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Promised and Sealed

Ephesians 1:3-14

 

“For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world”

Ephesians 1:4

 

We all long to be connected.

But we all know what it’s like to lose touch.

 

We all long for relationship.

But we all know what it’s like to be alone.

 

We all long to be KNOWN.

But we all know what it’s like to be just another face in the crowd.

 

This Sunday we begin a brand-new sermon series here at St. Mark called KNOWN. This series will take us through the book of Ephesians and show us that the longings that we have for connection and relationship are all fulfilled in Jesus. God who created us and redeemed us in not distant or disconnected from us. He does not ignore us, He does not leave us hanging to figure this life out. No, God is intimately close to us. He longs to be in relationship with us. So much so that He went to great lengths to make it happen! Just take a look at what Paul has to say in Ephesians 1:4:

 

For [God] chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his light. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons and daughters through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

 

Does that sound like a God who has lost touch? Does that sound like a God who has left us alone to fend for ourselves? Does that sound like a God who sees us as just one more nameless, faceless person on this planet? No way.

 

Despite our sin and rebellion, God has not lost touch with his creation. Indeed, God has known His creation (that means you!) even before He created it (and you!). God has not left us alone to try to pull ourselves out of our sinful condition. He had in mind all along to make us holy, to forgive us, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This was God’s good will and plan all along; to love us, to save us, to redeem us, to know us!

 

As a parent knows her child, God knows us. We’ve been adopted into His family, given the family name of the Triune God in our baptism, and we are KNOWN and loved more than we can ever imagine.

 

Be sure to join us in Bible Study this week at 8:45am as we take a look at Ephesians 1:1-23 (get the Bible study ahead of time HERE) and in Worship at 10am as we begin our series KNOWN!  

Colossians: New Identity, New Life

Colossians 3:12-17

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” - Colossians 3:12

 

As we wrap up this devotional series based on the book of Colossians, it’s fitting that Paul sends us off first, with a reminder of our identity in Christ and second, with a reminder of how we are to live in this world. Identity then lifestyle. That’s the order of operations here in Colossians. Identity then lifestyle.

 

Paul has been clear throughout Colossians that God doesn’t love us because of how we behave. No, God loves us in spite of our sin and brokenness. But now that we know God has reached down from Heaven and pulled us out of sin and death, everything changes.

 

We are different people. New people. And so Paul urges us to start acting like it!

 

Compassion. Kindness. Humility. Gentleness. Patience. These are the characteristics Christ calls us to “put on”. Especially in a world that sees these as weaknesses, the Church is called to stand for something different. Whether those whom we encounter on a daily basis are executives, residents of Murphy Park, or immigrants to this country, the call is the same.

 

Compassion. Kindness. Humility. Gentleness. Patience. Oh yeah...and love.  

 

Imperfect though we are, the Word of God continues to transform us. That’s why we’ve been talking a lot lately about “Growing Together in God’s Word”. God’s Word works in our lives. It works to create in us a brand-new identity: God’s chosen people. And it works to transform us from what we once were into people marked by the same compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and love for which Christ has shown to us.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Nick

 

This week, take a look at Colossians 3:12-17, answer the questions on pages 36-37 of the Living Way Bible Study, and join us at 8:45am on Sunday for our final week studying Paul’s Letter to the Colossians.


Finally, be sure to join us each Sunday beginning July 15th for a new sermon series on the book of Ephesians called Known. Each week will include personal devotional questions which will also be the basis for our Adult Bible Study.

Colossians: The New You

Colossians 3:1-11

“...your life is now hidden with Christ in God”

Col. 3:3

 

I’m obsessed with productivity tools. That is, I’m obsessed with trying to find that one tool which will finally help me make the most of each and every day...achieve all my goals and still have time left over to watch a little TV at night and go hiking on the weekends. Digital or analog. Websites, apps, calendars, journals, planners, systems. You name it, I’ve tried it. I’ve been searching for years to find that silver bullet which will make me into the uber productive person I’ve always wanted to be.

 

Maybe you’re searching too.

 

Maybe you’re looking for the best anti-aging regimen.

 

Maybe you’re looking for the best diet and exercise program.

 

Maybe you’re looking for that financial plan that will allow you to buy everything you’ve ever wanted and still have money for retirement.

 

Maybe you’re looking for that one silver bullet, too. What is the one thing which will help to bring about that ‘New You’ you’ve always wanted.

 

But if you’re looking for that New You, might I suggest taking a look at Colossians 3:1-11? If you’re looking for that New You, might I also suggest lifting the lid of the baptismal font and finding your reflection in the waters through which Christ brought you from death to life? According to Paul, that is where you’ll find the ‘New You’. Except what you find is even better than a New You. It’s a new creation. It’s your life ‘hidden with Christ’.

 

Now, I’m all for finding your productivity groove, eating well, exercising, and spending your money responsibly. But the New You? That’s from Christ and Christ alone. The New You came when Jesus raised you from dead sinner status and made you alive in Him.

 

The result? A life that reflects the character of Christ. Putting away all that is evil and impure and “setting our minds on things about”.

 

Looking for the New You? Look no further! You’ve been raised up with Christ!

 

Be sure to join us every Sunday at 8:45am in Room 5 for Bible Study! This week we will study Colossians 3:1-11. Download the entire Colossians Adult Bible Study - PDF version HERE and prepare for the study by answering the Personal Application Questions on pages 30-31.

 

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