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The first people to hear the Advent message were shepherds, a group considered in the culture of that day to be untrustworthy outcasts. The shepherds were terrified as they saw a glimpse of divine holiness and might. But the angel spoke with the reassuring message, “Fear not.” The good news for all people presented by the angel is a message of forgiveness and great joy. The High King of Heaven came into our world to bring grace. He is Emmanuel, God with us.
The account of the birth of Jesus in Luke 2:1-7 reveals much about three attributes and the character of God. God is sovereign: the mighty emperor of the Roman empire became the unwitting servant of God to fulfill prophecy (Micah 5:2). God is faithful: every detail foretold concerning the birth of the Messiah came to pass. God is humble: Christ came to our world, to seek and save the lost.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 (ESV) We are reminded often to be thankful in Colossians. Although God does not need our thanks, we benefit from being thankful. It is important to remember our own helplessness and dependence on God for everything that we have, especially the salvation which we have received as an unearned gift.
Colossians 3:15-17 sets forth how we can live Christ-centered, Christ-exalting lives in Christian community. We should live in peace with one another because we have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. God’s Word is to dwell in our hearts, and we should teach, encourage and exhort one another. All that we do should honor the name of Christ.
Spiritual clothing matters—we are to clothe ourselves with the virtues listed in Colossians 3:12-14 imitating the character of Jesus Christ before a watching world. We do this because of who we are in Christ: “God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved,” enabled by the Holy Spirit. Our position in Christ serves both as a motivation to display these virtues and also as a source of hopefulness that we will be able to follow Jesus in this way.
Colossians 4:5-6 reminds us to be wise in our lifestyle before a watching world, truly caring for others and honoring the Lord in all things. This type of admirable, attractive conduct should lead to opportunities for outreach. Pray for such opportunities and for wisdom to share our convictions graciously and with respect.
Prayer should be like a constantly flowing river— a natural undercurrent in our lives. We are to be devoted (standing at the ready), watchful (vigilant), and thankful (recognizing all things come from God). Prayer and outreach are connected so remember that “prayer is the primary work of God’s people.” and pray for open doors and clarity of speech.
As believers, we are to be sin killers, putting to death evil desires, and sinful actions with the aid of the Holy Spirit. If we do not fully obey the Lord, this is the same as making a truce with our sins. Sin can rip our lives apart, hurt others, and bring serious consequences. We must have a steady resolve to acknowledge our sin, face it, see its ugliness, and eradicate it from our lives.
Grace is undeserved, unearned redeeming love and forgiveness. God’s forgiving grace is eternal and irreversible.
All believers in Christ are “with the Lord” even as we live on Earth because of our vital connection with Him. Christ is our victory, our security, and our destiny. Therefore, in light of Christ’s preeminence and lordship, let us set our hearts and minds on things above.
Why should we memorize scripture, in particular Colossians 3? Scripture is the objective recorded Word of truth from God. It is able to move our hearts and shape our lives so that we can resist sinning against God (Psalm 119:11). Colossians 3:1-17 is an all-encompassing passage which concerns how to glorify God by crushing our vices, cultivating virtues, and becoming preoccupied with Christ.
Pastor Gregory steps away from the series on Colossians to remind us of the faithfulness of God during Hurricane Florence. No one ever trusted God in vain. God is faithful, perfectly trustworthy to all generations. In the passage above, God renews His promise to Abram at a time when Abram’s faith is wavering. Let us lean on God, remembering that He will fulfill His promises in His own timing.
Self-made, counterfeit religion is powerless to produce change in our lives. Lists of regulations, mystical experiences, asceticism-all these should be neither a foundation for salvation, nor a way to measure the progress of ourselves and others, nor a remedy for besetting sin. Instead, it’s essential to cling to Christ and draw near to Him everyday. It is also important to find and give encouragement to others in the body of Christ, the church.
Nothing more powerful than the love of Jesus on the cross has ever happened in this world. The entire sin debt that we owe to God has been cancelled forever. Satan and his demonic forces have been defeated. The cross is a triumphant cross of victory.
Colossians 2:11-15 describe the unbreakable spiritual bond that believers have with Christ because we are in Christ. Christ’s death on the cross makes it possible for us to be united with Christ. Our sins are forgiven, our debt cancelled, and the forces of Satan that bound us are defeated. By faith in Jesus, we can enjoy the benefits of what God is doing in us. We become dead to sin and alive in Christ. Let us always express our love and gratitude to Christ for all He has done.
Colossians 2:8-10 contains a warning to believers: We must be aware of the real danger of being kidnapped away from the truth. Empty deceptive philosophies that are not found in scripture rob Christ of glory and rob us of our spiritual freedom. To protect ourselves we must diligently examine the scripture with a humble, teachable spirit, seeking to know Christ as He truly is.
The eternal holy, self-existent, unchanging God reigns in supremacy over all. When we realize God’s holiness and our accountability to Him, this leads to humility and the revival of our heart and spirit.
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. Colossians 2:9-10 (ESV) It is supremely significant that Christ is divine. More than possessing the attributes of God and performing the acts of God, Jesus is the full totality of God in human form. God became flesh in order that He might deliver, redeem, change, forgive, and rule us. May Christ always be preeminent in our lives.
You have received Christ Jesus (believed the message of the Gospel and embraced Him by faith), so steadfastly pursue Him. Be devoted to growth through the truth of scripture, and overflow with heartfelt gratitude.
“It is finished” (John 19:30). What was finished? Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation – the satisfying of the wrath of God. The cross was necessary because we have sinned against a holy God. God’s wonderful love for us is always linked in Scripture to the cross. Salvation through faith in the crucified and risen Christ is free and available to all.