Happy and Holy New Year!
Here is the message from New Year's Eve that I only got about a quarter of the way through! Yes...I over prepare. Love you all!
Text: Colossians 1:13-18
Col 1:13-18 ESV He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, (14) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (16) For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. (17) And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (18) And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
A few thoughts:
1. Last Sunday, we read these verses among others from Philippians:
Php 1:20-21 ESV - as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. (21) For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
2. We were reminded again of what we learned as church several years ago…that the ultimate reason why we live or die is to please Christ; that whether He chooses for us suffering or prosperity, His name be praised; all that matters is that He alone is glorified through our lives; that…Ahem…Jesus Is Enough!
3. We also said that we, as a church, need this kind of faith. Again, our church has been given foundational truths. We are set soundly (though surely imperfectly as we are all sinners saved by grace) on the Rock of Christ.
4. The question now is, “Like Paul and so many others, are we willing to ‘go to jail’ for Christ and will we be able to rejoice, by faith, in the process?”
5. In other words Church, will we pursue Christ’s commands by faith, even when it costs us? Will we help the church restore her Prophetic Voice? Will we:
a. Reclaim the Gospel? Will we preach both Law and Grace that people might truly be delivered from sin, death and hell?
b. Reestablish Holiness? Will we both live for and fight for what is right according to the whole of Scripture? Will we allow Kingdom holiness to permeate our total thinking?
c. Ready the Church through Stewardship? Do we have the faith to believe that we can truly take dominion biblically? Do we believe we can structure our total lives to raise godly children and promote a biblical worldview, even when it’s hard?
d. Reform the Family? Are we willing to, by faith, obey God’s precepts, principles, and patterns concerning marriage, singleness, courtship, manhood, womanhood, treatment of our parents/grandparents, and discipling our children?
e. Restore Trust in Leadership? Are we willing to conform to biblical commands and principles concerning church eldership and headship, the diaconate, and overall pattern-housing that by His Grace, we might be a light to others?
6. We said Sunday that there is a connection we are just beginning to understand, between the JESUS IS ENOUGH sort of faith and our mandate. Could it be possible that our Reaching, Teaching, and Releasing in house could, by His Grace, become a platform for Prophetic Voice Reformation outside the house? And if so, isn’t it fairly obvious that if we are living for what the world has to offer, or are trying to please or identify with that which is ungodly, that we’ll fail? Why? Because the road chosen for us by our Lord is not easy, popular, trendy, or cultural: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Gal 1:10 ESV )
7. 2014 is a “faith-significant” year for us. I’d like to encourage you all to look again at the notes from last Sunday AND open your faith to this quick walkthrough through Colossians.
Jesus IS ENOUGH…a few thoughts:
1. First, from our Text: Col 1:13-18 ESV He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, (14) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (16) For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. (17) And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (18) And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
a. From verses 13-14, the Christian’s faith and joy is anchored firmly in the saving work of Christ our King! We have been, because He chose us from the foundation of the world, delivered! Hallelujah!
b. Our challenge is to allow such a great Gospel and salvation to permeate our daily living. Truly, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (14) For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Ecc 12:13-14 ESV
c. The “saving faith” we’ve been granted, if we are truly saved, should cause the continuing growth of a thirst for righteousness! The truly saved CANNOT just sit back for long! Christ is King!
d. From verse 15…Christ is God!
e. From verse 16, Christ is Creator!
f. From verse 17, Christ is Sustainer and Eternal!
g. From verse 18, Christ is Head over the church, and indeed, EVERYTHING! There is NO neutrality for the Christian. JESUS IS LORD! (Acts 10:36; 1 Cor 12:3)
h. We are simply advocating the use of God-given faith to make Him Preeminent in the major parts of life…FOR HIS GLORY! And when it gets hard, remember that HE IS ENOUGH!
Now let’s look at a few other verses from this power-packed and well-balanced letter from the Apostle Paul to the church in Colossae…another letter written around 62AD from jail…
2. Col 1:3-5 ESV We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, (4) since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, (5) because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel…
a. Just a quick point: note the motivation and reason of Christ faith in Christ and love for one another: the hope laid up in heaven.
b. Oh that our “heavenly citizenship” (Php 3:20) might be more of a factor in our daily lives! Everything would change!
3. Col 1:28-29 ESV Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. (29) For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
a. By faith, let us proclaim both the warnings and the teachings of Scripture! May we utilize heavenly wisdom and disciple others towards maturity! May we even, by faith, be willing to TOIL and STRUGGLE, knowing that Christ will empower us!
4. Col 2:8 ESV See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
a. Huge one here! By faith, may we work towards a more biblical worldview! This is a massive issue for the church right now! We are steadily losing the ability to apply the precepts of the King to life.
b. Saints, let’s loose our fear here…fear of looking or sounding like someone we don’t like…fear of man…fear of societal norms!
5. Col 2:15 ESV He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
a. Ha! Hallelujah! Our Lord reigns! By faith, believe it and act like it!
6. Col 2:16-17 ESV Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. (17) These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
a. By faith, let’s always beware of legalism as we pursue righteousness. Let’s never go beyond what is written.
7. Col 3:1-4 ESV If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (2) Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (3) For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (4) When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
a. By faith, elevate your thinking! This mindset actually causes you to serve “on earth” better! Why? Because it defeats selfishness and fear. It becomes a joyful motivation to rise in the morning and work in the vineyard until you sleep!
8. Col 3:5-6 ESV Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (6) On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
a. By faith, let us keep striving, with the Holy Spirit’s help, against sin! Jesus is enough! Let us please our Master!
9. Col 3:12-14 ESV Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, (13) bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (14) And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
a. By faith, let us stay together! Let’s not miss the chance to grow by loving one another! Forgive quickly because Jesus is Enough! Bear with one another…because Jesus is Enough! Have compassion…because Jesus is Enough!
b. May we increase our love for one another and see a more “perfect harmony!”
10. Col 3:16 ESV Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
a. By faith, embrace the Sufficiency of Scripture (see also 2 Tim 3:16-17). What a beautiful picture! Can you imagine homes like this? Churches? Friendships? Schools? I can!
11. Col 3:18-24 ESV Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. (19) Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. (20) Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (21) Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (22) Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. (23) Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, (24) knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
a. By faith, let us keep reforming the family, striving to obey biblical precepts!
b. By faith, let us believe God for the salvation and obedience of our children!
c. By faith, let us work hard in our jobs, fearing the Lord, for whom we actually work!
d. By faith, let us do everything for Christ and for a heavenly inheritance!
12. Col 4:2 ESV Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
a. Let us begin in January, by faith, with a renewed purpose and passion in prayer! And may our prayers be “watchful.” Remember, the spirit is willing, but the flesh… (Mark 14:38)
13. Col 4:5-6 ESV Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. (6) Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
a. And finally, let us, by faith, open our mouths and preach the Gospel of Christ. Let us do so graciously but saltily.
b. Remember, salt has 3 functions: it adds flavor (sweetens or sours!), it produces thirst (causes a seeking), and it acts as a preservative (it saves!)!
c. In 2014, may we do all three with all we come in contact with, for the glory of Christ alone!