God cleanse you of the impurities that this sinful world assaults you with every day.  Friends, I’m not so naive to think that we can insulate ourselves completely from all the influences around us.  Christ in John 17 prayed to the Father :

John 17:15-17 (DARBY)
 15 I do not demand that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them out of evil. 16 They are not of the world, as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them by the truth: thy word is truth. [43]

We will be in this world, but Christ prayed that the Father “keep” us out of evil.  The word “keep” is:
τηρέω  tēreō  G5083 tay-reh'-o from teros (a watch; perhaps akin to G2334); to guard (from loss or injury, properly, by keeping the eye upon; and thus differing from G5442, which is properly to prevent escaping; and from G2892, which implies a fortress or full military lines of apparatus), i.e. to note (a prophecy; figuratively, to fulfil a command); by implication, to detain (in custody; figuratively, to maintain); by extension, to withhold (for personal ends; figuratively, to keep unmarried); by extension, to withhold (for personal ends; figuratively, to keep unmarried):--hold fast, keep(- er), (pre-, re-)serve, watch. [44]

We aren’t going to “kept” out of trouble my friends. Some of us, maybe all of God’s elect, will suffer tribulation. Remember the prophecies in Revelation:

Revelation 13:7 (KJV)
7And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. [45]
 Revelation 12:11 (KJV)
11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death[46]

We aren’t to be taken out of the trouble, but God will “keep” us from the evil, by keeping His eye upon us, by strengthening our faith, and preserving us till He comes or calls us home.  Indeed, let us not love our lives, but Him that is our Salvation, standing firm and resolute upon this rock, the Son of God.

Back to Colossians:

Colossians 2:6-7 (NKJV)
6As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. [47]


“…as you have been taught…”  We’ll pause here a moment.  Let this phrase sink in, try to get around it. These words are powerful, these words carry with them authority, yet these words have either been lost or overlooked by the church, by the body of Christ for too long. 
It is because these words would become ignored Paul warned Timothy: [added emphasis mine]

2 Timothy 4:3-5 (NABWRNT)

3 For the time will come [not may become, but WILL come] when people will not tolerate sound doctrine [the legal “food” of God’s sheep] but, following their own
 desires [“…Let us make us a name…” Gen 11:4] and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers
4 and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths [Ready? “Christ-mass”, “Easter” etc.].
5 But you, be self-possessed [that is, watchful] in all circumstances [RE: “all THINGS”] ; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry. [48]

What does “…as you have been taught…” mean? What was Timothy taught? The Baptist doctrine? The Methodist? The Luthern? The Jewish? The Catholic? The Unitarian? The Church of Christ? The Assembly of God? The Latter-Day Saints? (and on and on…)  What “doctrine” was Paul referring to when he told the Colossians to hold onto the faith ““…as you have been taught…”.?

            The answer is so simple, yet so overlooked for almost the entire history of the church [at least since around 250 A.D.]. What the Colossians were taught is what the Apostles taught. (…Christ…) What the Apostles taught was what they were taught by Christ. (…Christ…) Simple.  What Christ taught, was what the Torah taught, what the Tanakh taught (…Christ…Christ…Christ…).  Not what the Talmud or the Midrash taught, but what Scripture taught; …Christ…  Simple, so simple. The Apostles taught Christ.  Him born of a virgin, Him living a perfect, sinless life, Him suffering and dying upon the cross for the remission of our sins, Him resurrected and now forevermore alive at the right-hand of the Father, Him returning in Glory to claim what is His. But you say; “Isn’t that what we are taught now?”  I can only answer that question truthfully: NO.  What is called “doctrine” today flies in the face of Scripture. A study of what the “Early Church” fathers taught reveals this oh so starkly.  The earliest church father, Polycarp, was a disciple of the Apostle John.  What John taught Polycarp, he passed on to his disciples. The early church writings reveal this truth- that it was this Apostolic Teaching that guided the early church (circa A.D. 33-150).  Between 150-250 A.D. the rise of the church was fractionalized upon the problems of the heresy and arguments about Apostolic succession.  By 200-250 A.D., the pure teaching of the Apostles had given way to the teachings of church leaders like Origen, who started to reject the Apostolic teachings for his own.  (See the article “Early Church” in Appendix B for more information.) Origen believed that there was a need to develop “fresh” ideas from Scripture, and who was better suited at this than himself?  By deciding that he could do a better job of interpreting Scripture than Scripture (or the Apostles) could, he ushered in the age of “man-inspired” doctrines versus God-inspired, and this battle has been raging ever since.  This is why God has inspired new teachers that go back into His Word, searching the original languages so that we can once again see God’s word for what He intended it to be, the hodos to Christ.  This is why I teach as I do, from Scripture, from God’s choice of languages.  This is why I proclaim Christ crucified and resurrected and salvation in none but Him; these are my cornerstones, beloved.  What we believe is just as important as believing.  John  “the disciple that Christ loved” tells us in 1John 2:21 that “…no lie is of the truth…”  If we, who are called believers, believe in lies and fables then are we truly Christ’s?  Can we be His if the Jesus Christ we believe in is different from the Christ of Scripture?  We must cast off the shackles of false teaching and return once more to the Apostolic teaching: the words, deeds and life of Jesus Christ.  It must be Christ we fall in love with, not a reasonable facsimile, for I want to see the Father; I can only do that if I see the Son. We must not disregard the Old Covenant as merely a “Hebrew” or “Jewish” book, but hold it up as just one half of the revealed Word of God and search it, for in it is life.  In it is the Father, in it is Christ.  Through Jesus Christ we can know God, but knowing comes at a price. Beloved, are you ready to pay the price?  It calls for you and me to die.  It calls for us to “unlearn” all we think we know and finally accept what the Bible says, that it is Christ who chooses us, not we choosing Him.  We have to acknowledge that it was God that quickened us [ Rom. 11:5-6; Matt. 11:27] and gave to us the knowledge of Christ. We have to be willing to accept the fact that it not any act that we did that saved us, no “sinner’s prayer” [49], no walking down the aisle, no “accepting or inviting Christ into our hearts” [Rom. 4:1-25], it was grace, and that of God, grace through faith, faith from above, given to us as a gift from God [Gal 2:16-21; Eph 2:4-10].  It’s all God; it’s all Jesus Christ, nothing else. “…as you have been taught…”  O dearly beloved of Christ, O brethren of mine, live in these words, yield yourselves to the grace, mercy and power of Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit, die to yourselves and live in Christ Jesus, “…as you have been taught…”.

Let us continue:
…Philosophy…
Colossians 2:8 (KJV)
8Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudimentsc of the world, and not after Christ. [50][emphasis mine]

A verse by verse study of God’s word can take a long time.  There is so much in each verse, and even more in the context we find each verse that it seems to be too daunting a task, one I’d almost like to leave to others better gifted.  But, I can’t so…look at verse 8 again.  Paul says so much in so few words. The New King James renders verse 8 as:

Colossians 2:8 (NKJV)
8Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. [51]

The word defined as “spoil” or “cheat” is the word:
συλαγωγέω  sulagōgeō  soo-lag-ogue-eh'-o From the base of G4813 and (the reduplicated form of) G71; to lead away as booty, that is, (figuratively) seduce: - spoil.[52]

William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale. broke down this verse in their notes translation of the 1587 Geneva Bible of 1587 as thus:

Col 2:8  (4) Beware lest any man  (i) spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,  (5) after the tradition of men,  (6) after the  (k) rudiments of the world,  (7) and not after Christ.

(4)  He brings all corruptions under three types. The first is that which rests on vain and curious speculations, and yet bears a show of certain subtle wisdom.

(i) This is a word of war, and it is as much as to drive or carry away a spoil or booty. (5) The second, which is manifestly superstitious and vain, and stands only upon custom and pretended inspirations. (6) The third type was of those who joined the rudiments of the world (that is to say, the ceremonies of the Law) with the Gospel.

(k) Principles and rules, with which God ruled his Church, as it were under a schoolmaster. (7) A general confutation of all corruptions is this, that if it adds anything to Christ, it must necessarily be a false religion. [53]

A ”word of war”.  My beloved, be warned.  It is a war we are in.  There were those in Paul’s time that sought to “cheat” of “spoil” believers with philosophy and empty deceit.  This battle isn’t over; it has carried itself into our day and age.  The church today is rife with the traditions of men being passed off as Godly, and the church looks so much like the world it is hard to tell them apart.  In Paul’s day he had to contend with not only the Judaizers , but with the creeping in of all the different pagan philosophies that abounded in Colosse.  My friends, we have philosophers today, bringing their brand of “feel-good” Christianity into the church, and we welcome them with open arms.  Paul spoke of this as “…the rudiments of the world…”  “Rudiments “ is the Greek word:

G4747 στοιχεῖον stoicheion stoy-khi'-on
Neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of G4748; something orderly in arrangement, that is, (by implication) a serial (basal, fundamental, initial) constituent (literally), proposition (figuratively): - element, principle, rudiment.[54]

This is the “ABC’s” of the world if you like.  Now, philosophers are seekers of the truth, but, what wisdom is there to be found in human wisdom?  All the human wisdom in all the many volumes ever written have done no good for mankind; at best you can liken searching for truth and wisdom by man’s definition to that of a blind man searching for a black cat that isn’t there in a darkened room; ‘tain’t gonna happen.  There is only one answer. Christ Jesus.  What happens when we go looking “after the traditions of man”?  We have churches across America allowing the world to come in and take hold.  We hold seminars on “self-esteem”, yoga classes, latte stands and book and tape stores, right next to the sanctuary (“…You have made my Father’s house a den of thieves…”).  There are endless conferences on wealth and prosperity; sermons  go on and on all the time about “blessings”, but no time spent on what is truly important.  Mercy, grace, daily carrying of your cross, repentance, dying to self [how does that fit in with self-esteem?], forgiveness and the big TABOOS, hell and eternal punishment, the Wrath of God, and SIN… Where are the sermons about these topics?  Where are the sermons about the blood? Where are the sermons that convict with the power of the Holy Spirit? Where are the preachers, anointed by God and thundering from the pulpit, calling all who have ears to hear and eyes to see to WAKE UP, and come out of Babylon?  Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and yet many “believers” can’t even get out of bed on the Lord’s day! 

The church looks like the world with its 501c3 or 501c8 or whatever alpha-bit soup corporation it THINKS it has to have [ANY corporation is an entity of the state by the way].  It has given over the sovereignty of God to establish a FREE EKKELESIA to the state so that it can be a “non-profit” corporation [“…for your tax-deductible love gift you’ll receive…”].  We teach psychiatry from the pulpit, spin feel good homilies and tell little jokes,, when we should be leading by example and on our face before the King of Heaven, repenting for all we’ve turned His body into. We can’t even seem to reduce most church services to the lowest common denominator, having the Glory of God descending upon His house!  For what does His word say?

Matthew 18:20 (KJV)
20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. [55]

How many “houses of God” can claim His Presence?  “Come out of her…” sayest the Lord! Come out of Babylon and begin to worship God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and Ruach Ha’Kodosh, the Holy Spirit again in TRUTH!  Learn of His ways, and of Him so that you cannot be deceived!  For if you do not honor the God of Scriptures, if you do not love the Christ Jesus of the Bible, but hold onto only half of the TRUTH, then you have nothing.  Half a lie is still a lie.  Christ cannot be found in a lie.  He warned us Himself:
Matthew 24:23-27 (KJV)
23Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25Behold, I have told you before. 26Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. [56]

Behold, He says “I come quickly”.  There are those on the scene today that say their vision of God is the only true vision -I say- read the Word and find out for yourselves! Don’t leave it to me or any other teacher except the Holy Spirit to lead you to the truth.  I can only bring you so far, It is for the Spirit to lead you all the way.  I am humbled that God even allows me to speak, for I am just a vapor, a nothing without Him.  Search the words of life, for within them will be the conformation of whether or not a teacher beguiles you or instructs you.  Only the Holy Scriptures of God do not lie.  As I have shown earlier, God has preserved the TRUTH of His Word, and careful study and prayer will reveal it to you, for as Paul says in verses 9 and 10:

Colossians 2:9-10 (NKJV)
9For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. [57]

“fullness” : πλήρωμα G4138  pleroma  play'-ro-mah from G4137; repletion or completion, i.e. (subjectively) what fills (as contents, supplement, copiousness, multitude), or (objectively) what is filled (as container, performance, period):--which is put in to fill up, piece that filled up, fulfilling, full, fulness.[58]

Please allow me to “play” with the definition for a moment:  “what fills what is filled”.  Does not Christ fill us up?  Does not His Spirit dwell within, the Presence of Almighty God coming home to His Temple?  I don’t define this word lightly, for this is what Colossians is all about- the pleroma of Christ, of God.  Thayer defines this word as:

“…1) that which is (has been) filled
1a) a ship inasmuch as it is filled (i.e. manned) with sailors, rowers, and soldiers
1b) in the NT, the body of believers, as that which is filled with the presence, power, agency, riches of God and of Christ
2) that which fills or with which a thing is filled
2a) of those things which a ship is filled, freight and merchandise, sailors, oarsmen, soldiers
2b) completeness or fulness of time
3) fulness, abundance
4) a fulfilling, keeping…”[59]
The fullness of God, the plērōma:  Jesus Christ, 100% God.  It is He who fills us up, with Him we are full and complete, in-dwelt by. As Thayer says, “…the presence, power, agency, riches of God and of Christ…”  We often talk of our Savior, but do we truly get around this fact?  That in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead?  Beloved, my head swims when I try to grasp this statement.  I have to admit, to really try to put Jesus Christ in His proper perspective is almost overwhelming.  We, as believers are full of the presence of God, through the agency of His Holy Spirit.  From His throne in heaven, Christ seeks to continue to live out His life through us here on earth, by empowering us to do the same types of miracles and works He did while he was on this earth.  Make no mistake, He isn’t here; He sits at His Father’s right hand till all things are made ready for His return; through His Spirit, though, we share in this plērōma, and think of what His body could do if we understood this.  I can but only grasp a part of this, a glimpse of God as He passes by if you will, but my, I’d like to say this is sufficient, but it isn’t!  I want to understand the fullness of Christ; I want to be filled.  I want to be so empty of myself that there is only room for Him, and then, this would be …almost… sufficient.  For until I see my Lord face to face, nothing else will suffice.  I hope that you are with me on this note, that this is the cry of your heart also.  Jesus, you’ve made me complete, help me to see it, so that I may be overflowing in Your Glory…
Mathew Henry put it this way:

‘…The Jews thought themselves complete in the ceremonial law; but we are complete in Christ, v. 10. That was imperfect and defective; if the first covenant had been faultless, there would no place have been sought for the second (Heb. 8:7), and the law was but a shadow of good things, and could never, by those sacrifices, make the comers thereunto perfect, Heb. 10:1. But all the defects of it are made up in the gospel of Christ, by the complete sacrifice for sin and revelation of the will of God…”[60]
So here we see, we are made complete, now we just have to set sail with Him on this voyage that is life.  Paul had the simple answer for life’s most complex problems.  Christ.  So, what is your question today?  What are your needs?  Do enticing words and the philosophy of human wisdom carry you away?  Seek Christ.  Do the traditions of men and the trappings of religion control your walk of faith?  Cast them aside and seek Him, turn to Him, turn to Christ, turn to the fullness of God…

Colossians 2:11-15 (NKJV)

11In 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, 12buried 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. 13And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14having 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. 15Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. [61]
Paul makes a very telling statement here, in verse 12.  “…buried with Him in baptism…”  Water baptism?  Is this what Paul is speaking of?  No.  Go back to verse 11.  We were circumcised by the circumcision made without hands, the putting off of our sins, by the circumcision of Christ.  Was Paul speaking of the circumcision of Jesus when he was 8 days old?  No.  The “circumcision of Christ” is explained in verse 14, “…having nailed it to the cross…”  Yes, this is what it all comes down to, the cross.  The circumcision of Christ was His cutting away our old lives, and renewing us in the new birth, the baptism of the blood.  This is the baptism Paul is speaking of, not water, but death.  Christ’s martyrdom on the cross was what made all things new.  Without us joining Him in death, there is no life.  Salvation is not the improvement of the old nature; it is the impartation of a new nature.[62] We are to identify ourselves with Jesus.  In fact, we no longer have an identity apart from Him, for if we do, then the simple truth is, we aren’t His.  Follow me
Christ said, not “Oh, keep your own identity, live your own life, and if you see fit, come along for a ride…”  He said Follow me”.  We won’t be very popular if we do though, for those who truly walk after Him will suffer persecution; popularity and being loved by the world is NOT of God (John 15:18-20, James 4:4, Luke 6:22-23, Acts 14:22, II Tim 3:12, John 16:33, I Thess 1:6-3:3-4).  The cost of discipleship is death.  Death to ourselves, death to our lives, death to old relationships, habits, jobs, homes, cares, worries, entertainments, and so on.  Our salvation comes at the price of Christ on the cross, and was accomplished by the resurrection power of God on the third day.  No gimmicks, no promotions, no seminars; just the shedding of blood.  To preach anything else today is to deny Christ.  What more can be preached?  Can any prosperity sermon add to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ?  Can any in-house ministry lift His name any higher?  Can any evangelism or outreach carry as much power as those out-stretched arms of Christ?  Don’t get me wrong, these things are important, but when they take the place of the Gospel message, when the outreach is the vehicle and not the preaching of the word, who is exalted?  Preach the Word!  Lives will change.  Preach the Word!  Strongholds will crumble.  Preach the Resurrected Lord!  Watch devils flee.  Simple.  Christ is all, what more is there?  Singing and dancing and all the rest must be backdrops to the real need- and that is for a dying world to hear the reason why they need a Savior.  It can’t be sugar coated, it must be bold, and to the point.  We are running out of time beloved- the Gospel message must go out to all creation!  We’ve precious little time to make people feel good about Jesus; what they need is the conviction of the Holy Spirit, the quickening of their souls by God so that they can fall on their knees and cry out “God help me!”  Then we will have done our duty unto Christ; we’ve preached the word, hard as it may be.  Eternal punishment and hell await those who do not cry out to Him; isn’t this enough cause to get us off our back-sides and reach out with the Words of Life?

13And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses…”

He has made us alive, not the other way around. We were dead, lost in our sins, but Christ choose us, to be made alive together with Him.  Here is the answer to the philosophies of not only Paul’s days, but of our own.
The two main philosophies of Paul’s day haven’t changed much to ours except by that which they are called.  Stoics believed that man is more than circumstances and that the soul is greater than the universe.  They taught that man could live a noble live, and that death didn’t matter.  A brave philosophy yes, but how does one live by it?  (See footnote no.4 for more on the Stoics)
            The other philosophy was that of the Epicureans (See Article 3 in Addendum II).  Basically they taught that all of life was uncertain, so the best any could do is to give way to their wanton passions, to eat, drink and be merry, for “…tomorrow we die…”  both of these philosophies appeal to the flesh, to man’s drive to satisfy self.  The old nature of the carnal man is what dominates, with its pride of life, the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the flesh.  With no moral boundaries, with no controlling entity outside the self, how can these contrasting desires ever be brought into subjection?

            Today within the world, these philosophies can be found, even if under a different name.  They can also be found in the church.  With all the fads and systems out there, we are given one “philosophy” after another telling us how to live the Christian life.  Book upon book is written, conference upon conference given.  Speakers abound, telling us how to live this life of faith, but so many just can’t seem to grasp it.  Why?  In all these “teachings” one thing is missing.  One very important fact is over looked:

Jesus Christ is not a system!

Look again at what Paul says: “…He has made alive together with Him…”  We are made alive with Christ, joined to Him in the circumcision of the spirit and buried with Him in the baptism of blood.  If we are joined to Him, then it would follow, that we would live ours lives like we were.  What need we of one more seminar, of one more conference telling us what we should already understand?  Isn’t the blood stained cross that stands empty upon the hill all the motivation we need to walk this walk?  We are joined to a Living Savior!  He does not need to be explained by a motivaltional speaker, He needs to be given our total surrender.  My beloved, how close will you let Him come?  How much will you give up?  Is He the center, your life, your love?  Turn, turn, turn to Him I say! O how I pray you come out of Babylon, how I pray I stay out of Babylon, and I plead with our Father to allow those of us that turn our backs upon Babylon to bring someone else out with us, into the glorious light of Christ Jesus.

…Legality…

Colossians 2:14 (KJV)
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [63]
What was it that Christ nailed to the cross?  What could possible the “ordinances” that were against us, that were contrary to us?  The Jews called it:
שטר חוב, "the writing of the debt"
The word “ordinances” in the Greek is:
G1378 δόγμα dogma  dog'-mah : From the base of G1380; a law (civil, ceremonial or ecclesiastical): - decree, ordinance.[64]

Both of these definitions point to the same thing:  The Law as given to Moses, the Ten Commandments. For believers, we passed unto a new covenant with God when Jesus took our place upon the cross.  He, being the fullness of God, fullfilled the Law that day for us, a law that we could never keep.  The law isn’t gone; it still stands as a testimony against the sin of the unbeliever, but for us that hold unto Christ, it is obscured by His blood, blotted out by the hand of God, the very hand that wrote it in the first place.  The writing of the debt, the book that contained our sins is now blank, yet we must still always remember that we fall short of the glory of God.  For this reason we carry our cross and repent of the deeds of our flesh daily, as Christ commanded.  Grace is unmerited, given freely, yet carries with it a price.  We must die.  Don’t forget this my friends.  Christ nailed to the cross the legality of the law, yet abolish it He did not.  It still stands as God’s moral signpost.  The way of the cross is pointed out by it, thus till the end of the ages it will stand.  Rejoice that you are covered by the blood brethren, and not judged by the law…
Ephesians 2:14-22 (1901 ASV)
For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, 15having abolished in the flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace; 16and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17and he came and preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh: 18for through him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father.
 19So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, 20being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone; 21in whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord; 22in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God in the Spirit. [65]

…Ritual…
Colossians 2:16-17 (KJV)
16Let no man therefore judge you in meate, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. [66]

Christ came and suffered to effect our salvation, not affect it.  All throughout the Tanakh, God had given the people of Israel certain rituals they had to follow and obey, the disobedience of which would affect their salvation as a people and a nation. These were the types and figures, shadows of Christ to come.  Many things affect our salvation, even after we are called by God.  You have to truly understand what salvation is, to grasp that statement.  Let’s see how many words the Bible uses for “salvation”:


The New Strong's Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words (12 occurrences in 12 articles)

yƒshûw˓âh יְשׁוּעָה [Strong's Hebrew #3444]
prosperity:— deliverance, health, help (-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare.

yâsha˓ יָשַׁע [Strong's Hebrew #3467]
preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, save (-iour), get victory.

yesha˓ יֶֶשַׁע [Strong's Hebrew #3468]
liberty, deliverance, prosperity:— safety, salvation, saving.

môwshâ˓âh מוֹשָׁעָה [Strong's Hebrew #4190]
, mo-shaw-aw’; from 3467; deliverance:— salvation.

pƒqach-qôwach פְּקַח־קוֹחַ [Strong's Hebrew #6495]
of a dungeon), i.e. jail-delivery (fig. salvation from sin):— opening of the prison.

tƒshûw˓âh תְּשׁוּעָה [Strong's Hebrew #8668]
or spir.):— deliverance, help, safety, salvation, victory.

apŏlutrōsis apolytrōsis [Strong's Greek #629]
, i.e. (fig.) riddance, or (spec.) Chr. salvation:— deliverance, redemption.

katabrabĕuō katabrabeuō [Strong's Greek #2603]
price against, i.e. (fig.) to defraud (of salvation):— beguile of reward.

pistis pistis [Strong's Greek #4102]
teacher), espec. reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstr. constancy in such profession; by

ptaiō ptaiō [Strong's Greek #4417]
trip, i.e. (fig.) to err, sin, fail (of salvation):— fall, offend, stumble.

 σωτηρία sōtēria sōtēria [Strong's Greek #4991]
safety (phys. or mor.):— deliver, health, salvation, save, saving.

σωτήριον sōtēriŏn sōtērion [Strong's Greek #4992]
noun; defender or (by impl.) defence:— salvation.

Of the 12 words translated as “salvation”, the ones I want to focus on are the last two, sōtēria and sōtērion.  These words are both derived from the primary word:

G4982 σώζω sōzō sode'-zo From a primary word σῶς sōs̄ (contraction for the obsolete σάος saos, “safe”); to save, that is, deliver or protect (literally or figuratively): - heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.

sōzō”   Literally, to heal, to be made whole.  This is what our salvation is.  Christ came to effect this; He shed His blood so as to make us whole.  This salvation, this sōzō”, will take us a life-time on this earth to complete, a journey that Christ will walk us through, step by step.  At times along the way it will be painful.  Other times it will be seem to be the hardest thing we’ve ever done.  We will face hardship, persecution, tragedy, trials, tribulation, suffering… all for the aim of getting us to the end of “self”, the end of ritual.  No more gimmicks, no more fads, no more shortcuts to the abundant life.  We carry in our heads this idea of “shadows”, that we affect our own salvation, when the Bible clearly teaches us that our efforts are to no affect, that it is Christ alone, the only real effect.  We have this “snapshot”, this picture of what we think salvation is, yet it is only a tattered, yellowed photograph, taken out of focus.  Why do we carry around with us a shadow, when the reality is we have the true image before us.  One day, we will all be conformed to the image of God’s Son, but this will take the purifying fire of God to forge us into that golden image.  We will be made whole; in Him we are complete, now He works to make us whole.  Are you there yet brethren?  Are you struggling, straining to reach the prize?  Do you agonize over sin and the lost?  Does your heart yield to the Spirit, surrendering all you are to His ways, His will?  I’m not there my friends, I’ve got a long sōzō” to go.  I want to be whole.  I want to be holy as He is holy.  He is my cause and effect, join me on this journey will you? The rituals are the shadow, the faded photograph; Christ is the reality, we need not go back.  We just need to go forward.  When I look at my journey, at the cross I carry, if I look behind me I can see the faint line that the tail of the cross dug into the ground.  I can also see the imprints of the cross where I either dropped it from exhaustion, or threw it down in frustration.  Yet, somehow, I can see that I must have picked it back up again for the line continues on.  At least to the next spot where I again put it down.  I pondered on this, and Christ gave me the real explanation.  What happened to Him on the way to Golgatha?  How many times did He drop His cross?  Simon helped Him carry it; Christ helps me carry mine.  Types and shadows.  We just have to look…

…Mysticism…

Colossians 2:18-19 (NKJV)
18Let 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, 19and 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. [67]

Paul condemned the Gnostics for their pretense of wisdom.  Who pretends to be wise today?  How many are beguiled by the “preachers” and the “evangelists” that profess to be wise?  How many are falling for the worship of angels?  Just examine closely what is happening in Lakeland Florida if you don’t know what I mean.  They call it the “Lakeland Revival”, but how can there be a revival without repentance? (See Article 4, Appendix B, “Lakeland?” for more…) Angels named “Emma” appearing and talking to the “evangelist”? There are only two named angels in the Holy Word, Gabriel and Michael. “Emma”?  Now, God can name His angels anything He wants, but beloved, beware.  Test all spirits.  Paul tells us that men such as these are “…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…”, that they hold not fast to the Head, which is Christ.  Just a good way of saying that they loosly use Christ to justify their behavior.  The sad thing is, my brethren, that thousands flock to these carnival shows.  Why?  It is because there is a real need out there, a hunger for the real things of God, and the “church”, I’m afraid, is dead.  Yes, dead.  If she were really of Christ, and in Christ and about Christ, then charlatians such as The one in Lakeland couldn’t deceive anyone, for they would be rooted in the True Light, and not just searching for it.  It’s our fault, for we have lost our flavor, our salt got wet in the flood of self and now the masses are starving to death.  O have mercy on us Christ, help us to get it right, so wicked men can’t prevail…

…Asceticism…

Colossians 2:20-23 (1901 ASV)
If ye died with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, do ye subject yourselves to ordinances, 21Handle not, nor taste, nor touch 22(all which things are to perish with the using), after the precepts and doctrines of men? 23Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and severity to the body; but are not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh. [68]

McClintock and Strong define asceticism as:

“…The name ajskhth>v (from ajske>w, to exercise) is borrowed from profane writers, by whom it is generally employed to describe the athletes, or men trained to the profession of gladiators or prize-fighters. In the early Christian church the name was given to such as inured themselves to greater degrees of fasting and abstinence than other men, in order to subdue or mortify their passions. The Christian ascetics were divided into abstinentes, or those who abstained from wine, meat, and agreeable food, and contineites, or those who, abstaining from matrimony also, were considered to attain to a higher degree of sanctity. Many laymen as well as ecclesiastics were ascetics in the first centuries of our era, without retiring on that account from the business and bustle of life. Some of them wore the pallium philosophicum, or the philosophic mantle, and were therefore called Christian philosophers, and formed thus the transition link to the life of hermits and monks…”[69]

“…If ye died with Christ…why…”  Yes, why, if we are truly dead in Christ do we still live after the world, as if we were stuck in a pre-cross mode?  Fads, the latest worship music, the hottest speakers… Have we all gone mad?  The world isn’t looking for more of the same, church!  The world hopes we are different, hopes that we have something to offer, yet when they come in the door, all they see is what they’ve already experienced.  Emptiness and longing abound, and we aren’t there to fill that spot with Jesus Christ.  All we have given the world, in our head-long rush to make Christ “relevant” again, is, as Paul says “…not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh…”  Since when did Christ ever get irrelevant?  When did the need for our Savior’s grace and mercy get replaced?  Paul ends Chapter 2 here with the question “Why?”  I think it’s a good question, one that we need to be asking ourselves today.  Why?  Why have we left our first love?  Some that are reading this epistle haven’t, you know who you are.  Some have, and unfortunately, a few of you have no clue.  Dearly beloved, it is so very simple.  Either you are totally His, sold out 100%, or you are not.  He knows your heart, you can’t pretend.  The One who loves you knows you.  Or sadly, He knows you not.  I said earlier that the only difference between the “sheep” and the “goats” is what they don’t do.  The sheep don’t chase the latest fad, they chase Christ.  The sheep lay down their lives, and let the Master have His way.  The sheep feed Him when He is hungry, they clothe Him when He is naked, they visit Him when He is sick or in prison, they give Him drink when He is dry.  As they do to the least, they do unto Him.  The goats, well, they wonder when He was sick, in prison, naked, hungry or thirsty.  They don’t remember seeing Him that way.  The goats give their 10%, but expect something in return.  The goats want to feel good, not convicted, the goats just “don’t”.  Do you or Don’t you, my brethren?  He knows, and we better be to finding out, before it is too late.  It is decision time my friends; Paul laid out the case for Christ here in Chapter 2.  May we all make the right decision.  In Chapter 3, we will be looking more at our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus; till then, may the Lord richly bless you and keep you, my beloved…  Amein




…Decision Time…

PART TWO

v      Decisions:
Ø      Grow in the knowledge of Christ
Ø      Is it:
§         Faith in Christ alone 
                -OR-
      Some Other way?
Ø      STOP – LISTEN (Hear God in Scripture) – OBEY
Ø      God’s Judgement:  How He thinks about You
-VS-
      Man’s Judgement:  Whose matters most to you…
Ø      Hide your life in Christ:  Being conformed to the image of Christ


In such a short time together as we have, I truly cannot give you as extensive a look at what Paul is saying as I would like.  The point is to grow in the knowledge of God and Christ, and to accept the fact that it is Christ alone that saves.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God; there is no other way.  Paul spent part of his time warning us of false teachers; of fables; of smooth words.  God’s word should produce within us at first unease in our souls. His words and ways are so contrary to what our “self” natures are, that they cause us to wrestle with them, argue with them, shout at them “This can’t be what You mean!”  In the end though, if we have been chosen by God and designated as His elect (and trust me, it is God that does the choosing, not us…), we will quiet our objections and bow our knees and submit to His word.  We will STOP-LISTEN  and OBEY.  Our actions and our words will judge us if Christ doesn’t raise us from the dead.  If faith doesn’t move in our lives, we will remain dead and lost to God.  If we love man’s ways and works more than God’s way and words, we are lost.  We must understand that since it is God that quickens us- we either submit to His will or try to impose our self-will, which is just the true definition of what man likes to call “Free-will”.

This “will” isn’t free; the cost is high to follow it.  Those who live on the altar of SELF will die on it also.  Change of direction is what “metanoia” (Greek for “repentance”) is all about.  SELF is not a change at all.  It is the pathway broad to destruction, make no mistake about it.  The world travels a straight line on a boulevard named “SELF”.  The one path off it is narrow and tight, filled not with the glitter that lines “SELF” Blvd., but is jammed with pot-holes, thorns on both sides, trials and temptations.  Yet at the end of both paths there is a destination: at the end of  “SELF” Boulevard is destruction and everlasting sorrow; on that narrow path, thos e who stay the course may end up bloodied and broken, but not forsaken.  For at the end of the path stands salvation, at the end is life eternal, no more tears.  O brethren, stay the course!  My heart weeps heavy for those who start then turn back!  My eyes cry for you, my tears run heavy at the thought!  For to whom will you go?  Only One holds life eternal, only One is filled with mercy and grace.  Hold fast in your decisions- hide your life in Christ Jesus and let Him conform you in the wilderness of the narrow path.  The path will take you through; at the end He will present you, not broken and bloody, but holy and blameless, perfect in His sight…





Let us pray for those on the narrow path, for the God of Heaven and Earth to strengthen them in their walk.  We know the struggles- our home is not here, and we grow weary, looking for rest.  Looking for relief from the purifying fire that cleanses us.  It is hard, it is arduous.  And yet, may our prayers carry up to Your Throne O God; O Jah, may you hear us and send mercy and rest and peace to those who struggle.  For a small season O YHWH, hold them and ourselves up so that they and we continue ahead and not look back. 
By the precious blood of our Savior Yesuha Ha’Machia, we ask this O Jah…
For out of the whirlwind, out of the storm YOU ARE. 
O be their IAM, right now… 
In the name, in the nomos, the presence and authority of Jesus Christ we pray-
Amein and Amein

It is hard.  Let no one cheat you by telling you otherwise.  Nothing good comes easy; just ask Christ. 

-By the many prayers of the Saints are the weak upheld…
-By the tears of the Saints are the small refreshed…
-By the struggles of the Saints are the stumblers caught…
-By the Blood of the Lamb are the Saints made…

It is all about Him.  Hide yourself away, my beloved; your hidden life affects more than you know…










































…APPENDIX B…

Article 1.
Wescott and Hort;  Who were they?

Their master Greek text is based mainly upon two thoroughly corrupt Alexandrian manuscripts. These manuscripts were available to the King James translators but were rejected because of the thousands of disagreements with each other as well as disagreement with between 95% to 99% of all other ancient manuscripts. Additionally, they were very messy with many marginal notations and scratch outs, etc.
 The Master Greek Text that the King James Version is based upon is called the Textus Receptus and is in agreement with the majority of ancient Greek texts…. Up to 99%

TWO STREAMS OF MANUSCRIPTS HAVE ALWAYS EXISTED

 Certainly, not all agree that these two Alexandrian manuscripts are older than the others. But even if they are, many have shown that older is not an adequate criteria for determining accuracy. Dr. D. Otis Fuller, in his book "WHICH BIBLE," has shown that Christians of all ages have recognized that two streams of manuscripts have always existed.  The muddy stream of the corrupt text, including the Western family (characterised by interpolations), and the Alexandrian family {characterised by omissions) has flowed through channels such as Origen… Eusebius, Jerome (who produced the Latin Vulgate), and in the last century, through Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort.
The pure stream of the New Testament has flowed to us through the Received Text, which Dr. D. Otis Fuller tells us: "had authority enough to become either in itself, or by its translation, the Bible of the great Syrian Church, of the Waldensian Church of northern Italy, of the Gallic Church of Southern France, and of the Celtic Church in Scotland and Ireland, as well as the Official Bible of the Greek Church (BYZANTINE TEXT)." The reformers stood firmly by the Received Text, Luther's German Translation and Tyndale's magnificent English Translation were from it. When 47 scholars translated the Authorised Version in 1611, by Divine Providence the Received Text was used.  Manuscript discoveries since 1611 have NOT altered the picture. The number increased from 3791 in 1881, and since then to about 5,000, BUT STILL ABOUT 95% AGREE WITH THE RECEIVED TEXT!   Wescott and Hort felt that they knew better than the 47 King James scholars of the early 17th century. They created an entirely new master Greek text that the Revised Standard Version (and most other modern translations) is based on.
 So, what kind of men were B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort? Were they beyond reproach? Were they godly? Did they do their work in the “fear of the LORD” which “is the beginning of wisdom”? In other words, were they trustworthy Christian stewards? You decide.
One researcher lists these primary sources that comment on the spiritual character of Westcott and Hort:

In addition to numerous references given in New Age Bible Versions, B.F. Westcott is identified as "a mystic" by the standard reference work of his day: The Encyclopedia Britannica (1911). Princeton University Press' recent book, The Christian Socialist Revival (1968, Peter d'A Jones) says B.F. Westcott was "a mystic" (p. 179). The highly respected Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics identifies both B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort as Alexandrian mystics (see 'Alexandrian Theology' et al.). The Occult Illustrated Dictionary even cites our Bible correctors B.F. Westcott, Hort, and Lightfoot and their 'ghostly' games.  The pretence by White and others, that B.F. Westcott's 'Ghostly Guild' [an occult club he helped found] activities and Spiritualism were only a part of his younger days, is proven wrong through numerous quotes in New Age Bible Versions. He speaks, as late as 1880 (age 55), about "fellowship with the spiritual world" and "the dominion which the dead have over us" (p. 439).

 Another expert describes these men thusly:

Brook Foss Westcott (1825-1903) and Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828-1892) were two non-Christian Anglican ministers. Fully steeped in the Alexandrian philosophy that "there is no perfect Bible", they had a vicious distaste for the King James Bible and its Antiochian Greek text, the Textus Receptus. [The infidelity of Westcott and Hort is well documented in this author's work entitled An Understandable History of the Bible, 1987, Bible Believer's Press, P.O. Box 1249, Pottstown, PA. 19464]  


Both believed that Heaven existed only in the mind of man. Westcott believed in and attempted to practice a form of Communism whose ultimate goal was communal living on college campus's which he called a "coenobium. "   Both believed it possible to communicate with the dead and made many attempts to do just that through a society which they organized and entitled "The Ghostly Guild." Westcott accepted and promoted prayers for the dead. Both were admirers of Mary …and Hort was an admirer and proponent of Darwin and his theory of evolution.  It is obvious to even a casual observer why they were well equipped to guide the Revision Committee [Revised Standard Version] of 1871-1881 away from God's Antiochian text and into the spell of Alexandria. They had compiled their own Greek text from Alexandrian manuscripts, which, though unpublished and inferior to the Textus Receptus, they secreted little by little to the Revision Committee. The result being a totally new Alexandrian English Bible instead of a "revision" of the Authorized Version as it was claimed to be.  

Occult involvement and deception on the part of those “translating” the bible is starting to sound familiar. But, there is more.

In a private letter dated 1851, Mr. Hort wrote:

" I had no idea until the last few weeks of the importance of texts having read so little Greek Testament and dragged on with the villainous Textus Receptus. Think of that vile Textus Receptus leaning entirely on late manuscripts."


 Thus at only twenty-three years of age and having admitted reading little of the Greek testament he concluded that the Textus Receptus was "vile" and "villainous." Never mind that this master greek text had withstood the test of time and the scrutiny of a vast array of biblical language scholars for the previous 17 centuries; never mind that it was in perfect agreement with over 95% of all known Greek manuscripts. So, why all the venom against the Received Text (textus receptus)? 
            In order to fully make sense of Wescott and Hort’s unusual activities one must understand a little history about the Protestant Reformation and the Anglican Church at that time. When most people think about the Reformation they think of the events of the 16th and 17th centuries and how much of Europe separated themselves from the yoke of Rome and the Pope. And, after that things were just sort of theologically settled.
 However a sort of Counter-Reformation ensued immediately thereafter. The Catholic Church re-doubled their efforts in persecuting those who disagreed with their views. In lands controlled by the Papacy, it was simply illegal to believe anything in disagreement with Catholic doctrine. In protestant countries the Vatican worked covertly to theologically undermine historic doctrines that undermined the central authority of the Papacy.
 In the Church of England, Roman Catholics were able to have themselves ordained as bishops and archbishops and then proceeded to lead many back to the doctrines of Rome while officially remaining part of the Anglican Church. Thousands of Anglican church leaders defected back to Roman beliefs.

 Another author notes:

By the time that Westcott and Hort were at Cambridge, it was already becoming known for two schools of doctrines:
1. A knowledge and cultivation of the occult (the deliberate attempt to contact demonic spirits), and
2. Roman Catholic Doctrines teaching that salvation was only possible through the Eucharist and belonging to the Roman Catholic Church.

Please remember what was taking place in England at the time. England ruled the world as the Empire of Great Britain. England was the center of that empire and, London was the center of England. Administrators and armies of Civil Servants were constantly being posted to foreign lands and returned with many…  new doctrines and teachings.  The impact of these foreign theologies and foreign teachings were very detrimental to England and to Spirituality in general... The Anglican Church was almost entirely overrun by Roman Catholics, and by occultists. Occultists had a long history within the British Empire, and were entrenched within British Elite Society, something which has remained true to this day.
The Occultists formed Secret Societies in the 1800s in England, and worked to get their own students into positions of Power. This is what was taking place in England when Westcott and Hort were working at the center of the British Empire. Westcott and Hort accepted the False teachings of their occult instructors. Later on, they also accepted the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the worship of Mary.
German Textual Critics were 'Officially" Protestants who had decided that the Bible was FALSE. [Those Textual Critics HAD to be Protestant, or they could not obtain teaching positions in German Protestant seminaries and Universities...so those Textual Critics simply lied and were given their jobs as professors.]  Working with German Textual Critics and their Newly invented false Greek Manuscripts (such as those of Lachmann and Tischendorf), Westcott and Hort came up with their own plan to change and alter the Greek New Testament. 
They succeeded - both in their own Greek New Testament, and in their creation, the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.
Here again we see a clear connection to spiritism and deception in those professing to interpret the Word of God. Also, keep in mind that B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort both denied the infallible inspiration of Scripture and Christ’s substitutionary atonement. They also believed in evolution. Yet, this Greek text compiled by Wescott and Hort was the foundational document for “rendering” the Greek Scriptures by the NWT “translation committee”. That text can be seen in its entirety in the Kingdom Interlinear published by the Watchtower in 1969.
 What does all this mean?

It means that in addition to the more than 8000 documented changes that the spiritists Wescott and Hort made to the Sacred Text, Franz was able to introduce thousands of his own “renderings” and heretical slants into the New World Translation, and then pass off his “anti-typical” views and doctrines of demons as the very words of Jehovah and his son Christ Jesus. For any of God’s people, they must conclude that all of this can be nothing short of an abomination before God.

And what does the sacred text tell us? This: We should not be surprised.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils - 1 Timothy 4:1[70]

Article 2.  Early Church History

The New Testament itself speaks of the importance of maintaining orthodox doctrine and refuting heresies, showing the antiquity of the concern. Because of the biblical proscription against false prophets (notably the Gospels of Matthew and Mark) Christianity has always been preoccupied with the "correct", or orthodox, interpretation of the faith. Indeed one of the main roles of the bishops in the early Church was to determine the correct interpretations and refute contrarian opinions (referred to as heresy). As there were differing opinions among the bishops, defining orthodoxy would consume the Church for some time (and still does, hence, "denominations").

In his book Orthodoxy, Christian Apologist and writer G. K. Chesterton asserts that there have been substantial disagreements about faith from the time of the New Testament and Jesus. He pointed out that the Apostles all argued against changing the teachings of Christ as did the earliest church fathers including Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr and Polycarp (see false prophet, the antichrist, the gnostic Nicolaitanes from the Book of Revelation and Man of Sin). Jesus also refers to false prophets (Mark 13:21–23) and the "darnel" (Matthew 13:25–30, 13:36–43) of the flock and how their distortion of the Christian faith is to be rejected.
The earliest controversies were generally Christological in nature; that is, they were related to Jesus' (eternal) divinity or humanity. Docetism held that Jesus' humanity was merely an illusion, thus denying the incarnation. Arianism held that Jesus, while not merely mortal, was not eternally divine and was, therefore, of lesser status than God the Father ( John 14:28). Trinitarianism held that God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all strictly one being with three hypostases. Many groups held dualistic beliefs, maintaining that reality was composed into two radically opposing parts: matter, usually seen as evil, and spirit, seen as good. Others held that both the material and spiritual worlds were created by God and were therefore both good, and that this was represented in the unified divine and human natures of Christ.
The development of doctrine, the position of orthodoxy, and the relationship between the various opinions is a matter of continuing academic debate. Since most Christians today subscribe to the doctrines established by the Nicene Creed, modern Christian theologians tend to regard the early debates as a unified orthodox position against a minority of heretics. Other scholars, drawing upon, among other things, distinctions between Jewish Christians, Pauline Christians, and other groups such as Gnostics and Marcionites, argue that early Christianity was fragmented, with contemporaneous competing orthodoxies.
The Biblical canon is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and thus constituting the Christian Bible. Though the Early Church used the Old Testament according to the canon of the Septuagint (LXX), the apostles did not otherwise leave a defined set of new scriptures; instead the New Testament developed over time.
The writings attributed to the apostles circulated amongst the earliest Christian communities. The Pauline epistles were circulating in collected form by the end of the first century AD. Justin Martyr, in the early second century, mentions the "memoirs of the apostles", which Christians called "gospels" and which were regarded as on par with the Old Testament. A four gospel canon (the Tetramorph) was in place by the time of Ireanaeus, c. 160, who refers to it directly. By the early 200's, Origen may have been using the same 27 books as in the modern New Testament, though there were still disputes over the canonicity of Hebrews, James, II Peter, II and III John, and Revelation, see also Antilegomena. Likewise the Muratorian fragment shows that by 200 there existed a set of Christian writings somewhat similar to what is now the New Testament, which included the four gospels. Thus, while there was a good measure of debate in the Early Church over the New Testament canon, the major writings were accepted by almost all Christians by the middle of the second century.[71]



Article 3. Epicureanism

Epicurean Philosophy — Epicurus
The Epicurean philosophy received its name and its complete development from its founder Epicurus. Little was added to the system by its disciples.It was a reaction against the Socratic School, and constituted one of themost marked forms of speculation during the period of Greek decline. It exercised considerable influence over the Latin world in the decay of the Roman republic, and during the first two centuries of the empire. With important changes of form, but with little modifications of spirit, it survived the overthrow of ancient civilization, perpetuated itself through out the Middle Ages, reappeared with the revival of  philosophy, and may still be recognized in many recent theories. The Epicurean philosophy, which has survived so many successions of empire, and so vast mutations of thought, is intimately connected with the
earlier speculations of the Greeks. Its ethical views are directly deducible from the Cyrenaic School; but its dependence on the Eleatics is unmistakable. SEE ELEATIC SCHOOL. In physics it displayed an inclination to return to the Ionic method. It is, however, in immediate affiliation with the doctrines of Democritus and Leucippus. From them it derived its atoms, and the casual formation of the universe.  Notwithstanding its connections with previous modes of thought, the Epicurean philosophy is so definite in principle and form that it may be more readily treated without regard to its descent than almost any other
type of speculation, ancient or modern. The Epicurean philosophy was fully developed by its founder, and was long contained almost entirely in his numerous productions. These perished early. Fragments only have been preserved in the philosophical treatises of Cicero, the moral lectures of Seneca, and the late  compilation of Diogenes Laertius. Epicurus's physical theory of the universe, which formed the basis
of his theological and ethical conclusions, is transmitted to us in its integrity in the abstruse but brilliant poem of Lucretius. In consequence of the reverence of the disciples for the instructions of the master, and their abstinence from development of his teachings, Epicurus occupies a more prominent position in the exposition of his doctrine than any other Greek philosopher except Pythagoras. It is, accordingly, expedient to consider the circumstances of his life and the peculiarities of his character before entering upon the details of his system.
Life of Epicurus. — Epicurus was of pure Athenian descent; of a good family, though reduced to poverty; and settled in Samos, where his father Neocles was a cleruchus, and eked out a scanty support by the occupation of a school-master. His mother, Charestrata, added to the resources of a poor household by practicing enchantments and by other superstitious pretenses, in which she was aided by her son, who may thus have acquired an early contempt for the current theology and superstition. Epicurus was
born at Samos, A.C. 342-1, seven years after the death of Plato, and within a year of Aristotle's acceptance of the office of tutor to Alexander the Great. About the time of Alexander's death, Epicurus came to Athens, at the age of 18, where he is supposed to have attended the instructions of Xenocrates in the academy. Aristotle was still teaching in the lyceum. Epicurus made no long stay at this time in the metropolis, but removed to Colophon and opened a school. He adopted the atomistic doctrine of Democritus, and during five years undertook to teach philosophy at Mitylene and Lampsacus. At the age of 35 he returned to Athens, taught philosophy there for a period of 36 years till his death, and became the
founder of a sect, having at first been content with declaring himself a follower of Democritus. The groves of the academy were frequented by the Platonists under Xenocrates; "the shady spaces" around the lyceum were occupied by the Peripatetics under Theophrastus, who possessed a house and garden of his own within the precincts, which were bequeathed to his successors. Epicurus imitated the Peripatetic example, and purchased a garden in the heart of the city for 80 minae (about $1400 in gold). This abode, the celebrated horti Epicuri, became the place of instruction and of convivial assemblage, and gave name to the school, "the philosophy of the Garden." The life of Epicurus was "simple, temperate, and cheerful;" he
was "a kind-hearted friend, and even a patriotic citizen." He kept aloof from the political distractions of the time, and took no part in public affairs. His maxim was la>qe biw>sav avoid notice in life. The political and social disorders of the time, amid the wars of the Diadochi and the factious contentions of a city where liberty was supplanted by tyranny or anarchy, might suggest the philosophy which is supposed to have regulated his conduct, viz. that the mind alone is free; all without is at the mercy of capricious violence or incalculable contingencies. In the progress of civil discords and convulsions the only hope of tranquillity must be sought in absolute seclusion and disregard of public transactions. In his quiet and graceful retreat, surrounded by affectionate pupils and admiring friends, enlivened by the frequent presence of brilliant hetaerae, one half of the long life of Epicurus was passed. His intercourse was characterized by genial good-humor, and his establishment was conducted with frugal elegance. His temperament and his doctrine, his habits and his precepts, were in entire unison. He sought and obtained for himself the gentle pleasure, the unruffled serenity which he preached to his hearers. He was laborious in the dissemination of his opinions. He is designated as polugrafw>tatov by Diogenes, and is said to have written three hundred
volumes, filled, of course, with repetitions. This copious authentic promulgation of his philosophy dispensed with any necessity for expansion or commentary. The theory was, indeed, so simple and perspicuous that nothing remained to be stated after the first exposition. Before the death of Epicurus in A.C. 270, a rival school had arisen in Athens under the colonnades of the Painted Porch, and nearly every one of his tenets was directly opposed by Zeno of Citium and the Stoic philosophy, The reaction excited by the extreme materialism and fortuitism of Epicurus occasioned an equal extravagance on the other side. With Epicurus the universe was an aggregate of blind atoms compacted and diversified by an equally blind chance; with Zeno it was a divine organism, vital in all its parts, and governed by the immutable decrees of fate. With Epicurus the deities were incognizant or regardless of temporal affairs; with Zeno everything was controlled by a superintending Providence, whose will was an unalterable necessity, and manifested by the heavenly orbs (sidera conscia fati).
The Philosophy of Epicurus divides itself naturally into three parts, Theology, Ethics, and Physics. The last alone received any thoroughly systematic development. It was devised as a scientific basis for the two
former, which were rather foregone conclusions, in which "the wish was father to the thought," than strictly logical deductions from established principles. The philosophy of Epicurus was designed for his own immediate satisfaction, and for the practical uses of life. The logomachies of Eleatics and Sceptics, Sophists and Socratics, had produced no settled convictions, and had arrested neither public calamities nor private wretchedness; a doctrine was desired which might bring peace to the individual, and restore happiness or enjoyment to life. The canonization of pleasure, the regulation and sanctification of natural passions, seemed to afford the solution required, and Epicurus was to his time what Fourier was to the last
generation. In order to sanction pleasure as the guide of existence, it was necessary to get rid of the  menaces of conscience and the terrors of heaven. Hence Epicurus practically denied the gods by relegating them to the eternal isolation of unconcerned indolence and reverie. This was regarded by his votaries as the most essential service of his career (Lucret. 1:63-80). But to exorcise the divinities and to abrogate religion, it was necessary to explain the marvelous order, economy, and variety of the creation, without recourse to a creator; to furnish, like La Place, a system of the world which should exclude the notion of a divine architect. This task Epicurus undertook, with such materials as were at hand. The Eleatic School had asserted an absolute severance of the divine and the transitory, and had devoted their regards to the former. Epicurus repudiated the former, and confined his attention to the material and sensible, disproving
all creative or divine agency by his physical doctrine, and maintaining the authority of carnal impulses and earthly pleasures by the repudiation of the gods and of their worship.
Theology of Epicurus. — Epicurus acquiesced in the existence of the gods, but denied them any  participation in the process of the universe. He ascribed to them immortality and human form, and assigned to them attenuated and spectral bodies, as Milton also, appears to have done ("negat esse corpus deorum, sed tamquam corpus, nec sanguinem, sed tamquam sanguinem," Cic. De. Nat. Deor. 1:25). He accords to them indestructibility, immutability, and the serene happiness of eternal repose. Their tranquillity would have been disturbed by any care; accordingly, they are entirely unconcerned with everything that falls under human apprehension. This mode of recognizing and at the same time cashiering divinity has been recently imitated by Herbert Spencer. So far as human actions or thoughts are concerned, the gods are practically non-existent, and religion is nothing better than a vague and irrational superstition,
founded upon dreams, and cherished by ignorant fear.
Ethics of Epicurus. — Without divine sanction, without responsibility or existence hereafter, with either reward nor penalty in a future life for "deeds done in the body," no real system of ethics is conceivable. There is no constraint, no obligation to rectitude; there is no moral compulsion; there is no domain for conscience; there can only be a more or less judicious and provident adaptation of actions to the judgments or dispositions of men, and to the supposed satisfaction of the individual. Morality without religion is a pretense and a delusion. A tranquil and pleasurable existence becomes the summum bonum of the sage; the
gratification of every passion as it arises the sole duty of an eager and undisciplined nature. Every restraint is removed except such as may be voluntarily imposed; and though cool, impassive, and indolent dispositions may maintain an external propriety of demeanor when exposed to no temptation, there can be no guarantee for rectitude of conduct, and the license of all passions will be gratified by the unclean beasts who wallow in the Epicurean style. The insufficiency of the doctrine as a rule of conduct was exhibited from the very first. Epicurus placed the highest pleasure in undisturbed repose, but he considered every pleasure to be good in itself; and his favorite disciple, Metrodorus, asserts that the dictates of natural
reason would limit all care to the satisfaction of the belly, thus taking as the cornerstone of the system the declaration of Ecclesiastes, "All a man's labor is for his mouth." The stories which circulated in regard to the connection of Epicurus and his companions with Leontium, Marmarium, and other notorious ladies of the like persuasion, show that the tendencies of the doctrine were at once recognized, even if they were not illustrated in practice. As all the religious foundations of virtue were removed, no logical foundation remained. The canonic of Epicurus, which was at once his logic and his metaphysics, amounted to the negation of any absolute or immutable truth. The sensible impression was the sole criterion of truth. Every sensation, as every general conception, was necessarily true; and we are here reminded, though in different modes and degrees, of the positions assumed by Des Cartes and by Hume. No guidance is accorded for the
conduct of the understanding more assured than the immediate impression or the unregulated fancy, and the passions are thus left without any valid control by the reason. A life according to natural impulses becomes
therefore the aim and the duty of a philosopher.
The Physics of Epicurus were devised as a means of escape from all divine authority and superintendence. They constitute the most elaborate, coherent, and original portion of the Epicurean system. Even here there
was little real originality. Epicurus was a man of little learning, of little logical perspicacity; but he was actuated by a distinct purpose, and possessed of a clear rather than a penetrating mind. He diligently availed
himself of everything subservient to his aims in previous systems, and worked out whatever accorded with his plans into a plausible and superficial scheme, in which consistency was little regarded, and acceptability assured by addressing the natural inclinations of men. The Physical Theory of Epicurus acquired more reputation in antiquity from its connection with theology and ethics, and from its exposition of Lucretius,
than from any estimation in which it was held by the real students of science. The object of Epicurus was to explain, like Des Cartes, how the universe might have been formed and perpetuated without any foreign
agency, though he went further than Des Cartes in rejecting even a divine agency for its first creation.
The leading lines of his physical doctrine are that matter is uncreated and indestructible. Its primitive elements are indivisible particles — atoms — which are eternal and imperishable, passing through various combinations, and assuming new properties and forms according to these mutable compositions. These atoms are infinite in number, and solid, though so small as to be imperceptible by the senses. They possess gravity, and move downwards in an infinite vacuum. Their descent, however, is not in a uniform line; they are deflected by a spontaneous impulse, due to mere contingency, and come into collision, conjunction, composition with each other. Thus worlds, infinite in number, and infinitely varied in their phenomena, are formed. These atoms are in a continual state of vibration or oscillation, and from their concretions and dissolutions, their coherences and dissidencies, all the multitudinous changes of inorganic and organic
nature are derived. All, however, are governed by chance alone; there is no compulsion, no necessity, no external law, no decree of fate. The cause of being is not extrinsic, but is involved in the process and act of being. No room is allowed for the operation of any conscious and ordaining intelligence; the world is nothing more than the curious result of uncomprehending, undesigning accidents. It will be observed that this theory of Epicurus differs from the vortices of Des Cartes in little more than in ascribing a straight, downward, but variable motion to the atoms in a vacuum, while Cartesianism assigns to them a gyratory movement and denies a vacuum. The difference is more obvious between this system and the recent doctrine of evolution, but the logical principle is the same — the construction and continuation of the universe by simple elements and simple forces generated within its own sphere, and independent of foreign
determination. It is consequently not surprising that an attempt has been very recently made to bring the Epicurean Physics into harmony with modern science, whose present tendencies are in the direction of similar irrational self-sufficiency. A like attempt was made by Gassendi more legitimately, but without any permanent acceptance, in the 17th century; and it may be confidently asserted that, in an age of infidel appetencies, there will always be a revival of the Epicurean philosophy and Epicurean proclivities.
Authorities. — The historians of ancient philosophy: Bayle, tit. "Leucippi Lucrece;” Gassendi, De Vita et Moribus Epicuri (Hag. Comit. 1656, 4to); Syntagma philosophiae Epicuri (1659); Bremer, Versuch einer Apologie des Epicur (Berlin, 1776, 8vo); Rondel, La Vie d'Epicure (Par. 1679); Warnekros, Apologie und Leben Epicurs (Greifswald, 1795, 8vo); Munro, Lucretius, with a Translation and Notes (Cambridge and London, 1864 [72]

Article 4.  “Lakeland?”

Lakeland Revival or Florida Healing Outpouring is a Christian revival which began on April 3, 2008 when Evangelist Todd Bentley of Fresh Fire Ministries was invited to Ignited Church in Lakeland, Florida by Pastor Stephen Strader. Bentley was originally invited to be in Lakeland for only five days but remained there for over three months.

Through its airing on GOD TV, the revival has become well-known throughout the Pentecostal movement.[1] Bentley's ministry has estimated that over 140,000 have visited and 1.2 million have watched via the Internet.[2]

While not the first revival to have this much influence, two other examples being the Toronto Blessing and Pensacola Outpouring of the 1990s, it is the first big revival to focus almost exclusively on healing with past ones heavily emphasizing conversion.[3]

Todd Bentley speaking at Ignited Church on 6th August 2008 announced that his last day in Lakeland would be Wednesday 13th August 2008.

Controversy
The revival has generated some controversy among members of the Christian community, as some leaders questioned (or even outright rejected) the authenticity of the revival.[4] Some skeptics have challenged the revival on the basis of the evidence put forward for the healing testimonies and sermon content.[5] Some criticism has stemmed from some of Todd Bentley's unorthodox practices, which include shouting "Bam, Bam!" while praying for the sick[6] and testifying to having had visions of an angel named Emma.[7]
In June 2008 Nightline carried out an investigative report on Bentley. Some days after the broadcast, Fresh Fire Ministries released a statement announcing that Bentley was taking time off "to refresh and to rest" and their Lakeland broadcasts on GOD TV were put on hold.[8] One week later, God TV announced Bentley would resume the ministry and, starting July 18th, the broadcasts would continue.[9]
The main focus of the services have been on what supporters believe to be divine healing of conditions such as cancer, deafness, diabetes, and paralysis.[1] Bentley's most controversial claims consists of twenty cases where he says the dead have been raised.[3] In an effort to verify claims of healing, Bentley's staff say they welcome as much documentation as people are willing to give, including verification from doctors.[2] Nightline's June 2008 investigation was unable to independently verify any of the healings.[8] Participants in the revival are known to sing, laugh, and shout ecstatically, and many fall down under the influence of the Holy Spirit, according to revival leaders.[1]
Lakeland healing services have been criticized in mainstream media and on internet blogs for the occasional violence done to the participants.[3][10][11] The minister Todd Bentley has been known to forcefully kick, hit, smack[12] or knock over participants. In one incident a man was knocked over and lost a tooth. In another, an elderly woman was intentionally kicked in the face. During such times Bentley holds that the Holy Spirit lead him to such actions.[13][14] Bentley responded to critisism by saying that those cases are taken out of context, adding that miracles were happening simultaneously.[3]
Finances
The Lakeland Revival does not charge for attendance, but attendees can contribute to voluntary offerings that fund building and staff expenses.[8] In response to questions about finances, Strader and Bentley stated in interviews that the Lakeland Revival has been funded entirely from these voluntary donations.[15] The event has changed venues on a number of occasions, starting at the Ignited Church and sister Church in Auburndale, and moving to the $15,000 per night Lakeland Center and Marchant Stadium. After outgrowing its previous venues, the revival meetings moved to an air conditioned tent that seats 10,000.[2]
Bentley said he will open the books for independent auditors.[2] However, requests for financial disclosure from World Magazine were met with a comment that Bentley is "too busy keeping up with what God is doing"[4] to provide financial information.
Bentley's spokesperson has said that Bentley "continues to draw his standard salary, set by his board, from his office in Canada. It is a modest salary and is in the five-figure range," and that Fresh Fire Ministries is audited annually.[2] A newspaper in Vancouver reported that Bentley owned a home in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, a 2007 GMC Sierra, and a 2003 Harley-Davidson motorcycle.[5]
References
   1. "Faith-Healing 'Outpouring' Overflows Venue". TheLedger.com (April 25, 2008). Retrieved on 2008-07-14.
   2. Rhee, Alice (2008-05-29). "Revivalist Claims Hundreds of Healings", MSNBC. Retrieved on 2008-06-10.
   3. http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5ghGk5Lj6-e5KJOZMpIzs-pBPVnTAD91R35KO4
   4. Leonard, Rusty and Cole, Warren (2008-06-30). "Same old Scam?". Retrieved on 2008-06-30.
   5. "Tattooed preacher says God heals through him". The Charlotte Observer (June 19, 2008). Retrieved on 2008-07-14.
   6.  "Bam! Pow! When Prayer Ministry Gets Violent". Charisma Magazine Online (June 18, 2008). Retrieved on 2008-07-14.
   7. "Honest Questions About the Lakeland Revival". Charisma Magazine Online (May 14, 2008). Retrieved on 2008-07-14.
   8. "Thousands Flock to Revival in Search of Miracles", ABC News (2008-06-09). Retrieved on 2008-06-09.
   9. "Todd Bentley back at Lakeland from Friday", GOD TV (July 16, 2008). Retrieved on 2008-06-09.
  10. http://tampabay.com/news/religion/article651191.ece
  11. http://www.goodnewsfl.org/local.asp?page=bc/0608/front/todd.asp
  12. http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080718/NEWS01/807180458
  13. http://tampabay.com/news/religion/article651191.ece
  14. http://www.goodnewsfl.org/local.asp?page=bc/0608/front/todd.asp
  15. "Geraldo Rivera, Todd Bentley, and the Lakeland Revival". Christian Crunch.com (June 18, 2008). Retrieved on 2008-06-24.[73]




[1] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
[2]American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.) Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[3]American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] Stoics: stō´iks (Στωΐκοί, Stōikoí):
1.     Origin and Propagation
2.     Metaphysics and Religion
3.     Sensationalist Epistemology
4.     Ethical Teaching
5.     Relation to Christianity
LITERATURE
1. Origin and Propagation:
The name was derived from the Stoá Poikílē, the painted porch at Athens, where the founders of the school first lectured. This school of Greek philosophy was founded at Athens circa 294 BC by Zeno (circa 336-264 BC), a native of Citium, a Greek colony in Cyprus. But the Semitic race predominated in Cyprus, and it has been conjectured that Zeno was of Semitic rather than Hellenic origin. His Greek critics taunted him with being a Phoenician. It has therefore been suggested that the distinctive moral tone of the system was Semitic and not Hellenic. Further color is given to this view by the fact that Zeno's immediate successors at the head of the school also hailed from Asia Minor, Cleanthes (331-232 BC) being a native of Assos, and Chrysippus (280-206 BC) of Soli in Cilicia. Several other adherents of the system hailed from Asia Minor, and it flourished in several Asiatic cities, such as Tarsus and Sidon. In the 2nd century BC the doctrine was brought to Rome by Panaetius of Rhodes (circa 189-109 BC), and in the course of the two succeeding centuries it spread widely among the upper classes of Roman society. It reckoned among its adherents a Scipio and a Cato, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, as well as the freedman Epictetus. The most adequate account of the teaching of the Greek Stoics has been preserved in the writings of Cicero, who, however, was a sympathetic critic, rather than an adherent of the school. The system acquired its most lasting influence by its adoption as the formative factor in the jurisprudence of imperial Rome, and Roman law in its turn contributed to the formation of Christian doctrine and ethics.
2. Metaphysics and Religion:
The main principles of Stoicism were promulgated by Zeno and Cleanthes, and Chrysippus formulated them into a systematic doctrine which became a standard of orthodoxy for the school, and which permitted but little freedom of speculation for its subsequent teachers. Whatever may have been the Semitic affinities of mind of Zeno and his followers, they derived the formal principles of their system from Greek antecedents. The ethical precept, “Follow Nature,” they learnt from the Socratic school of Antisthenes, the Cynics. But they followed the earlier philosopher Heraclitus in defining the law of Nature as reason (lógos), which was at once the principle of intelligence in man, and the divine reason immanent in the world. This doctrine they again combined with the prevalent Greek hylozoism, and therefore their metaphysics inclined to be a materialistic pantheism. On the one side, Nature is the organization of material atoms by the operation of its own uniform and necessary laws. On the other side, it is a living, rational being, subduing all its parts to work out a rational purpose inherent in the whole. As such it may be called Providence or God.
While the Stoics rejected the forms and rites of popular religion, they defended belief in God and inculcated piety and reverence toward Him. Their pantheism provided a basis for Greek polytheism also alongside of their monism, for where all the world is God, each part of it is divine, and may be worshipped. Another consequence of their pantheism was their attitude to evil, which they held to be only apparently or relatively evil, but really good in the harmony of the whole. Therefore they bore evil with courage and cheerfulness, because they believed that “all things worked together for good” absolutely.
3. Sensationalist Epistemology:
The materialistic trend of their metaphysics also comes out in their epistemology, which was sensationalist. The human mind at its birth was a tabula rasa. Its first ideas were derived from sensations, the impressions made by the external world upon the soul, which they also conceived as a material body, though made of finer atoms than the external body. Out of these sense-impressions the mind built up its intuitions or preconceptions, and its notions, which constituted its store of ideas. It is not clear how far they attributed originative power to the mind as contributing some factor to the organization of knowledge, which was not derived from experience. The Stoic system is never consistently materialistic, nor consistently idealistic. Most of its terms are used in a dual sense, material and spiritual.
4. Ethical Teaching:
But its ethical teaching shows that the main trend of the system was spiritualistic. For its crown and climax was the ethics. The Stoics did not pursue knowledge for its own sake. They speculated about ultimate problems only for the practical purpose of discovering a rule of life and conduct. And in their ethics, the great commandment, “Follow Nature,” is interpreted in a distinctly idealistic sense. It means, “Follow reason,” as reason inheres both in man and in the universe as a whole. It is submission to Providence or the rational order of the universe, and the fulfillment of man's own rational nature. The life according to Nature is man's supreme good. How actual Nature could be the ideal good that man ought to seek, or how man was free to pursue an ideal, while he was bound in a system of necessity, were fundamental paradoxes of the system which the Stoics never solved. They summed up their moral teaching in the ideal of the sage or the wise man. His chief characteristic is ataraxy, a calm passionless mastery of all emotions, and independence of all circumstances. He therefore lives a consistent, harmonious life, in conformity with the perfect order of the universe. He discovers this order by knowledge or wisdom. But the Stoics also defined this ideal as a system of particular duties, such as purity in one's self, love toward all men, and reverence toward God. In Stoic ethics, Greek philosophy reached the climax of its moral teaching. Nowhere else outside Christianity do we find so exalted a rule of conduct for the individual, so humane, hopeful and comprehensive an deal for society.
5. Relation to Christianity:
When “certain ... of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered” Paul at Athens, and when, after the apostle had spoken on Mars' Hill, “some mocked; but others said, We will hear thee concerning this yet again” (Act_17:18, Act_17:32), it is no improbable inference that the Epicureans mocked, while the Stoics desired to hear more. For they would find much in the apostle's teaching that harmonized with their own views. Paul's quotation from the classics in his Athenian speech was from the Stoic poet, Aratus of Soli in Cilicia: “For we are also his offspring.” His doctrine of creation, of divine immanence, of the spirituality and fatherhood of God, would be familiar and acceptable to them. His preaching of Christ would not have been unwelcome to them, who were seeking for the ideal wise man. Paul's moral teaching as it appears in his Epistles reveals some resemblance to Stoic ethics. it is possible that Paul had learnt much from the Stoic school at Tarsus. It is certain that subsequent Christian thought owed much to Stoicism. Its doctrine of the immanent Logos was combined with Philo's conception of the transcendent Logos, to form the Logos doctrine through which the Greek Fathers construed the person of Christ. And Stoic ethics was taken over almost bodily by the Christian church.   (From The international Standard Bible Encyclopedia, electronic edition, e-Sword, ©2001-2008 by Rick Myers)

[5] Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, by Dr. J. Vernon McGee, Vol. IV, ©1983, Thru the Bible Radio, Pasadena, CA  pg. 347
a  conflict: or, fear, or, care
[6]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[7] StongNote , Interlinear Scripture Analyzer basic  2.0  RC6  Copyright © 2008 André de Mol. All rights reserved.
[8]  The Revised Standard Version. 1971 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[9] The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
[10] The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
[11]  The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
[12] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
[13] 1890 Darby Bible, (electronic edition) e-Sword®, Copyright ©2000-2008 by Rick Myers
[14] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[15] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[16] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
[17] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
[18] Greek New Testament, The Textus Receptus, (electronic edition) e-Sword®, Copyright ©2000-2008 by Rick Myers
[19] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, (electronic edition) e-Sword®, Copyright ©2000-2008 by Rick Myers
[20] Webster’s Dictionary, 1823 Edition, (electronic edition) e-Sword®, Copyright ©2000-2008 by Rick Myers
c  fear: or, reverence
[21]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[22]  American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[23] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
[24] Young’s Literal Translation,  (electronic edition) e-Sword®, Copyright ©2000-2008 by Rick Myers
[25]  American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[26] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[27] Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, by Dr. J. Vernon McGee,  Vol. IV, ©1983, Thru the Bible Radio, Pasadena, CA  pg. 347
[28] Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, by Dr. J. Vernon McGee,  Vol. IV, ©1983, Thru the Bible Radio, Pasadena, CA  pg. 348
[29]  Darby, J. N. (1996). The Holy Scriptures : A new translation from the original languages (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

[30] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[31] Strong numbers for WHNA (only NA part) v2.0 ● Copyright © 2007 Scripture4all Foundation
[32] Strong numbers for WHNA (only NA part) v2.0 ● Copyright © 2007 Scripture4all Foundation
[33] Webster’s Dictionary, 1823 Edition, (electronic edition) e-Sword®, Copyright ©2000-2008 by Rick Myers
[34] Webster’s Dictionary, 1823 Edition, (electronic edition) e-Sword®, Copyright ©2000-2008 by Rick Myers


[35]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[36] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
[37] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[38] Darby, J. N. (1996). The Holy Scriptures : A new translation from the original languages (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.
[39] Strong numbers for WHNA (only NA part) v2.0 ● Copyright © 2007 Scripture4all Foundation
[40] A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Joseph H. Thayer, Copyright ©1977, Baker Book House Company
[41] A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Joseph H. Thayer, Copyright ©1977, Baker Book House Company
[42] A commentary of the New Testament, by Adam Clarke,  ©1983 (electronic edition) e-Sword®, Copyright ©2000-2008 by Rick Myers
[43] Darby, J. N. (1996). The Holy Scriptures : A new translation from the original languages (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.
[44] Strong numbers for WHNA (only NA part) v2.0 ● Copyright © 2007 Scripture4all Foundation
[45]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[46]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[47]  The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.


[48] The New American Bible : With revised New Testament. 1986; Published in electronic form by Logos Reseaarch Systems, 1996 (electronic ed.). Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.

Insatiable curiosity: literally, “with itching ears.”

The King James Version reads: (2 Timothy 4:3-5) 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 



[49] “Sinner’s Prayer?” 

Romans 10:3-21
3 For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness which is of the law shall live thereby. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith saith thus, Say not in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down:) 7 or, Who shall descend into the abyss? (That is, to bring Christ up from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach: 9 because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: 10 for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame.
12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him: 13 for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. 18 But I say, Did they not hear? Yea, verily, Their sound went out into all the earth, And their words unto the ends of the world. 19 But I say, Did Israel not know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation, With a nation void of understanding will I anger you. 20 And Isaiah is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I became manifest unto them that asked not of me. 21 But as to Israel he saith, All the day long did I spread out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

…Beloved, sinners don’t believe, only the elect do…

c  rudiments: or, elements
[50] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[51]  The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
[52] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, (electronic edition) e-Sword®, Copyright ©2000-2008 by Rick Myers
[53] The Geneva Bible Annotations, by William Tyndale and Myles Cloverdale,  (electronic edition) e-Sword®, Copyright ©2000-2008 by Rick Myers
[54] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance , by James Strong (electronic edition) e-Sword®, Copyright ©2000-2008 by Rick Myers
[55] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[56] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[57] The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
[58] Strong numbers for WHNA (only NA part) v2.0 ● Copyright © 2007 Scripture4all Foundation
[59] A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Joseph H. Thayer, Copyright ©1977, Baker Book House Company
[60]Henry, M. (1996, c1991). Matthew Henry's Commentary  : On the whole Bible (electronic ed. of the complete and unabridged edition.) (Col 2:4). Peabody: Hendrickson.
[61] The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
[62] Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, by Dr. J. Vernon McGee,  Vol. IV, ©1983, Thru the Bible Radio, Pasadena, CA  pg. 350
[63] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[64] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance , by James Strong (electronic edition) e-Sword®, Copyright ©2000-2008 by Rick Myers
[65]  American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
e  in meat...: or, for eating and drinking
[66] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[67] The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
[68]  American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[69] CYCLOPEDIA of BIBLICAL, THEOLOGICAL and ECCLESIASTICAL LITERATURE, by James Strong & John McClintock: AGES Software Rio, WI USA Version 1.0 © 2000
[70] While I present this article as an explanation about Wescott and Hort (article was taken from the website of “Watchers of the WatchTower”, an anti-Jehovah Witness site) the information contained within it accurate.  The main point I am attempting to get across to you, my beloved brethren, is that man has always said in his heart, from the time the lie was introduced in the garden “Did God really say that?”  God preserved His Word!  It is called the Masorite Text for the Hebrew, and the Majority Text for the Greek.  All My teachings come from these texts, and while I’m no scholar, God is, and His sheep hear His voice.  Always look to the Spirit of God to help you understand His Word, no matter the translation you read.  If the Holy Spirit doesn’t like what you are reading, He’ll lead you away from it, into ALL TRUTH.  The mere fact that you are reading is a good sign that the Spirit  is working in your life, causing you to hunger for the truth of God’s Holy Writ.  Just remember, man is deceitfully wicked, and we need the Spirit to lead us and guide us.  This information is made available to you to help you understand why so many different doctrines are out there, for we have given over to man the Holy Spirit’s job, that of translating God’s word into our hearts.  May God always preserve you in His word, by His Spirit, till the fulness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be made manifest within you…  DER
[71] History of Christianity, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  Additional sources of information include the following resources:
R. Gerberding and J. H. Moran Cruz, Medieval Worlds (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004) p. 58
e.g., Bauer, Walter (1971). Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity. ISBN 0–8006–1363–5. ; Pagels, Elaine (1979). The Gnostic Gospels. ISBN 0–679–72453–2. ; Ehrman, Bart D. (2003). Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. New York: Oxford. ISBN 0–19–514183–0.
Everett Ferguson, "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon", in The Canon Debate. eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) pp. 302–303; cf. Justin Martyr, First Apology 67.3
Everett Ferguson, "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon", in The Canon Debate. eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) pp. 301; cf. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses 3.11.8
Both points taken from Mark A. Noll's Turning Points, (Baker Academic, 1997) pp 36–37
H. J. De Jonge, "The New Testament Canon", in The Biblical Canons. eds. de Jonge & J. M. Auwers (Leuven University Press, 2003) p. 315
The Cambridge History of the Bible (volume 1) eds. P. R. Ackroyd and C. F. Evans (Cambridge University Press, 1970) p. 308
[72] CYCLOPEDIA of BIBLICAL, THEOLOGICAL and ECCLESIASTICAL LITERATURE, by James Strong & John McClintock: AGES Software Rio, WI USA Version 1.0 © 2000

[73] Lakeland Revival, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Sources as cited in article.