Complete In The Messiah

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: —Colossians 2:8-10

One thing the Greek language of Paul’s day had going for it was versatility, and Paul maximized on the power of the Greek language in his writings. There is one clause in the passage above that cries out for your attention. It was there in verse 10, “You are complete in him.” That is a very serious statement.

It is difficult to imagine a more concrete word...a more definitive word! Nothing lacking, no shortage, no emptiness, no inadequacy, and no assembly required. COMPLETE! Even reading those words in our English language we get a sense of finality, after all, when something is complete it is finished otherwise it would not be “complete.” Even so, the Greek here reaches new heights in giving us an understanding both of the Messiah and of those who have demonstrated saving faith in him.


The Greek noun that Paul uses is "pleroma," (play-RO-mah) and Paul uses it with an unexpected boldness by applying it first to Messiah, and then, in the very next sentence, he applies it to us.

“For in Messiah dwelleth all the pleroma of the Godhead bodily.”

“And ye are pleroma in him...”

Since the fullness of God truly dwells in Messiah, and WE are filled up in Messiah, then the fullness of God dwells in US.

If A=B, and B=C, then A=C.


Possibly the best literal translation of “pleroma” would be “crammed full.” The Greek word has been adopted into our English language, and at least one dictionary defines it as, “A state of overflowing abundance.”
When no ordinary English word can be found to describe a condition of extraordinary richness and fullness, “pleroma” is used. The ongoing idea of fullness is conveyed by the use of pleroma in the New Testament.

But I have all, and abound: I am full (pleroma), having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. 19 But my God shall supply (pleroma) all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:18-19

It is difficult to miss the hominess of the “I am full” in verse 18. The expression is that of a man who has eaten too much! It describes an over sufficient satisfaction, deep contentment, a state of having more than enough; having no further need of anything else.

Just as the Philippians had so richly and bountifully provided for Paul (vs. 14-18) so, in turn, Paul promises that God will provide for them in even greater measure.

We also find other, parallel passages:

Which, when it was full (crammed with abundance), they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. —Matthew 13:48

Every valley shall be filled (pleroma), and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; —Luke 3:5


The phrase, “filled full” is not an overstatement or redundancy. Something can be full, yet not full.
If you FILL a bucket with tennis balls, it is full, yet it is not full.
If you then pour rocks into the same bucket, it is more full, yet not FULL.
Take that same bucket and then pour in sand, and it is full, yet it is still not FULL.
But pour water into that same bucket, and now it may be said to be “filled full,” crammed, replete, with room for nothing else. It is in this sense that Paul spoke to us in Colossians 2:9-10.

For in him dwelleth all the pleroma of the Godhead bodily. And ye are pleroma in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Messiah is "crammed full" of the power, nature, and holiness of Almighty God! And as good as that is, the apostle goes on to declare that we are crammed full "in" the one who is "crammed full" of the power, nature, and holiness of Almighty God! Can anyone make a more powerful or a more direct statement about you as a believer?

But, if it is true that all blessing, authority, provision, fullness, victory, healing, freedom, and so on, are already the full expression of every believer, how is it that so many apparently suffer from an almost total lack of these things?


This “completeness,” like every other aspect of the gospel, becomes real in a man’s life only in conjunction with three other things:
01. It is available in Yeshua alone
02. It must be accepted by faith

There is, indeed, a good reason why I have #3 in all caps!
You will not actually live in that state of being “crammed full” until you deeply believe that "in" Messiah you are, in fact, already “crammed full”; and when you believe it, you will irresistibly, unequivocally, and unashamedly speak it — Matthew 12:34b:

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Hear it...
Believe it...
Speak it...

THAT is the three-fold REQUIREMENT to ACTIVATE the promises of God. While most Christians have little or no trouble with Hearing and Believing, the problem arises in that pesky CONFESSION part.


One problem, it would seem, is that we tend to measure ourselves by ourselves. But the challenge of Scripture is to measure ourselves by Messiah because you are complete ONLY in Messiah. Thus IN HIM, you ARE complete.

It is ONLY through your CONFESSION of these things that they become a reality in your life. A believer’s identification with Yeshua Messiah by faith is both the foundation and the goal of sanctification. The process of translating that identification into the daily experience of ongoing sanctification, however, demands three attitudes of mind and action on a believer’s part (Reckoning, Yielding, and Service). These Paul discussed in Romans 6:5–23.

There is no surer way to increase your bondage to some habit or personal failure than to make it the subject of most of your thinking, talking, and praying.

But once you have confessed your failure (in whatever area(s)) and received forgiveness and cleansing from God, you MUST begin again (or perhaps for the first time) to joyfully, continually, and AGGRESSIVELY confess yourself to be COMPLETE in him. Only then will you bring more and more of HIS righteousness into your life.

You cannot maintain righteousness by focusing on sin or failure.
If you want to remain Christ-like, then you must focus your attention on his excellencies. The more you rejoice in the victory of Messiah, and the more you praise God for making you a participant in that victory, the more that victory will be enacted in your own experience.


The time to begin this exercise of faith is WHILE YOU ARE STILL OUTWARDLY DEFEATED. Remember, you are praising God for what you are IN MESSIAH (Colossians 2:9-10), and that has nothing to do with what you are IN YOURSELF. But such a confession will irresistibly change what you are in yourself to what you are in Messiah.
When scripture declares that:
You are blessed with all spiritual blessings
You are more than a conqueror
You are healed
You have authority over Satan
You are holy, unblameable, unreprovable

Grace and Peace to all.

The Re-emergence Of The House Church

The Re-emergence Of The House Church

I am not given to making wild predictions or fanciful proclamations. Those things are best left to those who know that they Know that they KNOW they have heard from God. Still I have an ever-present, non-abating sense of urgency regarding the House Church. Therefore, without any claim as having directly heard from God on the matter, I feel compelled to share some thoughts with you concerning the House Church.

A Little History

House Churches have existed from the very beginning of Christianity; the apostle Paul frequently wrote letters to “the church in your house” (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Philemon 2). Beginning in the second century a.d., and forward to this very day, House Churches were gradually replaced by specialized structures built specifically for Christian worship. These structures always required financial resources, and were, indeed still are governed by local regulations. This was especially true for nearly all religious groups during the colonization and settlement of North America.

On the American frontier, devout husbands or wives would conduct some form of simple worship service in the family home on a regular basis. Generally these house church gatherings involved singing, Scripture reading, prayer, and a brief devotional thought or reading from a religious text.

When there were a sufficient number of believers in the area to invite a traveling preacher to conduct services, the members would begin to make plans to build a special structure for public worship (and often education as well). Frequently the same structure would function as the town hall, the local school and the place for Sunday services. They were more along the lines of a civic center/religious center.

The Long Dark Road

Unless you just landed in America from another planet, far, far away, you are aware of the waning acceptance of Christianity in America, and the ever increasing acceptance of Humanism (yes, it is a religion). There is an ever increasing intolerance of traditional Christian values, and those who cling to those values are labeled as snobbish, arrogant, intolerant, bigots, racist, primitive, and unteachable; Christian fanatics. Little by little, believers have allowed politicians, unbelievers, and aliens to this country to dictate both the means and the extent to which we may openly practice our Christian faith.

However, we have now begun to enter more deeply into the shadows, but there is still enough ambient light to see the path ahead of us. Our faith is strong, our pastors are still in place, and our church building serves us well enough. Today we still have enough light to see ahead, but the farther we travel down this road, the darker it is going to get and soon we may not be able to see ahead of us at all. One day we may be stopped dead in our tracks; the pastor will be gone (or replaced by a Federal Appointee), the building will be more of a military headquarters, and doctrine will be a matter of public policy and no longer a matter of Scripture.

If you are thinking that this is just the ramblings of a delusionist, think about these things for a moment:

Where was your outrage when prayer was removed from schools by an atheist?
Where was your outrage when nativity scenes were made taboo by atheists?
Where was your outrage when homosexual marriages were legalized in your state?
Where was your outrage when the sacrifice of children was declared lawful?
Where was your outrage when Barack Obama declared that the United States is NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION?

It is time to wake up, Church, and smell the brimstone. It is safe to assume that there will be no outrage from this point forward, because the Church has become quite comfortable with being told what to do by those who should have had no voice at all. We have traded in our outrage for “peace” at any price; but there is no peace.

They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. 16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. 17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. —Jeremiah 6:14-17 AV

Now that I have your attention and (ironically) possibly your outrage, allow me to continue with the original premise — The Re-emergence Of the House Church.

Another Move Of God

Americans have always valued religious freedom, and the twentieth century gave rise to a number of new independent groups and House Churches. Today’s House Churches are not beholden to any particular theological tradition—they may be liberals or conservatives, Holiness, Pentecostal, or charismatic, Calvinists or Arminians. In some instances these House Churches are temporary arrangements to fill in while waiting on a new church building; in other cases they are an answer to prayer for intimacy and community that members have not found in a larger church. Additionally, some groups, like the Old Order River Brethren, regard the House Church as the only biblical model for Christian community and worship. They refuse to use church buildings.

Today, your taste may very well run in the direction of the (now) traditional church building in which a large congregation meets regularly. And to that I must respond, “Glory to Yahweh!” I am most definitely in favor of believers who worship God in spirit and in truth, regardless of where that may take place. My only concern is that you do not get too complacent, too comfortable, with your current mode (and place) of worship; “…for the times they are a changing.”

What is surprising is that a number of people who enjoy Worship Services in a dedicated "Church Building" look askance at those who prefer the more intimate atmosphere of a House Church. It is as if House Church worship of God is somehow inferior or lacking in acceptability.

Pooh, pooh, you say, “There is no way I would ever be so ingrained in my religious observance that I could ever possibly miss a move of God.” Strangely enough, THAT was the precise thinking of the Jews while they were busy not only REJECTING the Messiah, but also CRUCIFYING him.

Seriously, A New Thing

Read your Bible…it is replete with accounts of those who were so complacent that they missed the new thing God was doing or about to do.

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. 20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. 21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. —Isaiah 43:19-21 AV

There are a good many pastors today who are far more intere$ted in number$ and offering$ than they are in perfecting the $aint$ for the work of ministry. (
I already know YOUR pastor is not like that so no need to send me a plethora of emails to set me straight.) The issue, ultimately, has nothing to do with your current pastor; the issue is with you. Are you flexible enough to follow God in a new work? Can you abandon your cherished spot in the second row on the right side of the congregation? Can you take the pressure of not being able to hide in a church of 500; 1500; 5000? Will you be able to survive the close scrutiny of 8-20 believers in a House Church? I am suggesting you think about these things now, before the collapse of your current house of worship becomes a reality.

It May Look Like This

Since you have come this far, why not go all the way and picture what the House Church of tomorrow might look like. Many people participate in an offshoot of their current church; the Home Fellowship.

Many enjoy the Home Fellowship much more than the regular Sunday Worship Service because it is far more intimate; a greater sense of unity. I am going to use this familiar scenario as a basis for what the House Church of tomorrow might look like.

A Loose Format

A song or two, with or without music as the case may be; Bible reading, perhaps a formal teaching (if a teacher is present); prayers and prayer requests; discussions.

While there is certain to be some degree of structure to the assembly in the House Church, it is not likely that it will be of the same nature as that of your current worship service.

Mutual Participation

In a church of 100+, it is simply not possible (or feasible) for everyone to take an active roll in the service. But when the maximum capacity is 8-20 people, 100% participation is easily accomplished.

Furthermore, while timid saints are less likely to participate in larger groups, much of that fear is removed by being in a smaller group, which is generally filled with friends and family.

An Itinerate Pastor/Teacher

It is highly likely that after the collapse (or dismantling) of the typical church building these House Churches will be frequented by an itinerate pastor/teacher (possible even the same pastor you have now). This man (or woman) will bring a more formal message during his/her visitation, answer questions, judge disputes, make suggestions, give encouragement, etc. This will be done on a cyclical, revolving basis; each week visiting a different House Church, rinse, repeat.

Yes, I Mean Underground

If you are wondering if I am suggesting that these House Churches will be of an “underground” nature, the answer is an unqualified, “Possibly!” I have read the Bible from cover to cover several times, and as bad as things are, they are going to get worse. Never forget that! Things ARE going to get WORSE! No amount of prayer, intercession, fasting, pleading, whimpering, or spiritual warfare is going to prevent things from getting worse. Those endeavors may POSTPONE it, but they will not prevent things from getting much, much worse than they are now.

Graciously, that time is not now. But take an honest look around you…it is not as socially acceptable to be a Christian today as it was 50 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago. Yet those whose hearts are filled with love for God and his Messiah cannot abandon gathering with those of like precious faith and worshiping the God of our Salvation.

The Church, Not Judgment

I am not one of those doom and gloom people; honestly I am not. Those people talk about how God is sending judgment on America and the world at large. Doom and gloom, fire and flood, shake and bake, get right or get left; that is simply not me. But I am also not one to sugar-coat the truth either. God is not sending judgment upon America or the world…God sent his Church, the body of Messiah. In the church we find both judgment and blessing. The question now becomes, “Will you minister God’s word when there is nothing but ridicule around you?”

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? —1 Peter 4:17 AV

God is taking a very close look at his church right now. Some adjustments, modifications if you will, must be made. You can resist, rebel, complain, and murmur as Israel did in the wilderness, or you can embrace the changes on the horizon and be a part of the New Thing God is preparing to do. Only one of those options has God’s blessing on it.

All Completely Hypothetical

All of this is, however, completely hypothetical. I mean, after all, your pastor has never told you anything like this before. If something like this were even remotely possible, surely he would have said something to prepare us for it…right?

Think of me as a friendly watchman (this is the time for you to re-read Jeremiah 6:14-17 AV). Or think of me as a poor, misguided delusionist, who has lost his way. In all honesty, it matters nothing what or how you think of me. What does matter is how willing you are to embrace the change that may be (is?) coming, and your willingness to move out of your comfort zone and walk in a new work of God.


The book of Proverbs speaks of calamity coming upon us “suddenly.” It also speaks of those who harden themselves against God’s movement being destroyed suddenly.

Get ready, saints. I say in all earnestness, get ready, be ready, stay ready. I may be completely misguided in my thinking, but even now your heart is understanding what your head is trying desperately to dispel. You owe it to yourself to prepare for a dramatic change in your life as a Believer on the Lord Yeshua of Nazareth. Do not suppose the world knows what is best for you. Do not be caught unprepared. Do not allow God to pass by undetected. §

What Is Wrong With Me

It often happens that our very best intentions sometimes lose their strength and fail to achieve the victory we had initially hoped for. This is a shortcoming that besets all people, including Christians. And because this is such a universally experienced issue the apostle Paul gives us his personal testimony in the matter in chapter 7 of the Book of Romans.

It is significant that, beginning with verse 7 and continuing through to the end of this chapter, Paul used the first person singular (I, me, my), presenting
his personal experience. Up to this point he had used the third person, the second person, and even the first person plural. But now he described his own experience, allowing the Holy Spirit to apply the truth to his readers.

In Paul's testimony of his own struggles, beginning with verse 14, he reveals that the sin nature is not eradicated at the new birth. In relating his personal experience in 7:14–25, Paul consistently used the present tense whereas he had previously used the past tense. Obviously he was describing his present, personal conflict as a Christian with indwelling sin and its continuing efforts to control his daily life. As a result, indwelling sin (Sin Nature) continues to seek to exert mastery over what it considers its property even after one has become a Christian.

Paul confessed…

I do not understand what I do (literally, “what I am producing I do not know”).

He was like a little child whose honest answer to the question why he did something wrong is, “I don’t know.”

Paul continued to present the predicament he faced:
For what I want to do I do not do
(literally, “For what I am wishing, is not what I am doing,”) and conversely,
What I hate I do

Paul was a man who learned from his experiences, so now he concluded…

I find this law at work.

This law or principle is the reality of ever-present evil in an individual whenever he wants to do good. Paul held fast to the fact that, as he said,

In my inner being I delight in God’s Law (cf. 7:25).

Delight in God’s Law was the very response of the psalmist stated repeatedly in Psalm 119 (e.g., vs. 16, 24, 47; cf. Psalms 1:2).

Because of regeneration (New Birth), every believer has a new nature or capacity for loving spiritual truths. Yet, recognizing the facts of experience, Paul said he saw another law or principle at work within him. This is the principle of sin.

Paul called it “sin living in me” (Romans 7:17, 20), “evil” right there with me (v. 21), and “the sinful nature” (vs. 5, 18, 25).

This principle is continually doing two things:

  1. Waging war against the law of the believer’s mind, and
  2. Making him a prisoner of the law of sin (Sin Nature) at work within his members.

The indwelling principle of sin (sin nature) is constantly executing a military campaign against the new nature, ever attempting to achieve mastery and control (cf. “slave” in vs. 14, 25 and “slaves” in 6:17, 19–20), of a believer and of his actions.

Thus, despite a believer’s identification with Yeshua Messiah’s death and resurrection, and his efforts to have God-honoring attitudes and actions, he cannot use his own power to resist his indwelling sin nature.
In and of himself he repeatedly experiences defeat and frustration (Galatians 5:17).

Paul expressed that frustration in his exclamation…

What a wretched man I am!

Now we come full circle, "What Is Wrong With Me?" Nothing! That is to say not in the sense that you are any different from other believers. You know what is good and right, and you want to do exactly that. But rather than being patient, you erupt with frustration; rather than showing compassion you deliver condemnation; instead of acting spiritually you act in a carnal, fleshly manner.

What you and I are experiencing is our ongoing need of sanctification; that ongoing work of the Holy Ghost in our lives that more and more separates us not just FROM the worldly elements, but TO our heavenly Father.

Paul's question is something of a rephrasing of our initial question:

Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Paul’s answer to these questions (yours and his) was both triumphant and immediate:

Thanks be to God—through Yeshua Messiah our Lord!

In this answer, Paul shows that he was looking to the final triumph of Yeshua Messiah for his people. Just as believers are identified with him in his death and resurrection by faith here and now, on that future day they will join their resurrected and exalted Lord for all eternity in new bodies, free forever from the presence of sin (8:23; Philippians 3:20–21).

Romans 7 does not describe the totality of Paul’s spiritual life and experiences. In fact, chapter 7 is the springboard for what follows, setting the stage for the triumph of chapter 8.

It probably is true that in the lives of most sincere Christians, the two conditions Paul described exist in a sort of cyclical exchange. Recognition of our inability to live up to our deepest spiritual longings (chapter 7) leads us to cast ourselves upon God’s Spirit for power and victory (chapter 8).

Sanctification is a gradual process that repeatedly takes the believer through this recurring sequence of failure through dependency upon self, to triumph through the indwelling Spirit.

So, in the ultimate sense, the answer to the question, "What is wrong with me," is simply that we are a work in progress. Our sanctification will never be complete while we are in this body of flesh. In much the same way that a pearl continues to be formed while it remains in the oyster, so, too, the Holy Ghost will continue to form and shape us into the image of the Savior (Romans 8:29).

The Fiery Trial

What have I Been Doing For Two Years?

I can only guess at what people must think about my extended hiatus and total lack of visibility over the past two years. Though my response will probably be less that adequate, it is the truth and will have to suffice.

I have, for the past two years, been under a severe spiritual attack. My motives have been questioned, by integrity challenged, my veracity put to the test, and my faith has been tried in on a daily basis. It has been a season of not only testing, but the end result has been spiritual growth. I find the irony to be almost comical in that the title of my last posting here in
Lessons For The Heart was Growth In Grace!

Over the past two years I have been ministered to by angels; Lilian, Samantha, Kurt, Maria, David, Kevin, and others. I have been told by others that my unshakeable stand for the absolute authority of God's Word is wrong and that I should be willing to compromise on that in order to maintain peace and unity. It was proclaimed that my insistence on obedience to the clear commands of Scripture was unloving.

My faith has been tried, refined. And I am all the better and all the stronger for it. Though it was not pleasant at the time, the results are beyond words.

I will, once again, be posting here and sharing what the Lord has put upon my heart. My immediate prayer is that you will forgive me for so long and absence and return here again if perhaps I may impart some truth, or blessing, or strength, or hope for your time(s) of Fiery Trial.

Grace and Peace