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Gnostics, Gnostic Gospels & Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a religion that distinguishes the evil god of this world (who is identified with the god of the Old Testament) from a higher more intellectual God revealed by Jesus Christ, a religion that regards this world as the creation of a series of evil powers who wish to keep the human soul trapped in an evil physical body, a religion that preaches a hidden wisdom or knowledge only to a select group, that they said was necessary for salvation or escape from this world.
Gnostic comes from gnosis, which means knowledge in Greek. The Gnostics believed that they had a secret knowledge about the divine. We cannot claim to have access to knowledge that is beyond the powers of our intelligence.
There are many references to the Gnostics in second century literature. Most of what we know about them is from the falsehoods thrown at them by the early church. They are alluded to in the Bible as false by Paul (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus), as in (1 Tim.1:3; 4:1; 6:20), and all of Jude. Another heresy was that of Docetism, a doctrine closely related to Gnosticism, which stated that Christ was pure Spirit and had only a phantom body.
Supposedly some of the elements of its teachings were:
#1. Ceremonialism, had strict rules about circumcision (Col.2:11; 3:11), and what kinds of food and drink that were allowed at religious festivals (Col.2:16-16).
#2. Asceticism, self-denial, self-discipline, abstinence. “Touch not; taste not; handle not” (Col.2:20-23; 1 Tim.4:3).
#3. Angel worship, (Col.2:18; 1 Tim.4:1; Rev.19:10. 22:8-9).
#4. Depreciation of Christ, (lowering Him in Name and in glory). This is implied in Paul's emphasis on the supremacy of Christ (Col.1:15-20; 2:2-3,9,18-B).
#5. Secret knowledge, of which the Gnostics boasted of, refuted in (Col.1:27; 2:4). Paul's emphasis was on Christ, "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom" (Col.2:2-3).
#6. Reliance on human wisdom and tradition. (Col.2:4,8).
Six blessings of the Colossians:
1. They had faith in Jesus Christ (Col.1:4).
2. They love for all saints (Col.1:4).
3. They hope for eternal life (Col.1:5; Tit.1:2).
4. They heard the truth of the gospel (Col.1:5).
5. They bore fruit (Col.1:6).
6. They knew the grace of God in truth (Col.1:6).
Twelve things that were prayed for the Colossians:
1. To be filled with the knowledge of His will (1:9).
2. To be filled with all wisdom (1:9).
3. To have spiritual understanding (1:9).
4. To walk worthy of the Lord (1:10).
5. To walk pleasing to the Lord (1:10).
6. To be fruitful in all good works.
7. To increase in the knowledge of God.
8. To be strengthened with all might (1:11).
9. To have His glorious power.
10. To have all patience (1:11).
11. To have all longsuffering (1:11).
12. To have joy (1:11).
Paul urges the Christians at Colossae (and us):
1. To walk . . . to be active in their Christian calling.
2. To walk worthily . . . fitting the dignity of that calling.
3. To do everything so that God might be pleased with the manner, the time, the motive, disposition, design, and object of every word and deed.
4. That they should be fruitful. Just being harmless would not be sufficient; for as God had sown good seed, He expected good fruit.
5. That their every work should be good; they must not be fruitful in some works and fruitless in others.
6. That they should increase in the knowledge of God, learning more of God, of His love, His grace and of His peace, day by day.
Eighteen Proofs that God can be Seen:
1.God has been seen with a body (Jn.4:24). Jesus IS God!
2. Man was made bodily in God's image (Gen.1:26-27; 9:6)
3. God ate food with Abraham (Cen.18:8).
4. Jacob wrestled with God (Gen.32:24).
5. Seventy-four men ate with God (Ex.24:1-11).
6. Moses saw God face to face out of His glory (Ex.33:11; 1 Tim.6:16), and he saw His back parts when he requested to see His glory (Ex.33:18-23).
7. Joshua and all Israel saw Him (Josh.5:13-15).
8. Gideon saw God (Judg.6:11-23).
9. Samson's parents saw Him (Judg.13:3-23).
10. David saw God (1 Chron.21:16-17).
11. Job saw God (Job 42:5).
12. Isaiah saw and described God (Isa.6).
13. Amos saw the Lord (Amos 9:1).
14. Ezekiel described God (Eze.1:26-28; 10:20; 40:3; 43:7;47:1-6).
15. Daniel described God, even His clothes, body, and hair (Dan.7:9-14; 10:5-6).
16. Stephen saw God and Christ (Acts 7:56).
17. John described God (Rev.4:2-5; 5:1-7).
18. All will one day see God (Rev.20:11-15; 21:3-4; 22:4).
Firstborn of Creation
1. The only begotten of the Father (Jn.1:14)
2. The only begotten Son (Jn.1:18)
3. His only begotten Son (Jn.3:16; 1 Jn.4:9)
4. The only begotten Son of God (Jn.3:18)
5. This day have I begotten Thee (Ps.2:7;Acts 13:33; Heb.1:5; 5:5).
6. I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son (Heb.1:5).
Firstborn Is Used of Jesus:
1. As the firstborn of every creature (Col.1:15)
2. Firstborn from the dead (Col.1:18)
3. Firstborn of many brethren (Rom.8:29)
4. The Head of the church of the firstborn (Heb.12:23)
5. The first-begotten (Heb.1:5-6)
6. First-begotten of the dead (Rev.1:5)
Col. 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (KJV) . . . Does this Passage teach that all people will be saved (universalism)? Does it teach that even the fallen angels, even Satan himself, will be reconciled to God? I say an absolute NO!
Much of Colossians, parallels Ephesians and Philippians. We do find a parallel idea to this hard saying in: Eph. 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (KJV)
And a parallel Passage in: Phil. 2:10-11 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (KJV) . . . But, this does NOT give us an answer to the question: In what way will "all things" be brought under Christ?
What we need to see in Phil.2:10-11 is that the "bowing" and "confessing" is NOT something that loving subjects would do. I think this is speaking of a supreme Ruler (Psalm 2), NOT a loving Lord and Master. On Judgment Day, anyone who has not willingly bowed (humbly adored and accepted) and confessed (willingly admitted and declared) Jesus as Lord and Saviour of their life, shall without question admit He is Lord, the Ruler of the Universe!
Consider this: Every tongue shall "confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" does NOT mean that every tongue will confess Him as Saviour. At the Judgment, it will be too late to confess Him as Saviour. I think that even in Hell they SHALL recognize the Lordship of Jesus, and I think that will increase their agony.
http://www.godcannotlie.org/phil_ch2.htm . . . See: Phil.2:10-11.
God has appointed Christ the Head of all things. There are two ways a person can relate to this King. #1. You can believe God (1 Jn.5:10-13), accept the Gospel and submit (cooperate voluntarily) to Him now, receiving His forgiveness for past wicked rebellion and enter into a state not just of reconciliation, but exaltation alongside Christ. #2. The other way to relate to this King is to continue in your hostile rebellion against God, and refuse to accept the Gospel.
IF you choose the second way, you shall be forced to submit to Christ when His rule in His Kingdom is fully revealed . . . BUT that submission will just be a prelude to receiving the utter punishment of a conquered enemy.
My dear friend, Universalism is a damnable heresy (2 Pet.2:1). NOT everyone will go to Heaven. Just the opposite, most will go to Hell (Mat.7:12-13). As for all fallen angels (demons), Satan and any unbelievers who reject Christ Jesus, all those presently in rebellion against God, there is absolutely NO hope for them. Whatever they believe leads only to their "trembling" (Jam.2:19). According to Jude and 2 Peter, some of them are already in eternal chains, and according to the Book of Revelation, their end is the lake of fire (Rev,20:15).
Paul is NOT teaching Universalism. He is in perfect agreement with the rest of the New Testament. Christ Jesus shall rule over the whole world and ALL beings in it, human or spiritual. He is certain that in Christ God has made possible the reconciliation of humanity to himself. The Bible teaches that only those who by faith commit themselves to Christ, in this lifetime, will be reconciled to God. There is NO Purgatory! You must make your decision while you live here on Earth!
False doctrines: http://www.hisservants.org/catholics_h_s.htm
I would like to make a comment here. The word submit is one that many people do not like. They simply do not like the idea of submitting (giving in to; succumbing, surrendering to, yielding to, conceding to) to anyone! Here in Ephesians, we have this word, and it is something that a TRUE child of God MUST do, whether you like it or not. May I make a suggestion: consider that submit means to cooperate voluntarily. Maybe then you won’t hate it so much. See our article on Submission: http://hisservants.org/submission_and_servanthood_h_s.htm
What is a mystery in Scripture?
It is NOT a whodunit or a mystery story, and it is NOT something you wonder about: Was it the butler who committed the crime? A mystery in Scripture means that God is revealing something, that up to that time, He had not revealed. There are two elements which always enter into a New Testament mystery: #1. It cannot be discovered by man, for it is always a revelation from God; and #2. it is revealed at the right time and not concealed, and enough is revealed to establish the fact without all the details being disclosed.
There are fifteen mysteries in the New Testament:
#1. The mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven (Mat.13:3-50; Mk.4:11; Lk.8:10).
#2. The mystery of His will (Eph.1:9).
#3. The great mystery of Christ and His church (Eph. 5:32; Col.4:3).
#4. The mystery of the Gospel (Eph.6:19). ,
#5. The mystery of Israel's blindness during this age (Rom.11:25).
#6. The mystery of the faith (1 Tim.3:9).
#7. The mystery of the translation of living saints at the end of this age (1 Cor.15:51-52; 1 Thes.4:13-17).
#8. The mystery of the N.T. Church as one body composed of Jews and Gentiles (Eph.3:1-12; 6:19; Rom.16:25; Col.4:3).
#9. The mystery of the Church as the bride of Christ (Eph.5:23-32).
#10. The mystery of being in Christ (Gal.2:20; Col.1:26-27).
#11. The mystery of Christ as the incarnate fullness of the Godhead embodied, in whom all the divine wisdom for man subsists (1 Cor.2:7; Col.2:2,9).
#12. The mystery of godlikeness restored to man (1 Tim.3:16).
#13. The mystery of iniquity (2 Thes.2:7; Mat.13:33).
#14. The mystery of the seven stars (Rev.1:20).
#15. The mystery of the woman (Rev.17:5,7).
Consider the riches of glory, which alone, is True Riches:
1. Riches of His grace (Col.1:14; Eph.1:7)
2. Riches of the glory of the inheritance in the saints (Col.1:5,23; Eph.1:18)
3. Unsearchable riches of Christ (Col.1:27; 2:1-3; Eph.3:8; Phil.4:19)
4. Riches of glory (Col.1:27; Eph.1:7,18; 2:7; 3:8; Phil.4:19)
5. Riches of His goodness (Col.1:27; 2:2; Eph.1:7,18; 2:4,7; 3:8; Phil.4:19; Rom.2:4)
6. Riches of wisdom, knowledge (Col.1:27; 2:22-3; Eph.1:7; 2:7; 3:8,10,16; Rom.2:4; 9:23; 11:33)
7. Riches in glory (Col.1:27; 3:16; Eph.1:7,18; 2:7; 3:8,16; Phil.4:19; Rom.9:23; 11:33)
8. Riches of the glory of the mystery of Christ in you (Col.1:27; 2:23; Phil.4:19; Rom.9:23; 11:33)
9. Riches of the full assurance of understanding of God's mystery (Col.1:24,29; 2:2; 4:12)
10. Rebuke of Christ (suffering for His sake), greater riches than in Egypt (Acts 5:41; 2 Cor.12:10; Heb.11:26; 1 Pet.1:11; 4:14)
Christ in you, is your only hope of glory!
Fourteen Facts about Christ:
1. He is Head of the Kingdom (Col.1:13; Rev.20)
2. He is the only Redeemer (Col.1:14; Mat.26:28; Gal.4:5)
3. He is the Image of the invisible God (Col.1:15)
4. He is the Firstborn of every creature (Col.1:16)
5. He is the Creator of ALL things (Col.1:16)
6. He is an eternal Being (Col.1:17; Jn.1:1-2; Mic.5:2)
7. Only He can uphold and preserve all things (Col.1:17; Heb.1:3)
8. He is the Head of the church (Col.1:18; Eph.5)
9. He has preeminence over all things (Col.1:18)
10. He was the Firstborn from the dead (Col.1:18)
11. In Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col.1:19; 2:9)
12. He is the Mediator between God and man (Col.1:20-22; 2 Cor.5:13-21; 1 Tim.2:4-6)
13. He indwells all TRUE saints (Col.1:27; Rom.8:9)
14. He loves us more than anyone else ever could (Jn.10:15,18; 15:13)
Six things Paul wanted for the Colossians:
1. That their hearts may be comforted.
2. That they be knit together in love.
3. That they have full assurance and knowledge.
4. That they acknowledge the mystery of God.
5. That they acknowledge the mystery of the Father.
6. That they acknowledge the mystery of Christ (Col.1:26-27; 1 Tim.3:16; Eph.3:1-8).
What TRUE Christians Must Do:
1. Walk as when you received Christ (Col.2:6).
2. Be rooted in Christ (Col.2:7).
3. Be built up in Christ (Col.2:7).
4. Be established in the faith (Col.2:7).
5. Abound in the faith (Col.2:7).
6. Be joyful in the faith (Col.2:7).
7. Beware of deception (Col.2:4,8,18-19).
8. Let no man judge your eating or drinking (Col.2:16).
9. Let no man judge your holy days, new moons, festivals, Sabbaths (Col.2:16).
10. Live dead to the world and all its evil ways (Col.2:20-23; 1 Jn.2:15-17; Rom.12:1-2; Jam.4:4).
11. Seek things above (Col.3:1).
12. Set your affections above (Col.3:2).
13. Cast off fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, covetousness which is idolatry (Col.3:5).
14. Put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth (Col.3:8).
15. Do not lie (Col.3:9).
16. Live like the new man you are (Col.3:10-12).
17. Be patient with one another (Col.3:13).
18. Forgive one another (Col.3:13).
19. Pray for Godly love (Col.3:14).
20. Let God's peace rule you (Col.3:15).
21. Be thankful, say it and show it (Col.3:15).
22. Invite God's Word to dwell in you, study daily (Col.3:16).
23.Teach and caution one another (Col.3:16).
24. Do all things in Jesus' Name (Col.3:17).
25. Give thanks to God daily (Col.3:17).
26. Continue in prayer (Col.4:2; 1 Thes.5:17-18).
27. Watch with thanksgiving (Col.4:2).
28. Walk in wisdom (Col.4:5).
29. Redeem the time (Col.4:5).
30. Speak with grace (Col.4:6).
Five Things NOT to Judge Others About:
1. What to eat (Col.2:16; 1 Tim.4; Rom.4)
2. What to drink (Col.2:16; 1 Cor.10;31)
3. What holy days to keep (Col.2:16; Gal.4)
4. What new moon festivals to keep (Col.2:16)
5. What Sabbaths to observe (Col.2:16; Rom.14:5-6; Gal.4:9-10)
Five Facts about Cults (false churches)
#1. They make self-imposed fastings and self-denials of many things to seem to be religious, that are NOT forbidden in Scripture (Col.2:8,18,20-23).
#2. Worshipping (Col.2:18) and religion (Acts 26:5; Jam.1:26-27). Here it is a cult or religion of angels and demons (Col.2:18,23; 1 Tim.4:1-8).
#3. Religion based upon visions that are supposed to come from God and angels (Col.2:18). Very common today. Beware!!!
#4. Religion based upon superior knowledge, new discoveries, occult secrets, piety, and sensuous feelings (Col.2:8,18; Rom.1:21-23; 1 Tim.6:20). Also common today!
#5. Religion that is not Christ-centered and true to the Gospel (Col.2:19; Eph.4:14; 5:11-12; 2 Cor.11:14-15; Mat.7:15).
What does it mean to be saved? What does it mean to be a Christian?
You are NOT saved by being perfect. You are NOT saved by keeping the Ten Commandments. You are NOT saved by any rite or ritual. You are NOT saved by water baptism. You are NOT saved if your good deeds out-do your bad deeds.
My friend, to be saved, you must receive a Person, and that Person is Jesus Christ! As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord . . . So walk ye in him! Walking in Him, is walking in the Spirit (Rom.8:1,4; Gal.5:16,25; Eph.2:2).
We can guard against man-made religions by asking these questions about any religious group:
(1) Does it stress man-made rules and restrictions rather than God's grace?
(2) Does it foster a critical spirit toward others, or does it exercise discipline discreetly and lovingly?
(3) Does it stress formulas, secret knowledge, or special visions more than the Word of God? (4) Does it elevate self-righteousness, honoring those who keep the rules, rather than elevating Christ?
(5) Does it neglect Christ's universal church, claiming to be an elite group?
(6) Does it teach humiliation of the body as a means to spiritual growth rather than focus on the growth of the whole person?
(7) Does it disregard the family rather than hold it in high regard as the Bible does?
Paul warns the Colossians (and us), of dangers of listening to damnable heresies of false teachers (heretics):
1. Danger of enticing words (verse 4).
2. Danger of philosophy (verse 8).
3. Danger of legality (verse 14).
4. Danger of mysticism (verses 18-19).
5. Danger of asceticism (verses 20-23).
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