Looking Up, Putting Off, Putting On

Scripture: Colossians 3:1-11

Scripture Memory:  1 John 1:6-7

“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 

Journey: For the last few weeks we have emphasized that the Gospel is that by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ you enter into a living, dynamic relationship with God. The Gospel is not  about human effort and religious works to “get right with God.” It’s about Christ’s atoning effort (death and resurrection) for you and you trusting in Him and being grateful for what He has done. The Gospel is about His work for you, His gift to you and your acceptance of it by faith. Full stop. You have nothing to add. 

However, (and this is a big however) living as a disciple of Jesus does involve human effort and even sacrifice. God intends to transform you and you do have a real part to play in this. Your part is not about you doing religious works on your own, or under your own steam but there are things that God gives you strength to do that will definitely shape the kind of person you are becoming. This is about you living life the way that Jesus lived life so that you are becoming a person that is more like Him. This is something that is commonly called sanctification and that’s what we’ll be thinking about today.

Sanctification is a life-long process of your becoming exactly who God intends for you to be and of Him using you to help the church become exactly what He intends for it to be.

And if we pursue sanctification, I mean if we really run after it and are not just playing religious games week to week, it will cost us everything we have and everything we are. Of course, if we don’t pursue sanctification and really run after it, playing religious games will cost us even more.  Think about it. 

God bless,

Will (for the pastors)

A Life of Freedom – Pt 2

Scripture: Colossians 2:18-23

Scripture Memory:  1 Peter 3:15-16

 “ . . .in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

Journey: We’ll continue today, where we left off last week, trying to identify the negative influence of legalism, mysticism and asceticism.

Legalism is “The teachings of the Bible + good deeds = salvation” (or life as it should be). We pointed out last week that if you give in to legalism that there will be two results. One, you‘ll begin to live your life to please people – although the bottom line is that you are not accountable to Betty and Fred but to God. Two, legalism will cause you to “fall away from grace.” That means you’ll begin to live as if your acceptance by God is dependent upon the things you do instead of it being simply and completely dependent upon His grace in Christ. It’s very deceptive, but nothing will carry you away from God faster than a “good life” of legalism.

Today we’ll think similarly about the influences of spiritual mysticism and asceticism and what it means for us to really experience the substance of life by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone. 

God bless,

Will (for the pastors)

A Life of Freedom

Scripture: Colossians 2:16-23

Scripture Memory:  James 1:19-20

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Journey: We’ll continue today where we left off several weeks ago by thinking of what it means to really walk with Christ through life.   

When we looked at Col 2:6-10, we thought about how even good traditions with an original purpose of helping us understand what it means to live a life of faith – can themselves become a focus of misplaced faith and confidence.

Today we’ll think similarly about the influences of legalism, spiritual mysticism and asceticism and what it means for us to really believe that Christ alone is the substance of our faith. 

God bless,

Will (for the pastors)