Monday, July 25, 2016

Sermon on Colossians 2:6-15, for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, "Baptized and Alive in Christ"

Sermon Outline
·         Passage speaks of our being joined to Christ Jesus through baptism—grace words: received Him, rooted, built up, established, taught. Passive for us on the receiving end, but describes the life that God is shaping in us: a living, active reality of faith. Walk in Him, abound in thanksgiving. New life created.
·         Rooted and built up in Him? How? How do roots grow, or is a foundation built? Overnight, or slow and steady process? Storms headed our way—trees that are deeply rooted weather a storm, buildings that are on a secure foundation weather a storm.
·         Time investment, priority, constant, lifelong attention to “sending down roots”. Cf. parable of the sower, shallow roots or no roots, plants are scorched and wither or choked out. Vs. a lifelong growth of roots, a person who is mature in faith, Ephesians 4:13–14 (ESV) 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Growing roots and being established on the firm foundation—in the Word, in worship, Bible study, devotion, prayer—rooted in Jesus
·         Thanksgiving overflows from a life that is firmly based in Christ Jesus. Transforms our outlook and counts the blessings instead of what we are lacking
·         See to it that no one takes you captive…captivity, imprisonment, slavery—no freedom. False teaching/clever philosophy/empty deceit/human traditions—man’s authority tries to overrule God’s authority. Captive to lies or “systems” that can provide no true freedom, only bondage and error. “All truth is relative”, make your own truth, follow some other god, prophet, or teaching/philosophy that is different than what was handed down to us from Christ
·         Instead we are to cling to Christ, the fullness of deity dwells in Him. Not part God, not mostly God, but the whole fullness of God dwells in Him bodily. Jesus is a flesh and blood human, and the entire divinity of God dwells in Him bodily. Where we find Jesus in His body, we find God. Maker, ruler of the universe.
·         Dwells in and with us. Fills us and makes us alive. Head and rule of all authority. Not the power structures of presidential candidates, Supreme Courts, Congress, councils, governors or mayors. People who fear the outcome of our elections, one way or another, need to constantly be reminded: Christ still is rule and head over all. Holds His position not by vote, but by being exalted by God to the highest place and all authority after His death and resurrection. Things may grow better or worse in this present life, but we are still called to follow the One Christ who is rule and head over all. God rather than men.
·         Circumcision without hands. Not in the flesh; Spiritual. Putting off the body of flesh (sinful nature must be stripped away). Repentance, putting to death the old sinful nature. Daily battle within us. How? By the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, raised through faith in the powerful working of God. Baptism is our “circumcision”—the cutting off of the sinful nature, killing and burying it with Jesus in His death, and raising the new nature. Resurrection power—in Christ Jesus, God’s powerful working. Same God who raised Jesus from the dead raises us. Daily strength for the battle, to walk in Him. Jesus is the agent for conquering the power of sin in us.
·         Came from death in sin, and flesh clinging to us, to life in Christ and forgiveness of our sins. Completely God’s work, to raise the dead. We didn’t raise ourselves.
·         Spiritual debt before God—sins and the legal demands of the law. All the record of what we had not done, and failed in the law. We were spiritually bankrupt, over our heads in debt, unable to payout. Nailed that record to the cross. Proof our sins have been paid for—debt was payable on Jesus’ death. Not a payment plan, but total release from our sin-debt. Cleared in the death of Jesus.
·         Stripped devil and his demons of spiritual power and authority. Shamed them and triumphed over them. Sin is forgiven, their weapons are useless—however they badger and crow at us, they have no power since we are in Christ Jesus. “If He is ours, we fear no powers, not of earth or sin or death” (LSB 818:2). The devil and his rulers and authorities would bring us down to death, but Christ has baptized us and raised us to life in Him. Rejoice and live in His triumph, and sing His mercies, new day by day!

Sermon Talking Points
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  1. How does one become “rooted and built up” in Christ Jesus? Colossians 2:6-7; Ephesians 3:17; Romans 11:17-18. What can happen to us if we are not firmly rooted in Christ Jesus and His Word? Ephesians 4:13-14.
  2. What does it mean to be “taken captive” by philosophy or empty deceit? How do false teachings imprison? By contrast, what does Jesus do to set us free? Luke 4:18; Romans 7:6, 23; Galatians 3:23. What is our freedom? How are we to use it? Colossians 2:6; Galatians 5:13-14.
  3. What does Colossians 2:9 mean about the divinity of Jesus Christ? Jesus also fills us, and is the “head of all rule and authority.” Cf. Matthew 28:18. How does that truth comfort us in the face of a world full of leaders constantly competing for power and dominance?
  4. Colossians 2:11-13 refers to an Old Testament covenant—circumcision—and borrows that language to describe the New Testament covenant of baptism. When was circumcision typically performed on a male child? Genesis 17:12. Paul adapts the language of circumcision. What is the “circumcision made without hands” or the “circumcision of Christ?” Colossians 2:11-12.
  5. Baptism is not only a death and burial with Christ, but also what? Colossians 2:12-14; Romans 6:3-5. What is it to “walk in newness of life” with Christ Jesus?
  6. Forgiveness is God’s debt-cancellation for us. What was the reason for our indebtedness? Colossians 2:13-14; Matthew 18:21-35. Now that we have our debts cancelled, how are we to respond to others? Luke 11:4
  7. Who are the rulers and authorities that Jesus triumphed over? Colossians 3:15; Ephesians 6:10-12.

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