Chelmsford Anglican Bible Conference 2015 #CABC15

17 Oct

Back again with a sort of live blog from the day at Chelmsford Central Baptist Church.
This year’s theme is “Colossians: The Uniqueness of Christ” with Pete Sanlon leading our sessions.

Session 1 – Christ’s Supremacy and the Race before us

Colossians 1:1-23

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 

To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; 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, which has 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 also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

We are told that Hugh Latimer once declare that the hardest working bishop in the Church is Satan. He meant that the World has a message, one that is in constant conflict with the truth of who Jesus is. It always tries to downplay who Jesus is, but Paul is always clear that Christ is supreme.

We are reminded of the fallacy that people often bring up, that Paul invented Christianity. A book by David Wenham, “Paul: Follower of Jesus or Founder of Christianity”, which counters and discredits that argument, but it it is an idea that continues to come up.

Pauls message is all about telling people about Jesus, who Jesus is and what He has done.

In v 3-14 Paul writes about prayer for the race that Christians run for the Colossians, how to start the race and how to continue on in the race.

Paul says that we need to be praying for those who run the race. That we support fellow Chistians in their walk of faith in prayer. In a world where people often decide to download sermons, rather than go to church, in doing this they remove themselves from the sphere of prayers in the Church. We need to look after those that are starting the journey, but make sure we continue to pray for and support them as the continue. So often Chistians can find themselves attending church, being a part of their church life and worship, yet when something relating to their family or social life challenges their theology, they can find they are led astray, either in what they believe or from Church itself. We need to pray for people at all stages of the race, start, beginning and end.

In v 15-23 Paul looks at Christ’s supremacy and how it relates to the world and the Church. It shows that we need to remember that Jesus is in control. Not just in control by being able to choose when things happen, but in control of every atom and molecule. “In Him all things were created” tells us that He created everything, alongside the Father. While Christ uses others to do certain things, such as ministers, preachers etc, but He remains in control. The world is always trying to tell us that Jesus is not in control, but we need to hold on to the fact that Jesus Is supreme.

   
  
Session 2 – Christ’s Supremacy and the Work to be doneColossians 1:15-2:5

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 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, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 

Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

Peter, reflecting on some words of St Anselm, points out that no matter how amazing we think God is, He is moreso.

In Christ we find the fullness of God is present, not where the world thinks to see it, but in the baby in a manager, in the house of sinners and on the Cross. And it is through this recognition of Christ as God that we see  differ from other faiths. We pray to Christ as God, not seeing Him as a prophet or a good teacher.

And, because He is God, His death has cosmic significance. And because He is God, His death is able to bring reconciliation beaten Man and God. And, as God, He is the one whose power is turned to the task of sharing the Gospel, our job is to allow Him to do that and join in where He leads us.

Paul talks about the work he is involved in, sharing his ministry with his readers to show how Christ is supreme in all he does. This is a regular theme for Paul, always changing what he talks about to refer to the theme of the letter at hand.

We are called to exalt suffering. Not ours, however, but Christ’s. “Christ in me, the King of Glory” – the response is always pointing to Christ, not ourselves.

Paul seeks to move us from a knowledge of Christ as supreme to an experience of Christ as supreme.

  
Session 3 – Christ’s Supremacy and dangers ahead

Colossians 2:6-23

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. 

Beware 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. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

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, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 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. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. 

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. 

Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Do we really know what is driving us in our ministry’s? It should be Christ, but is it always the case form used?

When we grow we should grow into Christ, rather than away from Him.

The problem with being deceived by the world is that we don’t know we are being deceived! This is why Paul reminds his readers about all that Jesus has done.

Paul also points out that any reliance on traditions of religiosity is false. They can do nothing for us, as Christ has already done all that can be done. Equally, we need to be aware of ourselves, so we don’t get caught up in super spirituality. It can lead to us being disconnected from Christ.

   
 Session 4 – Christ’s Supremacy and driving lessons

Colossians 3:1-4:18

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 

Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. 

Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 

Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.

Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 

Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here. 

Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him), and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me. 

Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis. Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you. Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house.

Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” 

This salutation by my own hand—Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.

The supremacy of Christ must change us if it really matters to us.

Change means death. A death of our earthly nature, the sins of the appetite.

When we teach the Bible, we can be prone to the attitude of wanting to be right, which can lead to us responding in anger when people say something that we believe to be wrong. Yet Paul has said that this is something that we are to put behind us, for it is not a godly way to be. If we open ourselves to Christ and His supremacy, these things that we have previously been enslaved to are put to death as we turn our focus to Christ’s ways.

We must clothe ourselves in the new clothes that Christ gives us.

We are called to work together. PAUL IS VERY CLEAR ABOUT THIS, BY POINTING OUT WHAT PEOPLE ARE DOING ANDWHAT THEY WILL BE DOING. HE SHARES INFO WITH THEM ABOUT WHAT OTHER CHURCHES HAVE BEEN DOING AND HOW WHAT IS BEING DONE RELATES TO THEM AT A PERSONAL LEVEL, LIKE SAYING THAT they are being prayed for..

   
 

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