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Critical Issues Commentary
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Equipping the saints to contend for the faith.
Equipping the saints to contend for the faith.

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The Old Testament predicted that God would circumcise hearts and that promise is fulfilled as described in Colossians 2:11. We discuss the “circumcision of Christ” in this passage and defend the position that this means the circumcision Christ performs, which is that of the heart. Colossians 2:12 shows that we died, were buried and raised to new life just as Christ was raised from the dead. There are important implications to the fact that we are dead and buried in regard to leaving behind the old life of the flesh and by faith living as those alive in Christ. Finally, we show that infant baptism is not taught in these verses and warn against false assurance based on having been baptized as infants.
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The theme of this message is that in Christ is God’s fullness and we lack nothing if we are in Christ by faith. These verses explain further was IS according to Christ and NOT according to human tradition and philosophy (Colossians 2:8). We must avoid the pitfall of thinking we have achieved the status of being a higher order Christian than ordinary Christians. We study John 1:14-17 to show further what it means that fullness is found in Christ. We emphasize how important it is to study the doctrine of Christ.
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New Podcast:
Old Covenant Sacrifices Cannot Cleanse the Conscience: Hebrews 9:1-10

The comparison between the old testament, earthly tabernacle and what Christ did once for all is stark. Now the true way being cleansed from sin is available in Christ for all who believe. The key idea is that the blood of Christ cleanses the conscience of those who trust in Him. We cover the description of the OT tabernacle given by the author of Hebrews, explaining the significance of its layout. The mercy seat was the most expensive piece of the tabernacle as was very significant. It spoke of the passing over of sins. This blood atonement is so very important in our theology and must not be neglected in our teaching. We deal with the mention of “sins done in ignorance,” explaining the difference between the truth of responsibility for sin and claiming the right to sin defiantly. That would mean not even admitting that we God calls “sin” is truly what He says it is. We also show the significance of the torn veil and the once for all nature of Christ’s blood atonement. The term for conscience is used in Hebrews to show that God cleanses us where there is true defilement. He provides “decisive purgation” that was not available under the old covenant. The OT system showed that becoming “unclean” was continually happening even through ordinary life. Jesus’ once for all shed blood makes us clean by God’s grace in a way that the blood of animals could never do.

http://cicministry.org/audio/radio/20180709_cic_radio-Old_Covenant_Sacrifices_Cannot_Cleanse_the_Conscience-Hebrews_9v1-10.mp3
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We are warned to beware of those who would plunder us, carrying us away for their own purposes. One of the key means of deception is human tradition. Another is the influence of hostile spiritual powers. One thing all deceptions have in common is that they are “not according to Christ.” We point people to Christ and the gospel where we have everything, including the forgiveness of sins.
Video courtesy of Gospel of Grace Fellowship.
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Hebrews 8:7-13 “The New Covenant”

This passage says that the old covenant was not faultless. This raises the obvious question of how God could institute something that was not truly perfect. We discuss that this does not imply that it was “bad” but that it was provisional and temporary. If people were to go back to it, they would be rejecting Christ. It was the people who were flawed, but this passage does say that the old covenant was with “blame” or fault. The new covenant is necessary and is God’s revealed purpose. Jeremiah predicted the new covenant and is cited with the description “He says” speaking of God. There was a specific covenant that was done away with, then one associated with the Exodus—the Mosaic covenant. Under the new covenant, only those who truly know the Lord in a saving way are members. One cannot enter based on ethnicity or family associations. We make applications about infant baptism and “half-way” covenants and reject these practices. We deal with other issues in church history such as Roman Catholicism’s old covenant type ministry including sacrifices and pageantry. Rome created a Christianized version of paganism that would be attractive to the unregenerate. We show that all such approaches are a failure of faith.
http://cicministry.org/audio/radio/20180702_cic_radio-The_New_Covenant-Hebrews_8v7-13.mp3
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False teachers use persuasive arguments to beguile Christians. They question the sufficiency of Christ. Again we see the importance of Christ and preaching Christ alone. Colossians 2:6 is one of the most important verses in the Book of Colossians. We explain what it means to walk in Christ. Many passages in the New Testament warn us against false teaching, and point us to the doctrine of Christ.
Video courtesy of Gospel of Grace Fellowship.
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Hebrews 7:28 – 8:6 “A Better High Priest”

This section of Hebrews further emphasizes the importance of realizing the implications of Jesus Christ as the heavenly High Priest by His once for all work of redemption. Again we see the importance of Psalm 110:4 in Hebrews. In many important ways, this section of Hebrews points us to the uniqueness of Christ. He is the only way, not one option among many. When Hebrews 7:28 says that He was “made perfect” it does not imply some previous flaw, but rather perfectly suited to be our heavenly High Priest. Once Jesus came and shed His blood, once for all, any going back to the old system is apostasy. The heavenly sanctuary is now functioning in the manner predicted in the OT and we are called to believe in Christ as He is the heavenly High Priest. We also refute the false idea that this heavenly terminology shows that the author of Hebrews believed in a Jewish version of Platonic philosophy. Such a claim makes a key category error. The issue in Platonism was a contemporaneous “real” heavenly realm compared to the present, lesser earthly realm of shadows. In Hebrews, the issue is one of time, comparing the previous earthly ministry to the present heavenly one. Thus the issue is not Platonic metaphysics, but the fulfilled promises of God. Today people a looking for some tangible, earthly religious liturgy because they fail to believe the promises of God stated in this passage and others.

http://cicministry.org/audio/radio/20180625_cic_radio-A_Better_High_Priest-Hebrews_7v28-8v6.mp3
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This sermon is about the important doctrine of Christ alone. Christian unity is important and is facilitated by the gospel itself. Christ alone, logically, cannot mean Christ plus something else. In Mark 9:4-8, we see the truth of Christ alone clearly revealed. The 5 solas taken together constitute the gospel of grace. We also show that the doctrine of scripture alone is taught in scripture itself.
This video is courtesy of Gospel of Grace Fellowship.
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Drawing Near To God Through our Great High Priest: Hebrews 7:15-27

Psalm 110:4 is an extremely important passage that shows there is a “priest forever” and Hebrews uses this to prove that Jesus Christ is that priest. Jesus rose from the dead and had an “indestructible life” unlike the Levitical priests who died and were replaced by others. Jesus’ priestly ministry in heaven is perpetual. Verse 18 of this section speaks of a system that was set aside and we show that this was the old covenant priesthood. If this were not true the Levitical priesthood and all the stipulations that went with it would still be in effect. Under the old covenant drawing near was impossible for nearly everyone other than the high priest once a year. In Christ all believers draw near and do so in a more profound way than even the old covenant high priest did. We discuss the dangerous tendency for people today to add mystical practices and ascetic requirements to the faith hoping to feel close to God. This is tantamount to rejecting what Christ provided for all who believe and is therefore apostasy like that warned against in Hebrews. Jesus Christ Himself guarantees the validity and effectiveness of the new covenant. Believers are being continually and absolutely saved forever through Jesus’ high priestly ministry which is based on His once for all sacrifice for sins. He could not and did not undergo decay, but lives forever to make intercession for us.

http://cicministry.org/audio/radio/20180618_cic_radio-Drawing_Near_To_God_Through_our_Great_High_Priest-Hebrews_7v15-27.mp3
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The great hope we have as Christians is described as “Christ in you.” God’s mystery is now revealed so it must be known and proclaimed. We discuss the meaning of “Christ in you” and reject mystical interpretation that prescribes a journey inward. God used gospel preaching, admonition and teaching to sanctify His people. We need the glory of God to weigh heavily upon us through Christ and His work of grace. We emphasize the critical need to preach Christ.
This sermon was preached at Gospel of Grace Fellowship.
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