Series: The Real You (Colossians, winter 2016)
Sermon: Philemon 8-25: Grace is Action
Parallel Reading: Isaiah 55:6-8
Key Question: How does the Gospel reshape us?
I. Our life in Christ calls us to humility
One of the most distinctive virtues of biblical faith is humility
Humility is not an absence of authority, but rather, a deep awareness of God’s
Humility recognizes the dignity and freedom of other people
Scripture: Proverbs 3:34; Matthew 18:1-4; Philippians 2:1-10; James 4:10
II. Our life in Christ calls us to forgiveness
Scripture assumes we will need to exercise forgiveness
Forgiveness is often a costly choice
Forgiveness is ultimately based on Christ’s grace
Scripture: Psalm 32:1-2; John 20:23-24; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11; Colossians 3:13
III. Our life in Christ calls us to hope
Hope is not a disposition or emotion; it is an outlook on life
One way to define hope is “having an eternal perspective on things”
Hope looks for what God is about in present circumstances
Scripture: Proverbs 23:17-18; Romans 5:1-5; Colossians 1:27-29; Hebrews 6:17-20
Take away: The Gospel of Jesus Christ transforms us into agents of grace
Sermon: Philemon 1-7: One Man’s Ministry
Parallel Reading: Psalm 133:1-3
Key Question: What is the outcome of our life in Christ?
I. Living out our life in Christ blesses others
Faith encourages others
Examples of faith are important
Our acts of love are a source of joy.
1. For the receiver
2. For observers
Scripture: John 15:9-11; Ephesians 1:15-16; 1 John 1:1-4
II. Living out our life in Christ connects us to God’s blessings
Faith provides a deep connection to other believers
1. See Romans 12:15 – empathy
2. Partnership – especially through prayer
Paul links “knowing blessing” to our service to other believers
This may be acts of caring generally, or specifically our generosity
Scripture: Matthew 5:3-12; 1 Corinthians 9:23; James 1:12
Take away: Our life in Christ is a source of blessing
Sermon: Colossians 1:1- 4:18: The Big Picture
Parallel Reading: Exodus 15:11-18
Key Question: What are the key themes of Colossians?
I. Jesus is the supreme one
Jesus is supreme over creation
Jesus is supreme in salvation
This all means Jesus is supreme over our lives
Scripture: Colossians 1:15-20
II. Jesus gives us a brand new identity
In Christ there is a definitive break with the past
In Christ we have a new allegiance and values
Our target is to look like Jesus
Scripture: Colossians 2:6-15
III. Jesus calls us to reflect him as we live our new identity
We are invited to recognize that our lives are oriented to a new reality
We are invited to live in love toward one another
We are invited to work together to advance God’s kingdom
Scripture: Colossians 3:1-4
Take away: We are transformed by the glorious Jesus
Sermon: Colossians 4:7-18: Many Hands
Parallel Reading: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Key Question: How does our new identity influence our priorities?
I. Our new identity means we are mutually interdependent
Paul was not a loner missionary, but a team-builder
Note the importance of encouragement in this passage
The “tie that binds” is mutual ministry – not affinity
Scripture: John 13:35; Philippians 2:1-11; Ephesians 2:19-22
II. Our new identity means we are invested in growing God’s kingdom
There is a tone of sacrifice in this passage that should challenge all of us
Priority in life is placed on service to Christ
2 Corinthians 5:9
What we invest in should be reflected in what we celebrate
Scripture: Matthew 6:33; Colossians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:1
Take away: Our life now in Christ means loving what God loves
Sermon: Colossians 4:2-6: Speech Matters
Parallel Reading: Proverbs 15:23-26
Key Question: What does our new identity mean for our mission?
The common denominator in this passage is our speech
I. We invite God’s power to be displayed in our witness
The general principle is to live prayerfully
Don’t miss the additional reminder to be thankful
We are dependent on God to communicate the Gospel
For unbelievers to understand - see 1 Corinthians 2:14
For us to communicate clearly (the present passage)
Scripture: John 6:44; Ephesians 6:18-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:17
II. We seek God’s wisdom to be displayed in our witness
The general principle is to live wisely
Our speech is exceedingly important
See Matthew 12:34-36
We are expected to blend kindness and cleverness in sharing the Gospel
Scripture: Ephesians 4:29; Ephesians 5:15-16; 1 Peter 3:15
Take away: Our mission in Christ is fundamentally supernatural
Sermon: Colossians 3:18-4:1: House Codes
Parallel Reading: Proverbs 15:17-20
Key Question: What does our new identity mean for our closest relationships?
Parallel Passage: Ephesians 5:22-6:9
Three sets of close relationships:
3. Slave- Master
I. Our new identity calls us to honor others
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (first sentence)
We need to win the battle for Christlikeness at home
Our work provides an opportunity for transformative witness
Scripture: John 15:12-17; Colossians 3:14; Ephesians 5:21
II. Our new identity calls us to see Christ behind our relationships
Our new identity connects us to an invisible reality
Our motivation for living differently in relationship is transformed
We are invited to reflect Christ in each key relationship
Scripture: John 15:1-11; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Colossians 3:1-4
Take away: We are called to bring a heavenly perspective into our closest relationships
Sermon: Colossians 3:12-17: In With the New
Parallel Reading: Psalm 85:8-13
Key Question: What are some implications of our new identity in Christ?
I. We are invited to patterns that encourage fellowship
This is an example of the spiritual backfill principle:
The spirit abhors a vacuum
These behaviors are for blessing others and strengthening relationship
Our faith is essentially community oriented
John 13:34-35 – love is the ultimate apologetic
Scripture: Leviticus 19:18; John 15:12-17; Ephesians 4:1-3; 32; James 2:8
II. We are invited to values that produce grace
We are instructed to live in an attitude of thankfulness
Peace is a choice
Paul brings us back to being renewed in knowledge
Notice again the corporate nature of these graces
Scripture: John 14:27; 15:7; Philippians 4:4-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; James 3:17
Take away: In Christ we have a new grace-filled orientation to life
Sermon: Colossians 3:5-11: Out With the Old
Parallel Reading: Ezekiel 18:30-32
Key Question: What are some implications of our new identity in Christ?
I. Our new identity in Christ means leaving some things behind
We are commanded to leave behind selfish impulse
We are commanded to leave behind selfish willfulness
These things stand in opposition to God’s will
This leads to God’s punishment
Scripture: Romans 1:18-32; Ephesians 5:3-5; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
II. Our new identity in Christ means recognizing new realities
We are in a process of positive change
Former divisions no longer have meaning
Jesus is both the source and the reason for this transformation
Is All and In All
Scripture: Romans 6:5-11; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Galatians 3:27-28
Take away: In Christ we are a new people with a new pattern of being
Sermon: Pentecost: Acts 2:1-41: Enter the Spirit
Parallel Reading: Joel 2:28-32
Key Question: What’s the big deal about Pentecost?
I. The Holy Spirit brings God’s power into our lives
The Holy Spirit is associated with prophecy and power
The promise of the Holy Spirit is connected with the Messiah
The presence of the Spirit is promised on all God’s people
Scripture: Nehemiah 9:20; Joel 2:28-32; John 16:4-15; Galatians 5:16-25
II. Jesus’ work is applied by the Holy Spirit
Jesus achieves the purpose of God in redemption
Jesus sends the Spirit
The Spirit’s presence is a key part of the work of Christ
Scripture: Romans 8:2-6; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 1:14
Take away: The Holy Spirit’s presence unleashes God’s blessings on us
Sermon: Colossians 3:1-4: True North
Parallel Reading: Jeremiah 50:4-5
Key Question: What does it mean that we are “with Christ”?
I. In Christ we belong to the world above
The resurrection marks a new citizenship
There is a clear emphasis on the authority of Jesus
There is a command that results from this:
Focus on eternal/heavenly things
Scripture: John 3:3-8; Ephesians 2:18-19; Philippians 3:20
II. In Christ we are united with Christ
Paul reinforces the idea of our new identity in Christ
The idea of “hidden” has several dimensions:
Security – Mystery – Conformity
Being “with Christ” is the source of our hope
Scripture: John 11:25; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 3:21
Take away: With Christ we experience a complete transformation
Sermon: Colossians 2:16-23: Stay on Target
Parallel Reading: Psalm 40:6-8
Key Question: How do we apply our new identity?
I. Only Christ fulfills the demands of the Law
There is a universal moral code
Following rules cannot fulfill this code
Scripture: Matthew 5:17; Romans 8:1-4; Galatians 3:10-14; Philippians 3:8-9
II. Only Christ provides the way of holiness
Holiness is not a behavior or an experience
Holiness is an attribute of character
Scripture: Romans 3:21-22; Galatians 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13
III. Only Christ defeats the power of sin
We have a natural disposition to trust our own effort
Human effort and discipline ultimately don’t overcome sinful impulses
We must allow the transformation of our values and convictions
Scriptures: Romans 13:14; Ephesians 2:1-7; Galatians 3:27
Take away: Spiritual life comes from connection to Jesus
Sermon: Colossians 2:8-15: The Triumph
Parallel Reading: Deuteronomy 30:6-10
Key Question: What is the foundation for our identity?
I. Beware bad advice and teaching
The world is hostile to God and His truth
Christians have to be very discerning and vigilant
Scripture: Ephesians 5:6; Titus 1:10-14; 1 Timothy 6:20
II. Christians are filled in Christ
In Christ we are actually given a new identity
This identity is based on what Jesus has done for us
Scripture: Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 3:19; Philippians 1:11
III. Christ is both God and the victor over evil
Jesus is fully God
Jesus brings about the humiliation of the powers of evil
Scriptures: Psalm 68:18 (see Eph. 4:8); Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8
Take away: As Christians Jesus is the foundation for our identity
Sermon: Resurrection Sunday: John 11:17-27: I Am…
Parallel Reading: Psalm 16:7-11
Key Question: How do we deal with the reality of death?
I. Death is an enemy
Death is real and painful
There is a rich biblical tradition of lament
Mature faith doesn’t make light of death
1 Thessalonians 4:13 – we have hope
Scripture: Genesis 2:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:25-26; 2 Timothy 1:10; Revelation 21:4
II. Jesus is victorious over death
Notice the incredible faith of Martha
Jesus claims the right and power to conquer death
We know that he proves this power: Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-10; John 20:1-10
Scripture: Isaiah 25:8; John 3:16; Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57; Colossians 1:18
Take away: Jesus is the source of resurrection life
Sermon: Palm Sunday: Zechariah 9:9-17: King of Peace
Parallel Reading: Ephesians 2:13-17
Key Question: What do we anticipate in the ministry of the Messiah?
I. The Messiah is the appointed King
The king’s nature is in view, not his actions
The significance of the donkey is peace
Scripture: Psalm 2; Isaiah 11:1-5; John 4:25-26; Revelation 19:11-16
II. Through the Messiah God grants deliverance
The New Testament picks up the blood/covenant language
God will one day vindicate His people
Scripture: Isaiah 19:19-25; Ezekiel 36:22-32; Mark 14:24; Hebrews 13:20
III. Through the Messiah God will manifest His goodness
We are invited to see and to respond – the two sides of worship
God cherishes His people
Scriptures: Genesis 33:18-19; Psalm 34:8-10; Jeremiah 31:10-14; Matthew 7:11
Take away: The Messiah reveals the graciousness of God
Sermon: Colossians 2:6-7: The Pathway
Parallel Reading: Malachi 2:4-7
Key Question: How do we live in light of the Gospel?
I. The Gospel has given us a new orientation
We have been saved – it’s a past fact
The focus of salvation is Jesus. He fulfills God’s promise and rules God’s creation.
Scripture: Romans 8:24; Ephesians 2:5, 8; Titus 3:4-6; Hebrews 12:1-2
II. The Gospel demands a new pattern of life
There is a lot to learn from the metaphor of walking:
There is a spirit in which we live, a spirit of gratitude
Scripture: Romans 6:1-11; Ephesians 4:20-24; 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12; 1 Peter 1:13-15
III. The Gospel requires our dependence
Thankfulness flows from having been blessed or gifted
Our salvation is not our work, but God’s
Scriptures: Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 3:9; 1; 2 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 13:15
Take away: Gospel life means trusting and following Jesus
Sermon: Colossians 1:24-2:5: Mystery Solved
Parallel Reading: Jeremiah 9:23-24
Key Question: What is the heart of the Gospel?
I. Jesus is the content of the Gospel
The Gospel was a mystery to be revealed
The revelation was Incarnation – God in flesh
Scripture: Matthew 13:11; Romans 16:25-26; Ephesians 1:7-10; 1 Peter 1:10-12
II. Jesus is the goal of the Gospel
The Gospel is meant to transform us
The Gospel is meant to delight us
Scripture: Psalm 51:12; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 1:6; 3:21
III. Jesus deserves our labor and sacrifice
We need to be willing to embrace suffering
Life is a stewardship to be invested
Scriptures: Ephesians 5:15-16; Colossians 4:5; 8:17; 1 Peter 2:19-21; James 1:2
Take away: The heart of the Gospel is Jesus Christ Himself
Sermon: Colossians 1:21-23: Heart Exchange
Parallel Reading: Ezekiel 36:24-28
Key Question: Who are we in relationship to God?
The words “faith”, “hope” and “heard” connect these verses back to Paul’s opening thanksgiving
I. Jesus overcomes our alienation
We are more than just separated from God
Our evil behavior is linked to our wrong thoughts and values
Scriptures: Ephesians 2:12; 4:18; Romans 5:10; 8:17; James 4:4
II. Jesus achieves our reconciliation
Jesus is fully identified with us
Reconciliation has a purpose: our holiness and blamelessness before God
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Ephesians 2:16; Ephesians 1:4; Jude 24
III. Jesus remains the focus of our faith
Our faith is not passive
Our future requires our continuing in hope
Scripture: John 15:4-6; 2 Timothy 2:11; James 1:25; Hebrew 10:36; 12:1
Take away: We are reminded of our reconciliation in Christ to inspire our faith in Him
Sermon: Colossians 1:15-20: The Supremacy of Christ
Parallel Reading: Psalm 89:24-29
Key Question: Who is our King?
I. Jesus is supreme in creation
The words “image” and “firstborn” are words of exaltation not subordination
The Son reveals the Father
The Son rules over creation
The Son created and sustains the universe
Scriptures: Psalm 89:2; Proverbs 8:22; John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Hebrews 1:3
II. Jesus is supreme in redemption
Jesus has authority in the Church
Jesus initiates resurrection
This strongly implies a new creation
God initiates the acts the act of reconciliation
Scripture: Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; 1 Corinthians 15:20; Revelation 1:5
Take away: Jesus truly is worthy of our worship
Sermon: Colossians 1:9-14: Profile of Maturity
Parallel Reading: Isaiah 35:8-10
Key Question: What do we need as those delivered?
I. We have been delivered into Jesus’ kingdom.
We once belonged to the darkness.
The Gospel is that we have been redeemed, here associated with forgiveness.
Scriptures: Psalm 130; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7
II. Living in Jesus’ kingdom requires that we know God’s will.
Pleasing God means: 1. effective good works; and 2. increasing relationship
We cannot do this on our own, but need the Holy Spirit’s empowering
Scripture: Romans 12:2; Hebrews 10:36; 2 Peter 3:16
III. Living in Jesus’ kingdom requires walking with endurance.
It is God who qualifies us and strengthens us
Our endurance is to be characterized by joy and thanksgiving
Scripture: Matthew 10:22; Romans 15:5; Hebrews 12:1; Revelation 13:10; 14:12
Take away: God delivers and empowers us to live in Jesus’ kingdom
Sermon: Colossians 1:1-8: Portrait of the Gospel
Parallel Reading: Psalm 98:1-4
Key Question: What is the impact of the Gospel?
I. The Gospel blesses us.
Re-affirming connectedness is important
The Gospel is the story of Jesus and His work for us
II. The Gospel reorients our lives.
The Christian virtues:
1. Faith 2. Hope 3. Love
These virtues are marks of maturity
III. The Gospel is fruitful.
Jesus uses the seed as a metaphor for the Gospel.
The Gospel advances both internally and externally.
Take away: The Gospel of Jesus Christ changes everything for us.
Click on the title above to see a layout of the verbal connections and parallels in this passage that demonstrate amazing attention to detail.
Series: Hope Reaching Out (January, 2016)
Sermon: 1 Peter 1:13-21: Foundations of Hope
Parallel Reading: Psalm 62:5-8
Key Question: What is our stability in an overwhelming world?
I. We are called to hope in the grace of God.
God’s grace is not yet revealed
Hope is not an emotion, it’s a mental frame of reference
II. We are called to walk in holiness.
Holiness here has to do with righteous behavior
When we are not holy we are living out of step with our hope
III. We are called to walk in recognition of God’s involvement.
Peter helps us understand the biblical idea of fear
1. Awareness of God’s justice
2. Awareness of God’s investment
And so we come full circle: we hope because of Jesus
Take away: In Christ we have a hope that calls us to live as citizens of heaven.
Sermon: 1 Peter 3:13-17: Visible Hope
Parallel Reading: Psalm 33:13-17, 20-22
Key Question: What is our response to an overwhelming world?
I. Our hope in Christ prepares us to endure suffering well.
Suffering for good brings us a blessing
Fear is an enemy. We fight fear with worship.
II. Our hope in Christ is an opportunity for witness.
Hope must have evidence
We need to know the Gospel and how Christ is touching our lives
III. Our hope in Christ helps us be grace-full.
We are strongly exhorted to speak with humility
Our “defense” is conducted with an awareness of the eternal
Take away: Our hope in Christ brings glory to Christ especially in times of challenge
Sermon: Hebrews 6:19-20: Drop Anchors
Parallel Reading: I Kings 6:8-1
Key Question: What is our stability in an overwhelming world?
I. We are reminded that God’s promise is unfailing.
God’s word is absolutely reliable.
Receiving God’s promise requires patience.
II. Jesus’ ministry secures our hope.
Jesus is the source of our salvation.
He is also the trailblazer in our relationship with God.
III. Our stability comes from hope.
Because of hope, we can
1. Live with confidence
2. Live with courage
Take away: Our faithful God’s promise provides real stability.
Sermon: Isaiah 40:27-31: Soaring
Parallel Reading: Matthew 11:28-30
Key Question: What is our strength in an overwhelming world?
I. We are reminded that God is awesome.
Knowledge of God’s character is key:
1. God is eternal
2. God is all-powerful
II. We are finite.
We are not designed to be self-reliant.
Even at our best, we have limits.
III. Our strength comes from waiting on God.
This is not a passive exercise, but an active one.
Strength means, at least, perseverance and hope
Take away: Our eternal God strengthens those that wait on Him
Click on the title above for a look at the literary structure of Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Click on the title above to see the rhetorical structure of Hebrews 1:2-4
Click on the title above for a discussion of the structural elements of this passage which show that it is not a random collection.
Click on the title above for a summary of the Gospel from Titus 3.
Session One: Prologue
We looked at the basis for all Christian conflict resolution. The handout is here.
We defined conflict and talked a little about our natural tendencies in dealing with conflict. The hand-out is here.
DVD Session Three - Going to Higher Ground:
Work through the Digger Deeper material from the Participant's Guide by clicking here.