Baptism Series #2

Fred R. Coulter—March 24, 2004

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Today we're living in a time when the ends of the world have come upon us, and we live in this generation. We live in times where there are so many things going on and the prophecies that are being fulfilled are actually being literally fulfilled before our eyes. We don't know exactly when the time is. But, how are we to live our lives? That's the important and key thing—because we have to not be dragged down by the world.

We live in the world, but we're not part of the world. And sometimes this is difficult. And since we still have human nature, and sin comes upon us and situations come upon us—and we tend to be overwhelmed—we're going to be confronted with problems in everything that we do going down the road. We need to have the strength of Christ in us. Christ in us is the 'hope of glory.' And that's what we need to focus on.

Let's come to Colossians, the first chapter. Let's see how much God has done in dealing in our lives. I think one of the most important things that we need to understand is how God is dealing in our lives. Sometimes it's very easy to think of God being way out there—wherever His throne is—and we don't know how far that really is, actually.

With God's Spirit, and with God's Word, and with what God is doing, we need to understand something: Every one of us is important to God! We need to also understand something else: God did not call us to a 'religion' to be good people in the world! Yes, we are to be good people in the world, that's true. Yes, we are to let our lights shine. But He didn't call us for that alone. That's a by-product of what we do. He called us for the most important job that there is, that can be offered to any people, anywhere, at any time, the tremendous and profound and wonderful things that God is doing. Just to show you what God thinks of you, let's review just a couple of Scriptures.

How do you come to God? John 6:44 says: "No one can come to Me [Christ] unless the Father…draws him…" Let's think on that for just a minute! Because I don't want you to feel that God is way out here and you're way down here. How did you come to know what you know? How do you come to be here and part of the body of Christ? Because God the Father drew you! How important is that? That's fantastic, brethren! God has called you—and all that He has called—and He's given you of His Holy Spirit. God the Father and Jesus Christ are involved directly in your life, every minute of the day, even though you may be working wherever you're working or doing whatever you're doing in the daytime. God is involved in your life every day!

Colossians 1:9: "For this cause we also, from the day that we heard of it… [that's a report that came back to Paul of the people in Colossi] …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's what God wants to be for you! Now, if you've had a difficult time studying the Bible or having Bible study, think about God's goal for you in that.

  • You're being prepared for the greatest job that has ever been.
  • You're being prepared for eternal life.
  • You're being educated and taught

so that you can be a very son or daughter of God.

Like it says here: …in all wisdom and spiritual understanding… [but there's something that we need to do] …that you may walk worthily of the Lord…" (vs 9-10). How do you 'walk worthily' to the Lord? Let's just summarize it this way:

  • you walk in faith, because God has called us to a way of life
  • you believe in hope, because it's the hope of eternal life that you're here
  • and you live in love, as Christ said

Those are the three things that give us the strength and the energy to do the things that are pleasing to God and walking 'worthy of the Lord.

"…being fruitful in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God; Being strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, unto all endurance and long-suffering with joy…" (vs 10-11). Look at it this way: Regardless of what happens in your life—and there are going to be some tough things coming down the road as we get toward the end—that you continue with all endurance. Whatever you have to go through to suffer that's what 'long-suffering' is. Remember, since God is with you every minute of every day, He is there suffering with you when you have 'long suffering.' He is there enduring with you when you are 'enduring.' He is there helping you to give you joy and love and understanding. What God has called us to is a tremendous thing.

Verse 12: "Giving thanks to the Father, Who has made us qualified…" We've heard in the past that you better qualify for the Kingdom of God or you 'ain't gonna be there.' Well, that's true. But, who qualifies you? Yes, we have our work to do, that's true. We've got a lot of work to do. We've got to do it right. We have the things in our personal lives. We have the things in our families. We have the things with the brethren. We have our personal growing and overcoming. God has not called us to a stagnant life or a stagnant way of life. He has called us to an exciting, powerful thing that He has called us to do. Whether that is prayer—like we had here just before the services this afternoon—praying for those who are in trouble and difficulty and sickness. That is a sacrifice to God. That's important.

Now notice—He 'qualified' us for what? "…for the share of the inheritance of the saints in the light…" (v 12). What is an 'inheritance'?

In the course of everyone's life—because of the way that things are—our parents die, aunts and uncles die, and every once in a while you receive and inheritance. That inheritance is real—isn't it? It is concrete—isn't it? What kind of inheritance are we going to have? We are going to receive a powerful inheritance, indeed! It's not going to come easy,

  • we have things to do
  • we have things to go through
  • we have trials that we have to endure
  • we have things we have to overcome
  • we have sins we need to repent of
  • we have laziness that we've got to get rid of

All of those things are true.

Romans 8:14—here's how our lives are to be led: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God… [The Spirit of God isn't going to make you do it. It isn't going to pull you; it isn't going push you; it will lead you by your choices, by your desire, by your love for God—it will lead you.] …these are the sons of God. Now you have not received a spirit of bondage again unto fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship, whereby we call out, 'Abba, Father.' ( vs 14-15).

That means that. just like I started out, it is the Father Who does the drawing. Stop and think of it for just a minute. The great Sovereign God—God the Father—Who rules the vastness of the universe; Who sent His Son to die for you so that you so that you can live. He Himself has called you—you, individually! That's what's so important and profound for a great and tremendous calling. And we can call Him 'Abba, Father.' We've got children here. Your children come up, get on your knee and say, 'Daddy.' That's a good example of that.

Verse 16: "The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit, testifying that we are the children of God. Now if we are children, we are also heirs—truly, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…" (vs 16-17). What did Christ inherit?

Brethren, this is a joint project by God the Father and Jesus Christ to deal in your life directly. Maybe this will help get rid of some of the lackadaisicalness, because what is true is this: No minister can beat sin out of anybody, or preach it out of anybody! But, through the sacrifice of Christ, the power of God's Holy Spirit and the vision—because it says: 'Where there is no vision the people perish'—and 'the vision' not meaning that you see like a moving picture, but you have a focus on what God is doing in your life, and why God is doing it.

Hebrews 1:1: "God, Who spoke to the fathers at different times in the past and in many ways by the prophets, has spoken to us in these last days by His Son, Whom He has appointed heir of all things…" (vs 1-2). What does 'all things' mean? The universe! God doesn't do things for nothing. He didn't create the universe out there that it isn't going to be used. No, He created it to use it!

Let's just give another example. If you own a piece of property that's yours—isn't it? You put in your will: when I die I want to give it to so-and-so. When you die they inherit the property and it becomes theirs. Now, let's apply the same thing here. Jesus Christ is the Heir of ALL things. And we'll see where that puts us. Is the universe a physical thing out there that can be seen—just like if you own land, you can stand on it? Yes! That's what He's inherited.

"…by Whom also He made the worlds… [He made it for the very purpose of calling us. Think on that!] …Who, being the brightness of His glory and the exact image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His own power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; Having been made so much greater than any of the angels, inasmuch as He has inherited a name exceedingly superior to them" (vs 2-4). Because He never called any of them His sons, or begotten by Him.

Let's come back to Romans 8, and let's complete part of the picture here, v 16: "…that we are the children of God. Now, if we are children, we are also heirs—truly, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—… [Who what? Who inherited 'all things. You have a real, joint inheritance coming. That's why when He says, 'to those who overcome' and are 'into the joy of the Lord'…] (Now, notice there's another catch that comes with it): …—if indeed we suffer together with Him…" (vs 16-17).

There are going to be times when we are going to suffer. But how do we get through these times of sufferings and difficulties. I'm not going to ask anybody to raise their hands if you have never had a trial, because I don't think anybody's hand would be raise. We all have them. I have mine, you have yours—and God gives that to us, because God wants to know what is in our hearts. Are we going to trust Him in everything? or Are we going to be like the 'seed sown by the way' or 'sown into the thorns and thistles' that we give up? No!

Notice what happens here if we suffer together with Him, because there is a reward for that: "…so that we may also be glorified together with Him…. [Let's just think about this for just a minute.] …For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us" (vs 17-18).

They, just recently, perfected the technology where they can take almost 3-D pictures of babies in the womb. Fantastic, isn't it? And they found that at 12-weeks-old, these babies are moving their arms or moving their legs or practicing walking; they're opening their mouths or opening their eyes; they're smiling; they're reacting if they hear noise because it comes right through the mother's abdomen and right into the embryonic fluid, which then transmits the sound to their ears. So they hear! Here's this new life, at eight weeks the baby is fully developed, but we've never thought of it this way. After a life has been conceived, that life has it's first existence in its mother's womb, and it grows to a certain point. In this life, in the womb, it's not able to see, it can hear a little bit, but it practices all the basic things it will need when it's born into the world—to begin to live—sucks its thumb and so forth, so it gets a little practice for nursing.

Now, when the baby is born it's quite an event, and here comes a brand new life, that it has to take its first breath. The first thing that it must do is breathe and it's never done it before. So likewise, when we are resurrected. The baby is born, it breathes, has to be fed—all the things that go along with living. You can see how temporary human life is. Isn't it amazing how much vanity we all have in spite of the fact that we could die in just a snap of a finger.

Then God calls us and opens up our mind, gives us His Spirit, puts the very seed of begettal in our minds, in the spirit of our minds, to become the begotten children of God, yet to be born at the resurrection. This is what it's talking about here, that we can be glorified together with Him. When we are born again at the resurrection, we are going to be different and we are going to do things for the first time that we have never done—just like when we were born from our mother's womb, we did things we never did before.

So you might say that there are the three categories of your life:

  • in the womb
  • in the world
  • and born again into the Kingdom of God

Amazing thing—isn't it?

We're going to have to suffer some things. As we look down the road and see how this world is really going—excuse the expression: 'to hell in a hand-basket'—which it really is. There's going to be a lot of suffering, and there's going to come a time when we're going to be despised. There's going to come a time when we won't have the time to study, to pray, to overcome like we do now—which gives it a far higher priority, when we understand it, than perhaps we've even thought of.

"…[They] are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us" (v 18). Paul is writing here so that they will be inspired with:

  • the desire to overcome
  • the desire to repent
  • the desire to love God
  • the desire to change
  • the desire to be in the Kingdom of God

If you have that then you won't ever have to worry about being zealous or not.

What I want you to do today is I want you stir up the Spirit of God in you for that desire. I want you to see, in your minds eye, as it were, that

  • God Himself is personally dealing with you
  • God is helping you
  • God has given His Spirit to you
  • God loves you
  • Christ loves you

and wants you to change and grow and overcome to receive the greatest blessings that you could possibly receive.

Colossians 1:13: "Who has personally rescued us… [As I mentioned in the All About the New Testament, there is a special verb in the Greek which is called 'the middle voice verb.' And we're going to see this again in Ephesians, the first chapter. But this means that the subject God is also the final recipient of the action; so it could be translated himself or personally.

Verse 13: "Who has personally rescued us from the power of darkness… [Have you ever thought of that? Why are you here and not there? Because God Himself has 'personally rescued you from the power of darkness.'] …and has transferred us unto the kingdom of the Son of His love." In other words, we are all under the jurisdiction of Jesus Christ and subject to the Kingdom of God, though the Kingdom of God is not here because the Kingdom of God is not of this world. It is to come! We're going to be a part of that.

Verse 26: Even the mystery that has been hidden from ages and from generations, but has now been revealed to His saints; to whom God did will… [Anything that you understand is by the will of God.] …to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory…" (vs 26-27). That's why Christ is in us. Not only are we going to share the inheritance with Him at the resurrection, but He is in us now. We are, as Paul says in 1-Cor. 3 'the temple of God.' God wants to live and dwellin His people at this point right now. That's His whole purpose. We are not to love the world; we live in it, we're not of it.

2-Corinthians 6:14: "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers…. [There are things we have to watch out for; there are things we have to do: we have to live our lives correctly and so forth.] …For what do righteousness and lawlessness have in common? And what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what union does Christ have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what agreement is there between a temple of God and idols? For you are a temple of the living God, exactly as God said: 'I will dwell in them and walk in them…" (vs 14-16).

You could also say, 'enjoy with them and suffer with them.' And as it says a little later on, 'and sup with them.' God the Father has called us, through Jesus Christ, to a personal, fellowship relationship with Him:

  • through study
  • through prayer
  • through living and walking in God's way

That's a tremendous thing! And in that, God is with us every minute of every day in everything that we do. That's a tremendous thing when you understand that.

"…'I will dwell in them and walk in them and I will be their God, and they shall be My people…. [God says of the world]: …Therefore, come out from the midst of them and be separate,' says the Lord, 'and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you; And I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty" (vs 16-18).

That's why God called you—God loves you; God desires you. He didn't call the rich, didn't call the mighty, didn't call the great, didn't call the famous—He called you and me for a great and tremendous purpose far and beyond anything that the world could ever think of, because it hasn't ever entered into their minds, or they have never even thought of it. It has to be through God's Spirit that we understand it!

Let's come to Ephesians, the first chapter, and let's see what we need to do here. If there's any one thing I want you to remember from this message—because I know, as I've experienced in my life—many times you're going to come to a trial where you're walking through your 'valley of death.' Whether it be because of sickness; whether it be because loss of a loved one; whether it be because of loss of job—whatever the circumstances may be.

There are going to be times when you're going to have to come to God and understand that without God there is nothing. And He's going to bring each and every one of us to the point that we are going to totally trust in Him for everything. That's a summary of every trial and difficulty that comes along—that's the whole purpose in it. Because then, just like the little baby in the womb is practicing to walk and to suck its thumb, so likewise when we are living in this world and the trials and difficulties we go through, we are learning:

  • to walk with Christ
  • to trust in that faith
  • to believe in that hope
  • to live in love

That's how we learn.

Ephesians 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly things with Christ."

  • Is it not a heavenly thing that God the Father has called each one of us?
  • Is it not a heavenly thing to receive the Spirit of God?
  • Is it not a heavenly thing to understand the Word of God?—which God gives us, because only He can give us the understanding? Yes it is!

Verse 4: "According as He has personally chosen us for Himself…" That's an awesome statement—isn't it? When you get down to the bottom of your 'valley of death' that you have to walk through, ask God for the strength and power and Spirit to help you, because He has personally chosen you for Himself. I don't know about you, but that overwhelms me! That's how great and fantastic and vast that the promises of God are.

"…before the foundation of the world… [That's His plan that He had before the foundation of the world.] …in order that we might be Holy… [Think about that! God is Holy—right? Yes! And like He says in Lev., and Peter wrote in 1-Peter 1, 'be Holy because I am Holy.'] …and blameless… [because you're in a relationship of grace and mercy and kindness] …before Him in love; having predestinated us…" (vs 4-5). This is our predestination: this is why God has called us. Just like when a new life is conceived in the womb, it is predestined—that if everything goes the way it should—to be born in 9 months as a son or daughter of that mother and father.

When you're waiting for the child to be born you're all anxious, you're all preparing, everything has to be just right. And when the time comes… I remember when Rachelle was born, my mom and Delores and I and the three boys were down at Salt Shaker in South Pasadena and we're sitting there eating, and Delores says, 'Ut Oh, I'm going to have it.' And here we just got served. And we said, 'Oh no, this can't be.' So we all started eating like horses that never had had any hay. We got out of there and we had a mid-wife deliver the baby. We got home and the mid-wife got there and within two minutes Rachelle was born. And my mom was right there and she said, 'It's a girl! It's a girl!'

Now look, let's understand something: Don't you think there's going to be joy in heaven by God the Father and Jesus Christ and all the angels when the resurrection takes place? Yes, indeed, without a doubt! Verse 5: "Having predestinated us for sonship to Himself through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His own will." That's how much God is involved in our lives. I tell you what: I don't think that you will—once you really grasp this—ever have an excuse for not praying or studying or trying and overcoming. God will bless you that much more.

Notice what this is do, v 6: "To the praise of the glory of His grace… [that's why we have the grace of God. That's why we live under His grace.] …wherein He has made us objects of His grace in the Beloved Son; in Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He has made to abound toward us in all wisdom and intelligence… [and furthermore, God has taken you into His confidence; He has revealed to you what the world does not know.] …having made known to us the mystery of His own will… [the Family of God] …according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself; that in theDivine plan for the fulfilling of the times, He might bring all things together in Christ, both the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth; yes, in Him, in Whom we also have obtained an inheritance, having been predestinated according to His purpose, Who is working out all things according to the counsel of His own will; that we might be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in the Christ" (vs 6-12).
The purpose of God—when you understand it with His Spirit—is:

  • to inspire you to love God with all your heart and mind and soul and being
  • to inspireto love your neighbor as yourself; and the brethren as Christ has loved us
  • to inspire us to desire, with ever fiber in our being, to be in His Kingdom

That's why God has called us. That's why we do the things that we do.

This is my favorite part of the Bible. It has more to it; it tells more of the plan of God than anything else, right here. As we go through this, let's just let the words sink in. Ephesians 3:11: "According to His eternal purpose, which He has wrought in Christ Jesus our Lord, in Whom we have boldness and direct access with confidence through His very own faith. So then, I beseech you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which are workingfor your glory. For this cause…" (vs 11-14).

This is how Paul looked at the problems and difficulties in his life. This is how we need to look at the problems and difficulties which are coming on the world—and we're going to be confronted with just like we have never, ever, ever expected. So, keep this in mind.

Verse 14: "For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of Whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named… [you have a new name coming] …That He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; and that being rooted and grounded in love, you may be fully able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height…" (vs 14-18).

That is of God's plan. And then after we're born into the Kingdom of God at the resurrection, to go on from there for all eternity!

Verse 19: "And to know the love of Christ, which surpasses human knowledge; so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

  • That's your purpose!
  • That's your calling!
  • That's your inheritance!

And may that

    • inspire you
    • give you vision
    • give you hope
    • give you understanding

so that you can walk in faith, believe in hope and live in love.

Verse 20: "Now to Him Who is able… [and that means to have the power] …to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that is working in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all generations, even into the ages of eternity. Amen" (vs 20-21).

Brethren, God is directly and personally involved with you and in you and loves you, has a purpose for you, and all that He has called. Always keep that focus and vision in mind!

Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scripture references:

  • John 6:44
  • Colossians 1:9-12
  • Romans 8:14-17
  • Hebrews 1:1-4
  • Romans 8:16-18
  • Colossians 1:13, 26-27
  • 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
  • Ephesians 1:3-12
  • Ephesians 3:11-21

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • 1 Corinthians 3
  • Leviticus
  • 1 Peter 1

Also referenced: Sermon
            All About the New Testament

Transcribed: 2/6/08
Reformatted:  9/18/11