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Colossians: Growing Together in Christ

Growing Together in Christ

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

- Colossians 1:13-14

 

Note: This series is tied to our Sunday morning Adult Bible Study. In addition to reading the weekly devotional, I encourage you to read the appropriate portion of Colossians, answer the questions linked to at the bottom, and join us in Bible Study at 8:45am for a great discussion!

 

Paul’s letter to the Colossians is a writing intended to address a particular problem at a particular time in the life of the church. From the text of the letter we can deduce that Epaphras, the leader of the church in Colossae, had traveled a great distance to seek council from Paul. There were some among the Christians in Colossae who were advocating a false teaching, a worldly philosophy that was attempting to supplant the one true gospel of Jesus.

 

But before Paul begins to address this problem, he takes time to greet the Christians in Colossae and remind them he is praying for them. Day in and day out Paul thanks God for the faith of the Christians in this dwindling town in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) and prays that they may continually be built up in Christ. Paul’s prayer is that the Gospel these Christians have received, the Good News of their redemption (Col. 1:14), would bear fruit in their lives.

 

This fruit, according to Paul, looks like doing good in their world, increasing in knowledge of God, endurance, patience, joy, and thanksgiving. All of this not in order to be welcomed into the Kingdom of God but because they had already been brought into the Kingdom. Paul desires the Christians in Colossae to continue on the life-long journey of spiritual growth and development.

 

Indeed, this is our prayer too. Having received the Gospel of Christ, we pray that God would continue to develop us into mature followers of Jesus. This we do together as a church body as we search the scriptures, discuss them, and ask questions together.

 

View the entire study on Colossians here Colossians Bible Study - PDF Version






 

Real Faith: Real Victory (1 John 5:4-8)

Real Victory: 1 John 5:4-8

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world…”

- 1 John 5:4

 

Doesn’t it feel like life is sometimes a seemingly endless series of small victories followed by large setbacks? One step forward. Two (or three!) steps back. Those once small victories can come to seem meaningless in the face of such large setbacks. More than that, life seems like a game that is rigged...a game we can never win. Disappointment and frustrations drag us down.

 

However, as John wraps up his letter and as we wrap up our sermon series Real Faith, we are encouraged to focus on the one Real Victory we have in Jesus. Despite all appearances, those of us who have faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have won victory over the world. We have, through Christ, victory over sin, victory over death, and victory over the devil. Sure we may feel like we have been defeated but the resurrection of Jesus guarantees that, in the end, God is triumphant.

 

A friend of mine recently found out that his child, due in August, has a heart defect and, in all likelihood, when the child is born he will have to have surgery. With so much uncertainty my friend and his wife are unsure if they will get to see their child grow up. While they are clearly beatdown and devastated, my friend expressed his confidence in the victory of Jesus. “I’ll either hold him in a few months or I’ll hold him on the Last Day when Jesus comes back,” he told me. Unable to fix the situation himself, he can cling only to the victory that is his in Jesus.

 

This is what it means to have Real Victory. In the face of adversity and the devastation this life often brings, God has poured out His Spirit upon us to bear witness to the truth of Christ’s victory. Through God’s Word and the Sacraments, the Spirit of God works mightily in our hearts to sustain our faith and trust in God who has overcome all sin and every evil. Indeed, even our confession as Christ as Lord and Savior is dependant upon the Spirit. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “...and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit”.

 

So as we face yet another day, we go out confidently because Real Victory is ours. The Son of God has come and, by His death and resurrection, has indeed gained victory over the world.

 

 

Real Faith: Real Relationships (1 John 4:7-12)

Real Relationships: 1 John 4:7-12

 

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

- 1 John 1:11

 

Do you ever get the feeling that we are all just going through the motions? Do you ever get the feeling that, especially in our relationships, we have become mechanical and fake? In our fast-paced world that provides for us a myriad of ways in which we can spend our time, does it ever seem like we’re just too distracted to really pay attention to one another? Does it ever seem like Real Love and Real Relationships are just more work that we really care to put forth? And so it is perhaps one of the great ironies of our time that, with a host of social networks at our fingertips, we are some of the lonliest people on the planet.

 

If we’re honest with ourselves, we know that the cure isn’t to be found in social media or our online personas. Only in Jesus can we find the cure that we are looking for.

 

As we take time to watch Jesus in the Gospels and see how He loves people and how He has loved us, we will find the key to Real Relationships. In 1 John, the apostle has already told us that Jesus is the pattern of our love (1 John 3:16) so in 1 John 4:7-12 John continues to encourage us to love others as Jesus has loved us. More specifically, John urges us to love sacrificially.

 

It’s another great irony, isn’t it? That the secret to being filled up isn’t to hoard the gifts of God. The secret to relational fulfillment is giving. It’s listening. It’s waiting. It’s watching. It’s taking our minds off of what we need or what we’re going to say next and focusing on someone else.

 

What’s more, it’s not about getting something in return or only loving those who are lovable. Jesus loved you and me, even when we were dreadful sinners. Loving like Jesus, then, is about loving one another even in our imperfections. It’s about loving one another despite the fact that we constantly have food on our face. It’s about loving, not the idea of another person, but the person herself.  

 

Real Relationships start and end with Jesus. He has loved us with a beautiful, divine, sacrificial love. Therefore, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).

 

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