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Series: The Real You (Colossians, winter 2016)

Date: 7-10-2016

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


Date: 7-3-2016

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


Date: 6-26-2016

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


Date: 6-19-2016

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


Date: 6-12-2016

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


Date: 6-5-2016

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:

1. Marriage

2. Parent-Child

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


Date: 5-29-2016

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


Date: 5-22-2016

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


Date: 5-15-2016

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


Date: 4-24-2016

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:


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


Date: 4-10-2016

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


Date: 4-3-2016

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


Date: 3-27-2016

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


Date: 3-20-2016

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


Date: 3-13-2016

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:

1. purpose

2. pace

3. progress

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


Date: 3-6-2016

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 IncarnationGod 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


Date: 2-28-2016

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


Date: 2-21-2016

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


Date: 2-14-2016

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


Date: 2-7-2016

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)

Date: 1-31-2016

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.


Date: 1-24-2016

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


Date: 1-10-2016

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.


Date: 1-3-2016

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.

1. Prayer

2. Obedience

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.

Session Two:

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.

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