Sunday, June 25, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon The True Circumcision ]

The True Circumcision

The word of God says in Colossians 2:11, "In him you were also circumcized with the circumcision made without hands , by putting off the sins of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, buried with him in baptism in which you were also raised from the dead through faith in the operation of God, who raised him(Christ) from the dead, and you being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he has made alive with him havig forgiven you all trespasses." The subject of this message is, "The True Circumcision." This is one of the mysterious and most famous words in the Bible. It is somewhat surprising to learn that all Christians, male and female have been circumcised by Christ himself. Let us first examine the origin of this interesting word. The word is first mentioned in Genesis 17:11 in connection with a covenant God made with Abraham. The covenant with Abraham was that God would make Israel a great nation; Hew ould giv e the land of Palestine to his descendants Israel, and he would bless all the nations of the world, which was a promise to Gentile nations and fulfilled by the Christian religion(Genesis 12:1-3). God said, "This my covenant which you shall keep between you and me and your descendants after you. Every male child among you shall be circumcised, and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of our foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigne who is not your descendant"(Genesis 17:11,12). This covenant was made about 2,000 B.C., and this marks the origin of this word by the human race. There is no solid evidence that this term was used by any nations before the time of Abraham. The best opinion is that all other nationss borrowed circumcision from Israel because it was a sacred rite connected with Jehovah God.

There can be no doubt that it was a sacramental operation. However as to the original significance of this religious operation, it has occasioned much controversy among the learned. Circumcision was a command of God in the covenant that God made with Abraham. No one could be a descendant of Abraham without circumcision, and no one else was included in the promises  God made to Abraham. All uncircumcised people were cut off from being in Abraham's family. Circumcision was imposed on the nation of Israel by the law of Moses. Circumcision was a religious rite and operation only for nations that descended from Abraham. However for some reason not known for certainty, many other nations of the world borrowed circumcision from the Jews. The best opinion is that other nations borrowed the practice of circumcision from the Hebrews because of the belief that it had something to do with population fertility and growth among nations. Circumcision is a custom that prevails among many races in different parts of the world to this day, including America, European nations, Africa and Australia.

Circumcision is held in such veneration and respect today by no less than 150 millions of people on earth today who look down with contempt upon every male not circumcised. Israel was known for it's rapid population growth in the world. Another highly respected opinion is that from the beginning of the covenant made with Abraham, circumcision symbolized the urgency and need to remove sins from the body. This idea is suggested by the words of God to Israel at Mt. Sinai, when Israel created a golden calf at the base of Mount Sinai and worshiped it and committed immorality at the same time. In anger God said, "Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart and be stiff-necked no longer"(Deut. 10:18). Jeremiah made a similar statement to Israel hundred years later to Israel, "Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take way the foreskins of your hearts,....lest my fury come forth like fire and burn so that no one can quench it because of he evil of your doings"(Jeremiah 4:4). It appears that circumcision of the heart, figuratively speaking, shadows forth a cutting away the sins of the life. Circumcision was enjoined upon the Jews to be a perpetual memento and sign of their covenant with God and of the righteousness of their ancestral father, Abraham, who raised up the nation of the Jews, and God enjoined a new circumcision on Jews and Gentiles in the Christian religion.

Let it be said that circumcision was a sign and token of three covenants: the covenant of Abraham, covenant with Israel at Mt. Sinai, and the new covenant with Christ for both Jews and Gentiles in 33 A.D. Moses almost lost his life for failure to be circumcise his son when he was on his way to Egypt to deliver Israel(Exodus 4). As strange as it sounds, though much of the world does not believe the Bible, yet it has become a near universal belief of the world, and this operation is still practiced in most nations of the world. Yet, the God of the Bible originated this practice. Interestingly, and most important of all, circumcision is a command of God in the Christian religion and is performed on both man and woman.. However, it is practiced in a different form in the religion of Christ Literal, physical circumcision was never commanded by the apostles. As performed on those becoming Christians, it was a spiritual circumcision:, and was not performed by the hand of man. The penalty was physical death on some occasions in the Old Testament, but the in the penalty in refusing Christian circumcision is eternal and everlasting spiritual death, which is the second death. Paul said to Christians about Jewish circumcision of the foreskin in Galatians 5:2, "If you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing." There is no religious value in the old Jewish circumcision to day either for Jews, Gentiles or Christians. Jesus nailed Old Testament circumcision to the cross, took it out of the way and replaced it by Christian circumcision. Jewish circumcision was a type of the circumcision of Christ. However, false Jewish teachers convinced many first century Christians to believe that Christians had to be circumcised physically or they they could not go to heaven. They really troubled the first century church, and Paul fought them all of his life and condemned their false teaching on the subject. The circumcision law God made with Abraham has been done away by the death of Christ. It passed away when the Jewish religion passed away. Nevertheless, the early church fought a hard battle against this false doctrine.

What then is Christian circumcision? What is that circumcision that applies to women as well as men?. How do we go about getting this circumcision?. The new circumcision of Christ is fully described in our text in Colossians 2:11-14, "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 Christ from the dead. And you being dead in your trespasses and thee uncircumcision of of your flesh, he has made alive together with Christ; having forgiven you of all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that were against us, which was contrary. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."That passage of scripture tells of God's part in Christian circumcision; Christ's part in New Covenant circumcision, and the part Christian baptism has in our circumcision.Please notice that all Christians have been circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, that is, without human hands. The circumcision of Abraham was made with human hands by cutting off a little skin from the genital organ. That of Christians was a cutting off of all sins of the flesh of the entire past life. It is called the circumcision of Christ which means it was accomplished by His authority and in particular by His death on the cross. Christian circumcision is the separation of all sins from a person's life. We are said to be buried with Christ when the person is placed under water and then raised again, thus going up and down in the form of a burial and resurrection. Being called the circumcision of Christ the meaning is it was accomplished by His authority when one truly believes and repents of his sins and submits to immersion in water. The word of God states that we we are buried with Christ in baptism and also raised with Him through faith in the operation of God who raised Christ from the dead. Operation of God means his energy or divine power by which God raised Christ from the dead. If a person believes that God raised Christ from the dead, and he is scripturally baptized along with faith and repentance, then according to Paul that person has been spiritually risen to anew life in and with Christ. Verse 13 tell us what Christian circumcision does for us, "He has made us alive together with Christ spiritually, having forgiven us all trespasses. The circumcision of Christ forgiveness of all trespasses in our lives against God, and it adds us to God's spiritual family, . the church. We can only conclude from our text that the Old Testament circumcision in some way signified the removal of sin from peoples' lives. In some way it was connected with sins in peoples' lives. Furthermore it is crystal clear that the circumcision in the covenant Abraham and Israel was type of baptism which is Christian circumcision, the circumcision of Christ.

Many doninational and Protestant preachers are using all kinds of false explanations and false teachings about baptism to deny the truth that baptism by immersio is Christian circumision, and in Christian circumcision is when God washes away our sins by the blood of Christ at teh time of baptism. Forgiveness of sins does not occur either at the time of faith or repentance. We have learned from our study that Christ's circumcision, the circumcision He requires of all accountable people is baptism by immersion. I agree with what Minister Eric Ritz said in one of his sermons that baptism tells us who we are and tells us we are approved by God. Baptism is a God-given sign and seal that we are the children of God. It establishes us in our rightful place in the religion of Christ and establishes us in our rightful place in the universe. When scripturally baptized, it is an announcement to the world that we have been circumcised by Christ and that we are part of the family of God and Christ. Because we are a part of the family of Christ, Christ has added us to the family of Abraham descendants. Eeternal life was one of the promises God made to all the descendants of Abraham, which included all Gentiles who submit to the circumcision of Christ. Circumcision is still mandatory by God, and that is why our circumcision by Christ tells us who we are. We are a descendant of Abraham, a baptized disciple of Christ a nd a circumcised member of God's family and a recipient of all the promises God made to Abraham. Abraham is the father all promises that God has made to mankind. It is good to know who you are.

Baptism by immersion also tells us we have God's approval.  When Jesus was baptized, he was immersed in the river Jordan, and when he came up out of the water, He saw the heavens opened, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended on Him and a voice from heaven said, "You are my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased." When we follow His example which prove scriptural baptism is by immersion, and obey God's command to be baptized, God puts His seal of approval upon us and at that time in a sense God says, "Your are my Son or daughter in whom I am well-pleased." That is when it happens and not uintil that. Believe in Christ and faith in Christ is good but it does not add a person to God's circumcised family. Something similar to that happens at every baptism. We are the redeemed people of the Father. What we did with our life before baptism is inconsequential. What we have done with our life since baptism is between us and our Maker. It doesn't mean we are perfect people. Far from it. One of the reasons water is used in baptism is to symbolize the taking away of our sins, and it also signifies our new birth into the kingdom of God and Lord's church on the earth. Baptism tells us who we are, tells us we have God's seal of approval, it tells us we are citizens of the kingdom oof God on earth, and it tells us we are approved to live with Abraham in that city he looked for all of his earthly life but never found. That city is the city whose Builder and Maker is God.






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