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October 10, 2022 12:01 am
We must know the truth of the gospel if our lives are to be shaped and defined by the gospel. Today, R.C. Sproul considers the relationship between Christian doctrine and faithful Christian living.
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Today on Renewing Your Mind. When we use the name Christian we take upon ourselves a commitment to undivided loyalty.
The greatest struggle that we have as Christians in an age of unbelief is to be loyal to Christ first to be loyal to him above all other loyalties conclusions from their loyalty to Christ or faithfulness for their benefit and froze. He went on to describe with looks like this week on Renewing Your Mind. We have the privilege of bringing new messages from our archives that we never hear before.
In today's message from Colossians underlines the importance of understanding and applying the gospel. There's RC scroll. Let's look at the standard apostolic greeting as we begin with the text of Colossians itself begins in verse one chapter 1 with these words Paul and apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colossae. Grace to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is quite standard by way of Paul's opening lines in his epistle, but let's look at some of the critical elements of the greeting that he gets the first thing he does, of course, is identify himself by name, which is his custom but then immediately following the name he identifies is office and that is something we need to pay very close attention to excess. First of all, that Paul is an apostle and you'll notice in the text that he also includes a reference to his coworker who was with him. Obviously, at the time of this writing and sends the greeting not only from Paul but also from Timothy, and later Angel mentioned the path for us.
But even though Timothy and a path for us were co-laborers with Paul in this missionary venture. They were not apostles, at least not apostles with the K. I need to say, parenthetically, that there are times when Paul will mention part of his entourage and referred to them as apostles in the generic sense, but we need to distinguish formally before we start our study of the body of the epistle.
The difference between the technical office of apostle and the generic form the word apostle the los means one who has been sent or commissioned an apostle in the ancient world would be something like an ambassador would be today, who is authorized to speak in behalf of the one who sent him. And we remember that Christ from the disciples selected some to be apostles and an apostle was one who was commissioned by Christ sent by Christ with the word of Christ and with nothing less than the authority of Christ, so that the apostle was one where in Jesus said those who receive you receive me. Those who do not receive you do not receive me and I say this for this reason that in this day and age there are many people, particularly within the feminist movement who are so opposed to Paul's teaching that they want to drive a wedge between the authority of Christ and the authority of Paul saying that all Christ.
We obey Christ we believe it's Paul whom we can't endure and at this point they're doing the very thing that Christ would not permit in the first century community that is a rejection of those whom he certifies as his spokesman that if you reject them you are rejecting him now. The first apostle in the New Testament is owned. Christ himself who is the apostle was sent from God. Remember Jesus said I speak nothing on my own authority, but only that which the father has revealed to me that I declare to you, and Christ argues that he was sent by the father and he ran into debates with the Pharisees of his day.
Tried to say we are the children of God, where the descendents of Abraham and someone that we don't accept you and they claimed to believe God but not Christ and what Christ said to them was if you don't believe me you don't believe the one who sent me, so that Christ himself appealed to his apostolic office for the grounds of his authority later on in early church history, we see the writings of our Aeneas and his defense of the apostles. He used the same argument here when he said if you reject the apostles you reject Christ we can't have the one without the other. If you embrace Christ, you must embrace those whom he authorizes to be spokesman and if you reject those spokesman you are in effect rejecting him and our Aeneas wanted to draw the logic to its final conclusion. You reject the apostles then you reject the one who sent them, namely Christ, if you reject Christ in you reject the one who sent him who is the father.
I think it's also important to remember that in the imagery of the New Testament, the foundation of the church is not Jesus. The image of the building as Jesus principally as the chief cornerstone, and the references to his being the foundation is that there is no other foundation that can be laid except that foundation, which is laid in Christ Jesus. But the metaphor of the building refers to the apostles as the foundation.
The foundation that is laden Christ.
Christ is the chief cornerstone. But again, when we talk in contemporary terms about the church.
We believe that the foundation of the Christian church is the apostolic word which is codified in Scripture when we attacked the authority of Scripture and seek to undermine the apostolic foundation of the church. The building which is the church cannot stand because foundation upon which God built the building is the apostolic word, and so is very important when Paul identifies himself.
He says Paul and apostle one who is been authorized and commissioned by Jesus right now. He says Paul and apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colossae now again part of the standard form of greeting and address. He calls the people of the church.
The Colossian Christians saints and we always need to comment on that because Paul does the same thing to the Corinthians to the saints who were in Corinth into the saints who are here to the saints who were there, and when you read, for example, you read Paul's letter to the Corinthians is just one huge problem after another in the Corinthian church that Paul has to address these people hardly behaving as saints, and the same thing to be true of the Galatians and certainly those who were caught up in the Colossian heresy were not behaving as saints in terms of what we refer to as sainthood. But that is a traditional development of the meaning of the word St. that is reserved for people who have reached extraordinary levels of godliness and sanctification. The word Hagy office in the New Testament which is translated by the word St. simply means holy one now and I say simply means holy one. What it means again here is not wholly in the sense of having achieved or arrived in a high state of purity, but the primary meaning of holy means to be different to be set apart to be consecrated and every person who'd embraced Christ and entered into relationship with Christ is now set apart by God, a member of his family adopted into his family has been marked by his identification with Jesus as a holy one. Again, not wholly in the pure sense of holy in the separated sense the consecrated sense and every Christian in that regard, even though they may be the very beginning of the Christian pilgrimage and may be only slightly sanctified. Nevertheless, it is still saying. I remember once having a meeting with Dr. Robert J. Lamont, who was the senior minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh was, like the Pope of Presbyterian sin that day and that is students in college and seminary. We look to Dr. Lamont as the note. Most intimidating, awe-inspiring ministerial authority that we could ever encounter and I had occasion to want to gain an audience with the Dr. Lamont on a very important matter in my own life and we met he knew me and so on. But he was willing to have this audience in argument I can still remember sitting in the waiting room for more nervous than I am in the dentist's waiting room or something like that that is going on and see the great man and I walked in and he stood up from behind his desk and came around and extended his hand to me and he looked at me and he said well Robert what's on your partially sanctified mind. The day that obviously forgotten that this description of my condition the bedtime partially sanctified mind and I think while that's true of all of us until we enter in the glory they were all in a state of partial sanctification.
So we may be saints in the sense that having been set apart by virtue of our relationship to Jesus, but we have not yet achieved the status of sainthood that is established in the Roman Catholic Church, but these are that that is how the people among the Colossians are addressed to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in colossi just one simple word here whatever he saying is called to break his faithful in order to be a Christian. One has to have faith, but in that context of faith wherein we trust Christ and Christ alone for our salvation. There is a call to each one of us to fidelity to Christ. That is to be a Christian involves not only believing in Jesus not having having faith but being faithful that there is a loyalty that is incumbent upon every Christian. When we use the name Christian. When we take the name of Christ we take upon ourselves a commitment undivided loyalty and frankly if I can get practical for a second I would say the greatest struggle that we have as Christians in an age of unbelief and age of secularism that has pervaded the church itself is to be loyal to Christ first to be loyal to him above all other loyalties. If I were ever to receive a letter from the pen of the apostle Paul, I would like to have it start on something like this Paul and apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God to the saints and faithful RC's got a letter like that.
Have you, but that's what I like to receive one amazing thing that Paul writes of these people in the midst of their trouble, and heretical tendencies, and makes mention of their fidelity to Christ to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in colossi, grace to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Now some of you may not have the and the Lord Jesus Christ in your Bibles, but this was the customary greeting to apostle gave an obviously was a customary greeting in the New Testament community, grace and peace and what you have here is kind of a play on words in the Greek speaking world. The standard greeting among the Greeks. Paul was Corinth, which is like hail, like the Latin objet and it is almost the exact same word that Paul uses here when he says artists which is graphics so that the word grace plays off of the Greek word for the common record of greeting and what happened in the apostolic community is they took the standard Greek greeting changed slightly to refer to the grace of God and then incorporated the traditional Jewish greeting shalom electrodes, a lack of shalom, which is what peace to you and unto you peace of the Jews always greeted each other with that word peaks so now in the New Testament. You have the Greek chorus combined with the Hebrew peace in the apostle says grace to you and peace from God our father. Then in verse three he goes on to say we give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you since we heard not want to pay attention to what it is he's heard about that since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus.
Second of all we heard of what your love for all the saints third because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, before we get to the, you notice what three things Paul has heard about the Colossian Christian what three virtues have been manifested in their midst. Now abide faith, hope and love. These three and the greatest of these is love.
And so here Paul makes mention of how the light it is to have heard of their face and to hear that they were a people who had tremendous love for each other and which love and face were deeply established in their hope for the future consummation of the king so that the triad of Christian virtues. The Paul elsewhere celebrates as marked the Christian community among the Colossians because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel. Here we see common concern the Paul is writing to the Colossians, even though the Colossian heresy is in different heresy. I heresy distinct from the heresy that plagued the Galatian believers. Nevertheless, in both circumstances, the concern for the Galatians and the concern for the Colossians focused on the truths of what the truth of the gospel because with the Colossian heresy. 11. Nothing less, than the truth of the gospel was at stake, as was the case among the Galatians, we heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel which is come to you as it has also in all the world and is bringing forth fruit as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth, as you learned it from a path for us, our dear fellow servant who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, who declared also declared to us your love in the spirit that marks the end of the second paragraph in verse eight, and where I'm going to stop this morning because in verse nine and following. Paul immediately begins to address the problems that have arisen in the Colossian heresy, but again what Paul is concerned about here is the truth of the gospel and the fruit that it brings in Luther's day one of the criticisms that was made against Martin Luther was this Luther your big concern is about doctrine, why not you show more concern about the behavior of people. This is one of the criticisms of Erasmus Rasmussen would written the praise of Folly assist miracle critique of the immorality and corruption of the Roman clergy of his day. Luther said Erasmus is attacked the Pope in his belly. I've attacked them in his doctrine. And Luther said if you check among us among the so-called Lutherans, Protestants, you will find professing Christians with corrupt manners and immoral behavior, which is a terrible thing. It's an abomination Luther understood. You can have the doctrine right and never have right living, but he also understood. You can never expect right living without first having the truth of God correctly understood true fruit of the gospel comes from a true understanding of what the gospel is and what it requires. And so it's a false dichotomy to divorce behavior from doctors and never in the history of church and my judgment has doctrine been more under attack as being worthless than it is today for pizza doctrine divides what we need are relationships, nevermind about doctrine, because all doctrine does is create splits and citizens and all the rest. It doesn't matter if doctrine didn't matter.
I don't think your New Testament would include more than three pages because 99.9% of the New Testament is written to give us truths about the gospel and that the apostolic epistles, particularly, just as we've seen in our series of Romans how much of the pistol Romans is doctrinal in nature before we ever get to the practical application this chapter after chapter after chapter where Paul is saying understand the gospel. And if you do understand the gospel. Then we get to the therefore the application the bearing the fruit that comes from the truths of the gospel. So this is at the heart of his concern in his epistle to the Colossians whisper in our father and our God. We thank you for the words comes to us from the apostle Paul we know and trust was authorized by Christ himself, and that the words that he gives to us or your words. We can trust him and we pray that we may listen to them with the same attentiveness that the members of the church at the Colossians would've turned so that we not following the same errors that fill them, and pray that the truth of the gospel may be made clear among us, and we issue people with foods asking the men Paul's admonition to the Colossians that goes through the centuries and applies directly to us. We too must understand the gospel and then apply those truths that we find there.
This classic message was taught by RC Sproul nearly 20 years ago and it's never air before here on Renewing Your Mind grateful that you joined us on this Monday as we kickoff a full week of special messages like this from our archives will be heard today as part of a large library of messages reserved for litigators ministry partners is a good example of the expert discipleship resources that are made available to those who commit to support leaders gospel outreach on a monthly basis. There steady, dependable, giving means that this teaching continues to expand and reach more people year after year and is our way of saying thank you. We provide extra resources to our partners each month including the messages you're hearing this week so would you consider becoming a ministry partner and committing to a monthly gift of $25 or more. When you do the message we heard today titled faith, hope and love will be available in your learning library online along with the entire ministry partner library and that includes exclusive monthly messages will also receive table talk magazine every month along with discounts to attend look in your conferences and events. Exclusive resource offers and a copy of the Reformation study Bible, you can sign up today when you go to Renewing Your Mind.org/Parker or when you call us here at Liggett near our number is 800-435-4343 those we witness all that's going on around this political and cultural turmoil just the challenges of everyday life, finding peace is difficult to find peace slipping away from your soul and you find turmoil rocking your spirit to the principal case and remind yourself inheritance of who it is that only through who it is who is adopted to into his family. I hope you'll join us tomorrow as Dr. Spruill provides more encouragement from Paul's letter to the Colossians next Tuesday on Renewing Your Mind