The Working of God (Colossians 2:11-15)

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Certainly a pleasure to have this last minute addition B opportunity, the opportunity to be able to be before you today. I’m just thankful to be at this lectureship. I know that the Florida school of preaching has done tremendous work for so many years, and I’m thankful to be able to sit at the feet of all of the other speakers this week, getting to meet some of the graduates that I didn’t even know necessarily had.

There’s a covenant relationship between man and God. It was both a physical and a spiritual act, but as Forrest points out in his manuscript down the road somewhere, man started only doing the physical act of circumcision and began to stop doing the spiritual act that was required. And so in Jeremiah chapter four and verses three and four, verse four, especially Jeremiah is told to those people that they needed to circumcise their hearts.

They needed to get back to the Lord. It wasn’t enough to just make something physical. It’s not enough to make a physical stand if I’m not going to make a spiritual stand as well. And the problem in our world today is we have so many people concerned about the physical life that they’re living, and they’re not concerned about the spiritual and God never intended for circumcision to only be deemed as a physical act.

It was always intended to be both spiritual and physical together. The physical can never and will never be able to save man. And no matter how many times man has to do that, he has always been in failure. When he sought to do those things from a physical side only, it was not just the physical act of building an arc that saved Noah.

No, he needed to build an arc. We know that, but it wasn’t just the idea of building an arc would be what saved him. It was not just the physical act that we find of name and being saved by simply going into the river Jordan, that wasn’t all that he was required to do. It was not just the physical act of David going to fight Goliath that would give him victory that day.

In fact, when we look at all of those three instances, it was obedience, faith, and a desire to do his will. That gave them salvation. That’s what God intended for circumcision to represent an opportunity to be obedient, to show faith and obey the will. That has been set before man, somewhere along the line, man got away from doing that.

And we have the problems that we have today, mainly because we stopped seeking the spiritual and simply sought the physical. I want you to look at verse 11 with me now, as we provide the context of what we’re talking about here though, and Colossians two and verse 11, it says in him, you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands,

by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ. So we have a greater circumcision than that, which was established in Genesis chapter 17 and why? Well, in the first place, we have a greater circumcision because it’s not accomplished by human hands. When you and I look at that Greek word forest puts in his manuscript,

that the Greek word there literally means it’s not made by human hands and is used only three times in the new Testament. The word is used to describe the superior temple of Jesus’s resurrected body and mark 14 in verse 58, the eternal dwelling place Christians have with God and heaven. Second Corinthians five and verse one, and the superior Christian circumcision Colossians two in verse 11,

man can not do this. We got to stop putting it all in man’s hands in our culture today. It’s all about what man can do for us and not anymore about what God can do. But we’re told that the salvation that we have is accomplished not through human hands and therefore we have a greater circumcision than that of Genesis 17, 10 through 11,

but we have a greater circumcision, secondly, because it gives us the accomplishment over the greatest problem with Abraham. When Abraham became a circumcised individual, when that covenant relationship began, and that was a practice that would be carried out all the way throughout the old Testament. It did not abolish sin. Couldn’t hope to do it. In fact, were found in Romans chapter seven,

that the sin that we find plaguing our world was something that man could not be forgiven of by that old law. And therefore we needed an accomplishment greater than what was currently available to us. And all along God is working. God is getting to the point where we can truly have that victory over sin. That victory over death is first Corinthians 15 talks about because Jesus took our place because Jesus died so that we wouldn’t have to.

And we have a greater circumcision because of that crucifixion. But in the third place, we have a greater circumcision because it’s accomplished by the great physician. I can think of no one greater to fix my problems spiritually than the greatest physician that’s ever lived than the greatest physician that has ever walked on this earth. I go to the doctor quite a bit. I have a medical condition called Crohn’s disease,

and thankfully I’ve been in remission going on two years now, but I still go see my doctors. And though I would tell you, my doctors are some of the best in my state and if not the world, I still have problems. And those doctors cannot fix every problem that I have. No amount of medicine can do it, no amount of therapy and all of these other things.

Some of the problems that I have are just going to be here and I’m going to have to deal with them. But when I go approach the great physician, he never tells me here’s your problem. But unfortunately we just can’t fix it. Unfortunately, we just can’t find a cure. No Jesus told me that there was a cure and that circumcision not made by hands was accomplished by the great physician and truly accomplished what he promised that it would not one thing that he said he would accomplish.

Did he leave this earth? Having not fulfilled? The only thing that we know that we’re still looking toward is that judgment day, that’s it. Jesus promised my sins would be forgiven and they have been, he promised that I could have eternal life if I live for him. And if I do that, I will, he accomplished what he set out to do.

But in the second place where we really want to spend the majority of our time, the working of God is not just simply putting off the old man it’s putting on the new man. I know new year’s resolutions are a tricky thing because we all kind of get into our heads that we are going to accomplish something. And oftentimes we sit down and we make up a resolution in our mind that we can obtain.

And sometimes we’re smart about it and we set a goal that’s realistic. And other times we set a goal that we can’t keep because it’s not very realistic. And it’s always interesting around the first of the year to see all of the different posts on Facebook and text message conversations and people talking over at the cubicles at work about all of the things that they’re going to accomplish in the new year.

And here we are, some 17 days later, and many of this world has already given up on what they promise that they would fulfill. And do you can’t just say that you’re going to do something. If you and die, won’t do it. One of the things that bothers me the most about anything, whether it’s a leader, whether it’s someone that I know,

whether it’s someone, a doctor, whatever, don’t tell me that you can do something for me. If you genuinely cannot fulfill that. And imagine God’s looking at all of the people in this world and multiple times throughout the year, people will say, God, I’m going to finally start living for you. God, this is the time I’m ready to make that determination and nothing changes.

And eventually he has to be thinking, right. This is the time. Huh? What about the other times? What about the times that you promised? What about that time when you were at your worst and you said, God, no more. I am finally done doing these things that have put me in this position, but then your friends came calling depression set in.

Maybe you dealt with some type of difficulty and you folded. And God at a certain point has got to look at us and say, when will we actually put off the old man and put on the new man? And when you and I look at Colossians chapter two in verse 12, we find that the old man’s dead and he needs to stay dead.

And they new man must rise. When you look at verse number 12, it says buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith, in the working of God who raised him from the dead. So we are risen, risen because someone took our place. I don’t know what it’s like to be on a transplant list,

hoping and waiting for someone to fulfill that need that I have so desperately, but I know that there are so many people in our world right now that are hoping for a transplant of some sort. And in many cases only to be told, they’re not going to get one. Perhaps the time for them to have one is passed and their body will no longer be able to handle it the way that they’d hoped or perhaps there’s just no one around that can give them what they need and they’re not going to get what they so desperately desire.

Then I also am reminded of the little boy who had a twin brother and he had a very serious medical condition, small children. And the doctor said that the brother could donate some blood to help save his twin brother’s life. And so they told this little boy about what they needed from him. And the story goes that he’s quoted as having said, how long will it take for me to die?

And they said, what do you mean for you to die? W well, if you’re going to take my blood, how long will it take? After all of my blood is gone for me to pass away and they quickly realized their mistake. And they said, no, no, we’re not talking about all of your blood. We’re talking about a portion that we need to help save your brother’s life.

We don’t need all of it, but that little boy was willing to die for his brother. And you could say that his brother deserved it because they were family. You could say that his brother deserved it because he was innocent. You could say a multitude of things that would give him the deserving, right, to be able to continue life. Now look at us and what gives me the right to continue living.

Every step I take on this earth is a step that I do not deserve every moment that I have every opportunity that is given to me as a opportunity and moment and step that I don’t deserve because Michael Clark deserves death. No doubt about it. And so do all of you. And if we don’t get our heads around the fact that, that old man who didn’t do us any favors,

who didn’t take care of anything for us, except putting us into a situation where we deserved punishment than the working of God will not be what God intended it to be. I cannot cling to what I once had instead of taking what’s right there. And it’s desired and commanded for me to take, I am risen because someone took my place, but I’m risen.

Secondly, because we were put to death, we found out that we were the walking dead. If you will, as Ephesians chapter two talks about walking in our trespasses. And we eventually realized that we needed to be put to death. That old man had to go. That’s what Romans chapter six verses three through six is talking about that the old man needed to be done away with.

And a new man had to come through. And in order to rise, what has to happen when you’ve got to be knocked down? Right? I watched the Rocky movies growing up and then they came out with a newer movies recently called creed. And in that first movie, back in 2015, Michael B. Jordan who plays the character Adonis creed while he was on set,

one day was told by still Sylvester Stallone, you got to take a real punch in order to be in the Rocky franchise. And there is actual video of Michael B. Jordan getting clocked by an actual heavyweight type champion boxer. And that boy hit the canvas so fast. And for a while they said that they thought he had some pretty severe damage because he didn’t get up.

But in all of the Rocky, you know, what’s the same theme rise, get off the canvas and keep fighting, but he had to be knocked down in order for him to get back up. And the thing that is so beautiful about putting that old man away is we make the conscious decision to get rid of him. No one does it for me.

I have to decide that enough is enough and put him down so I can rise up as a new individual. So I can be what God wanted me to be. But I’m risen in the third place because someone showed me, victory was possible. I am a, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Like my dad, please pray for us. We’re dealing with a pretty bad loss right now.

Not only did we get embarrassed last night, but our quarterback’s done after 17 good seasons. And so we have no idea what we’re going to do, but you know, my dad told me when I told him that I wasn’t really looking forward to not having a quarterback that I could depend on. He said, you know, son, I went from 1979 until 1995,

before we made another super bowl and we lost. And then I went from 1995 until 2005, when we finally won another championship. And do you know how many quarterbacks I saw during that tenure? We had no constant. And someone finally came along and showed us that he was a winning quarterback. And he showed us that winning again in Pittsburgh was possible from a sports perspective.

That means nothing. That’s it really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things though, I’m happy that we had a good quarterback and a good team. But when I look at my life, I am a franchise that had no victory. I had nothing waiting for me, no success. And finally the savior Jesus Christ came and said, no, no,

you can win. You can win. If you’ll just let me take over. That’s what I’m supposed to do. Risen because someone showed me that victory was possible. But finally here at verse 12 risen, because someone raised us, someone said, you can get out of that watery grave of baptism. It was a little boy wanted to play church. And after the sermon that I preached,

which I thought was a masterpiece, by the way, I told my father, it was time for him to come forward and we had a blue sleeping bag. And so we laid that blue sleeping bag out on the floor. And I said, why have you responded as if he had made that decision himself? And he said, well, I imagine I’d like to be baptized.

And I said, okay, well, we can take care of that. So I brought him over and I bought it and put him down onto that blue sleeping bag as if it was the water. And then I just kind of held him there and I held him there and I held him there and he started acting like he was drowning. And I said,

oh, I got to bring you back up. I forgot about that part. Do you know that while we are in the watery grave of baptism, that’s when we access death, that’s when we’re put to death. What if Jesus said that we couldn’t rise, he could have, he could have made that determination. That death is what we deserved and therefore you just need to die.

But instead he brought us back up. And so we’re risen. Verse 12, verse 13, we are alive now and thriving in verse 13, it says, and you being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he has made a life together with him having forgiven you all trespasses. So we’re forgiven, which is the difference from being an outcast.

I am a citizen of the kingdom of God. What better place to have citizenship? I could have been an outcast, but instead I was given the right, the privilege to enter in I’m forgiven, which is a difference from being hopeless. I wasn’t guaranteed hope, but it was given to me, nonetheless. And the only reason that it was is because I’ve been crucified with Christ.

Nevertheless, I live, it is no longer I who lives, but it’s Christ who lives in me. There’s my hope. But I am forgiven because of something I didn’t deserve, which is a difference from being sentenced. I went away for about three weeks, back in 2013 to Cape town. South Africa was a wonderful trip. And before I left, my tags had expired by like a week.

And I left and went on that mission trip for three weeks. And I came back and six months later, I am driving down the road and blue lights come on. I think that doesn’t seem to be a good thing, but let’s pull over and see what happens. I didn’t think I was speeding and think I’d broken any laws. And the police officer came and I rolled the window down and he says,

Mr. Clark, do you know why I pulled you over? And I was smart enough to say, no, sir, I didn’t guess you guess they’re going to give you another ticket. Probably. Was it the speeding or was it when I ran through that red light? Which one was it? But I told him, no, sir, I have no clue.

What did I do wrong? And he says, well, your tags are expired. And I thought, oh, they must have just recently run out. And he said, and they’re six months expired. I said, oh. And he said, you’re going to have to go to court. And so I went to court, I had gotten my tags,

renewed, everything was in order. And I’m standing before the judge. And there were these clerks that were sitting around him. And the judge was saying, you know, Mr. Clark, I can’t remember the last time that I remembered to check the back of my license plate to see if my tags were up to date. And one of these clerks started to almost debate against him to get me in trouble.

And she said, I check all the time and I’m over here thinking, man, would you please be quiet while we’re doing this procedures? I would really appreciate that. And he said, Mr. Clark, I also can’t think of the last time that I checked the mail for the little thing that comes in the mail to tell your tags are expired.

She goes, mom came in last week and I’m not kidding. I really wanted to tell her, but ultimately who was in control, but the judge, you know what the judge told me, Mr. Clark, your tags are renewed. Everything’s in order, you’re free to go. Could have been sentenced with a fine, that judge could have said, you know what?

Mr Wipper snapper, I’m going to tell you exactly what you need to learn right now. It’s a hard lesson in life called responsibility. And I’m going to hit you with the hardest penalty that I can. And instead he showed mercy. He gave me the opportunity to move on in life without being punished. And it was a small thing. The tags being expired.

I stand before the throne of Christ as a murderer. And so do you, I stand before the throne of Christ, having crucified the son of God, who did no wrong, and God still looks at me and says, here’s what you deserve. But Jesus raises his hand and says, no, no, he has an advocate. He’s free. He’s forgiven.

Instead of sentenced, that is a wonderful blessing. But in verse 14, I’m told that I’m free verse 14 says having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us, and he has taken it out of the way. Having nailed it to the cross, I am free by having someone else pay my debt. You know,

there is nothing greater in life and go into a restaurant with someone and they pick up the bill. That’s a wonderful night. Someone had to pay my debt for me because I couldn’t pay it myself. I’m free in the second place because I have a law that is more about faithfulness now than about perfection. Romans chapter seven is one of my favorite chapters in all of the new Testament.

But one of the reasons that it is is verses 20 through 25 tells me that it’s not about perfection anymore. That’s what the old law required man to be. And men couldn’t do it. Man was incapable of being perfect. And so now we have given a better law from God, to us, the opportunity for faithful living instead of perfect living, I am a faithful husband,

but I wouldn’t lie and tell you that I’m a perfect husband. My wife would tell you the same thing from both me and about her. She’s a faithful wife, but she’s not a perfect wife. That’s not what it’s about. And as a Christian, I am free from having to be held accountable to a law that I’m not going to be able to keep.

And so he gave me a law that we could keep be faithful, but I’m free by having the demands of the law abolished Forrest wrote in his manuscript that the law was crucified with Christ. When Jesus Christ rose from the grave, the law of Moses did not rise with him. It stayed dead through his son. God did for us what we could never do for ourselves,

obey the law perfectly and fulfill it, making it obsolete. And finally, verse 15, Forrest writes about this verse. A question remains, who are these powers and authorities, most likely this was a reference to some sort of evil, spiritual beings to whom we are not entirely privy. The same powers. And authorities are mentioned in the sister of pistol of Ephesians with more details,

Ephesians 6, 12, 1 23, 21, 3 verses 11 and 10, and first Corinthians 1524. And he says, we must remember that Christians were once again, we’re once in the domain of darkness, but were transferred to the kingdom of God’s son and the cross of Christ demonstrated once. And for all that, these powers and authorities were actually weak. And the legitimate God had succeeded through the cross of Christ and saving the souls of man and proving once.

And for all that, his son bears the name that is above every name. And so in conclusion, in the words of the writer of the manuscript and the original speaker, he writes this overall in Colossians two 11 through 15, the immeasurable greatness of God’s power toward us who believe according to the working of his great might is put on display. God has done for the Christian with no person could do for himself.

God has circumcised. Our inner man without hands raised us with Christ in baptism, brought us from spiritual death to spiritual life, forgiven us, all our trespasses, expunged our debt by the nailing of the law, to the cross and guaranteed our victory over the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, we should strive to let no.

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Speaker:
Forest Antemesaris
Title:
The Working of God (Colossians 2:11-15)
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