“And this I say unto you lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.”
The subjects of wisdom, understanding and knowledge are continually addressed by the servant of God to the ‘sacred ones’ in Colosse. He had been through the area at least twice where he was given to preach the power of God unto salvation but it is unclear that he ever met any of these consecrated ones (saints). This region was greatly entrenched in the Greek and Roman mythologies as men strove to find their peace through the teachings of natural philosophies and various theologies. The called out assemblies struggled with the baggage that they had grown up in yet they were “established in faith and increased in number daily” (Acts 16:5). When the Spirit began Paul’s journey to Jerusalem, where he would be bound and delivered unto Caesar, he went through the area again “strengthening all the disciplines” (18:23). Now as a prisoner of Caesar, the Spirit directs his words to this band of strangers and sojourners in a weary land.
The abundance of humanistic philosophies and natural superstitions, from which the brethren were brought forth, were constant sources of confusion within the assemblies. Some were drawn into the attempt to earn and display righteousness by obedience to the shadows and patterns even after being given a hope of deliverance by grace. Others sought to bring the doctrines of Messiah onto an ‘equal footing’ with the ideologies of the learned scholars of the time. These endeavoured to explain the wonders of the mystery of God in philosophical terms and carnal rhetoric. These fleshly attempts to ‘know God’ did not edify the assembly but rather led to confusions, strifes and divisions.
The petition before the throne of grace for these little flocks was that they would “be filled with the knowledge of His will with all wisdom and spiritual understanding. That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering; giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints of light” (Col. 1:9ff). The gospel of Jesus Christ is exactly that; His glad tidings. It is not the latest rendition of the labours and struggles of man or the reciting of conquests and victories. Nor is it the ability of man to explain the mysteries of the universe and the Creator with logic, mysticisms or ‘enticing words’. The praise and honour is unto Yehovah of Hosts for all that he has done in, for and through His people.
The faith and order of the local called out assembly is as contrary to the ways of man as the Spirit is to the flesh. She lives by faith as the members of the true body endure the contradiction of sin against themselves. The intrusion of the mind and logic of Adam, the leaven of the Feast of Fifty Days (Pentecost), is abrupt and abrasive. It proceeds from the deception of the pride of man, labours for that which perishes and delights in the sensual pleasures of the body. It is self-preserving and territorial as the mind of man strives to justify himself for all his worth, vindicate his actions as necessary and elevate his status above his fellow man as he announces; “come see MY zeal for the Lord”.
The doctrine of the Salvation of Yehovah denounces the teaching and understanding of man as foolishness before His throne. The indwelling Spirit of God demonstrates to the children born from above a daily reminder of the inadequacies of the carnal labours and the impotence of the arm of the flesh. He is pleased, according to His great love, to manifest the presence of sin in the members of Adam and the bondage of corruption that the daughters of Zion have been made subject unto. The testimony of the Spirit then is that of a finished work and the absolute security of the children in the Beloved as the body of this death labours in the struggles of the time of this habitation.
Language is the manner in which we are given to communicate our thoughts to one another. The inherent nature of this communication is completely flawed because it relies upon the abilities of expression by the speaker and the understanding and reception of the hearer. The words which are spoken can only be rightly interpreted and applied in the context of the expression and the manner and intent in which they are spoken. The servant of the Most High God addresses His people with the exact words which are necessary and needful to express the truth apart from any attributes of the flesh.
Every member of the body of the Anointed is inseparably joined together as one. Nothing can move them from their assigned place in the body nor alter their purpose. The attributes and inherent nature of this spiritual body is pure and holy with the understanding of the mind of the Anointed completely perfect in all things. The new creature knows the mysteries of the Creator, the children know the mystery of the Father and the members in particular all know the Anointing of the Spirit of God. They are safely established firm and sure in “him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the wise God and Savior, glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever, amen” (Jude 24).
Adam, however, is drawn like the moth to the flame after the things of this world. The logical explanations of man, in his own words, of his concepts of God make for interesting reading and contemplation to the carnal mind. Impressive vocabularies, humorous anecdote and skillfully rehearsed arguments are the tools used to sooth the itching ears of the populous. Damnable accusations and virulent aspersions against all that is unknown holds the audience in fear as the logic of the children of the dust makes good sense to the natural ears. The ability to pontificate upon such lofty matters elevates the learned teachers high above the common clave of society, stroking the Adamic ego and, like the festering dung of the compost, causes the vile nature of man to blossom and grow.
This is not a casual conversation between people of the common experiences in their lives nor is it the inquiring concerns of one who would help. These are the calculated ambitions of the children of the god of this world whereby they deceive by reason the little flock as they struggle with the warfare within. Just as Yehovah God sent the wicked one to provoke David to number the nation of Israel (I Chr. 21:1) and gave His servant Paul a messenger of Satan to buffet him, lest he be exalted above measure (II Cor. 12:7) so the Lord brings into His called out assemble those whose intention and purpose it is to confuse and “circumvent through persuasive argument”. This circumvention is manifested in the attempt to, like their brothers the Pharisees, make the ways of God more palatable to the taste, easy upon the ears and sensible to the understanding of Adam.
Even though Paul may have never met these saints yet he knew that this was an ever present occurrence in the local assemblies as the traditions and customs of man were taught by the flesh as the doctrines of God. The doctrine and order of the church of Jesus Christ is in Him without spot or blemish and no man can ever approach unto the perfection of holiness. The nature of Adam is to the justifications of his ways, the acceptance of his works and his ability to explain this to his fellow man. Adam in the garden demonstrated his deception by reason when he told God that it was not his fault but that of the woman which God had given him. King Saul attempted to justify his disobedience to the commandment of God by blaming the people of Israel and saying that the end justified the means (I Sam. 15:21), the people of Israel told the prophet Jeremiah, “we are delivered to do all these abominations” (7:10) and Paul himself, being shown his corruption in Adam by the Spirit of God, said, “If then I do that which I would not I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it but sin that dwells within me” (Rms. 7:16).
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ” (2:8).
Since the natural man cannot not know or receive the things of the spirit it is impossible for the natural man to explain these hidden wonders. The children of the King have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world and when it pleased the Father to reveal this unto them they became aware of this wonder. They neither asked nor earned His grace and there was nothing in the natural man that facilitated this birth from above. In this same manner the Israel of God walks in the light of the Lord, not by might, nor by strength but by the Spirit of Holiness, because they are rooted and built up in Him, who is the everlasting Father, and they are established firm and sure in Him whose name is Faithful and True. They act according to their eternal spiritual nature in the Beloved as they render the sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise unto God. Adam hates this and lusting after it constantly questioning the reality of God and the substance of His Word.
This warning to the saints is not an accusation against the wicked of the world who occupy the time of their habitation in the lasciviousness of the world, this is a warning of those who give the appearance of righteousness. These are they who receive the word and spring up but had no deepness of earth and they who receive the word among the thorns but were soon choked out (Matt.13). These both gave evidence of life but desiring the name without the right “follow in the ways of Cain and run greedily after the error of Balaam fro reward and perish in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds without water, carried about of winds, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waters of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 12).
These are ravenous wolves that are given to enter into the assembly to disperse the flock, cause divisions and breed confusion. They speak of the love of the brethren but are more concerned with the traditions of the history of man and their venerated practices. Doctrine becomes a secondary element as they draw the eyes of the people after the success and grandeur of other religious institutions while faith and order are excused for the peace of the whole. They seek to carry off captive those who are called by the name of Yehovah into the camp of the taskmasters who call themselves by the names of Zion.
The feeble sheep of the pasture of the Lord have been delivered from the bondage of the types and foreshadows of the week and beggarly elements. They are complete in Him who is the fullness of God. They have no need for the circumcision made with the polluted hands of man for they have the circumcision of the heart. This is what Moses commanded the children of Israel was absolutely essential for the keeping of the Law of God (Deut. 10:16) and promised that Yehovah God would perform in and for each of His children (30:6), ensuring that they do keep it perfectly. This is the new heart of the covenant, not like the one made in the wilderness which was broken before it was delivered to the people. They have no need for the washings of the waters of this temporal corrupt earth for, though they scrub with the harshest of soaps and bathe continually, only the shed blood of the Lamb can wash away the sin of Adam.
Therefore they have been buried with Him in the baptism of His death and burial and have been raised up again unto newness of life in Him. He has removed the handwriting of ordinances that was against them, the heart of stone, for by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. He fulfilled the Law in all righteousness and took the ministration of condemnation out of the way, nailing it to His cross. His power, His majesty and His glory has spoiled all principalities and powers and He has made an open shew of them, triumphing over them in His resurrection. He, being the Alpha is the first and primary of all things. He is the firstborn from the dead and the first born of many brethren, therefore He is the first resurrection and all His people being raised up together in Him have part in the first resurrection. They have overcome all things and they shall not be hurt by the second death (Rev.2:11) and the second death has no power (20:6).
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body of Christ” (2:16).
Man loves rituals because they give structure and order to their lives. Sudden changes or omissions of the daily rituals lead to hesitation and confusion as the natural mind tries to adjust to that which is not normal. The earthen vessel and the natural man of the child of grace is no different. When the Father reveals Himself in a chosen vessel, He also has ordained a sometimes long process whereby He reveals the vile and worthless habits and rituals of this life. The one who has been steeped in these traditions is not quick to discard the old and straightway desire the new, for after they have drunk well of the old wine they say, the old is better (Luke 5:39). Those who have had no structure of religious demonstrations in their lives quickly adhere to the teaching of man which attempt to manifest their faith by their works to show forth their zeal for the Lord.
Thusly the tares of duty faith doctrine are planted, by the wicked one, in the corruption of Edom and they grow next to the wheat of the Lord (Matt. 13:24). Man looks at the tare and criticizes the quality of the zeal by the height, colour and aroma of the plant in comparison with all other tares. The standard for the perfection of the tares is judged in that which is visible while the wheat is completely ignored. The anathemas and castigations of the world are heard by the ears of Adam, and so, rather than being left out or accused of being odd, different or peculiar, the natural man exhibits his natural ways by running after the things of this world. This again is the testimony of the Spirit within a child of grace of the wretchedness of the body of this death.
“Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels in intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head...”( 2:18).
The vast libraries of the writings and teachings of man as he attempts to unravel the mysteries of God are as old as the written word. Man has been using this diminutive and limited understanding as the litmus test of all that is true and of all that are of the truth. Paul was witness to the report of the faith of these sacred ones and the manifestation of that faith in their love one for another. He did not ask for a long dissertation of doctrine because he knew that if they be of the Father then they are taught of His Spirit in all things through the measure of faith dealt unto each one. He did not send off an emissary to make sure that they were all on the same page for he knew that if they were indeed of the body, then they were one, of the same mind and all spoke the same things. He sent to them this word of comfort for the edification of the body as he spoke of the experience of common salvation and like precious faith.
Yet he also knew that the allurement of knowledge and understanding is a potent drug that beckons to the pride of the flesh. Even today those who would present themselves as ‘teachers in Israel’ will flaunt their understanding of ancient languages, rare writings and the mysteries of God as they call out to the pilgrims of Zion to come and follow them to the promised land. They are given to appeal to the natural abilities of man within the reasoning of that which can be seen. They sneer at the idea of faith, laugh at hope and dismiss endurance as childish and weak as they embellish reports of labours, exaggerate success by numbers and point to that which can been seen as proof of eternal life. These are the identifying characteristics of the doctrine of Adam and the number of man; “herein is wisdom; let him that has understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man” (Rev. 13:18).
The head of the body is Christ and all the body is joined together as one in Him. Every joint and band, having been nourished by the ministering spirits of God, being knit together, and fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love (Eph. 4:26) with the increase of God. The doctrine of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah is the completed work of the Servant of God for the unity of the body. As He is One and in Him is the fullness of God so the body is One, without dissemination. There is no room for the accolades of Adam or the accomplishments of the clay pots. The axe and the saw have nothing wherein they may glory before the One who is worthy of all praise and honour as they stand submissively before His will awaiting the hand of the master to perform the intent of His heart. The reward of the instrument is in the labour performed by the Master as he designed, prepared and utilized it according to the good pleasure of His will. This is the earthen vessels afore prepared of the Potter for use according to His design in the house, one unto honour and another unto dishonour.
The reward of the child of grace is the inheritance of God. He has given His children the kingdom of heaven and has set their affections on the things from above. They long to return to their Father’s house, Jerusalem which is above, to hear the songs of Zion and to call upon His name with in the pure language. They know they shall be rid of the stammering tongue, the weakness of the flesh as with untrammeled eye they shall see the beauty of His Holiness and sing His praises forever. His kingdom is not of this world for if it were His servants would rise up and fight to protect and retain it but it is not from hence (John 18:36). His people are in the world yet they are not of the world, therefore the world hates them, and His called out assembly walks and lives by that which cannot be seen. This indeed is a peculiar people, who can know them?
“Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship and humility and neglecting of the body, not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh” (2:23).
The ways and means of the commandments and doctrines of man look good, sound pleasing and bring forth instant gratification to man. The mindset of Adam equates increase with accuracy and fruitfulness with faithfulness as he esteems his worth through that which can be seen or felt. The Spirit of God bears witness that these things shall perish and grow old like a garment and the hope therein shall be found empty.
Adam may indeed be endowed with the ability to accurately judge the things of this world, for; “the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light” (Luke 16:8) but he knows nothing of the kingdom of Light. The ways of man delight in the darkness because the deeds of man are evil. He sees in the darkness and judges according to his blindness to the truth. He is not qualified to act as an ‘umpire’ to rule over, either pro or con, the things of the Spirit for he has not the mind of God yet he has been created with the insatiable desire to attempt exactly that.
Herein is his deception in the pride of his heart manifested as he occupies his efforts and labours for the wind. He has been created the elder and his duty is to serve the younger. He has no right or authority to rule over the child of promise but as a tool at the builder’s disposal, the earthen vessel serves the purpose to which he was intended. Herein he cries out for his worth saying, “Lord, Lord” as he presents the laundry list of accomplishments (Matt. 7:21) and herein he argues his righteousness by ignorance (Matt. 25:41). This is the witness of the Spirit of God to the children of hope in Him, the hope of glory.
The Spirit within the child of grace does not groan because of the wickedness in the world but because of the vanity and corruption of the flesh. The natural eyes are drawn like Peter after the winds and the waves (Matt. 14:30), the pride of man runs after contentions and strife (I Cor. 1:11) and wars and fightings come from the lusts that war in the members (James 4:1). These things daily beset the house of the King because of the tabernacle of this dwelling which causes them to earnestly await the manifestation of the sons of God. The natural evidences of the ability of man, as ordained of the will of God, catch the attention and entice the natural mind but they vex the soul of the righteous, for it is the Spirit, not man or his world, which bears witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God.
The reward of the children of Zion is the Kingdom of God, which is not of this world. Adam is of this world yet the sum of his wisdom cannot comprehend the wonders of this Kingdom, neither can he enter therein. The heirs of God and joint heirs with the Anointed Servant live by the expectation of the reality of this Kingdom and the eventual manifestation of that glory. The sufferings of this present time are for the perfecting of the saints as they run the race set before them with patience for there are dead to the world and their life is hid with Christ in God. When the time of this habitation is over then shall the Son be revealed from heaven to every man in his order and when Christ, our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory (Col. 3:4).
“In God have I put my trust; I will not be afraid of what man can do unto me” (Ps. 56:11).
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God, therefore the world knows us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God and it does not yet appear what we shall be but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is” (I John 3:1f).
Your servant n Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
February 1, 2015