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Showing posts from July, 2013

Sermon on Colossians 2:6-15, for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, Part 3: "In Him, With Him"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Our sermon text, Paul’s letter to the Colossians, chapter 2. Now that you have received Christ, now that you are called by the name Christian, walk in Him, Paul says. The words: in Him or with Him, by my count, appear 9 times in this short reading, telling how the Christian is joined to Jesus Christ.Now that you have received Christ, don’t fall out of step with Him. In other words, don’t let worldliness and clever talk turn you against Christ, and send you walking back in sin. We need this warning because the path that leads to life is narrow, and there are few that find it. It’s easy to steer back onto the broad, easy path that leads to destruction. In order that we might not be turned aside so easily, Paul calls us to strengthen our faith—become firm in our connection to Christ. To walk in Him, shows that Jesus is more than just a guide—with us tagging along behind, trying to keep up…

Sermon on Colossians 1:1-14, for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost, Part 1: "Transferred into the Kingdom"

Grace to you and peace from God our Father. Amen. Today we’ll begin a four part series on Paul’s letter to the Colossians. This is one of his letters that he wrote from prison; in chains for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul most likely did not start the church of Colossae, but they heard and understood the grace of God in truth and learned it from Epaphras, their faithful minister. One of Paul’s co-workers in the Gospel, Epaphras was probably the missionary pastor who started the congregation in that city, and who told Paul of their great love and faith. Paul opens his letter with warm words of thanksgiving to God for the saints of God in Colossae. With many beautiful words he expresses his joy at the Gospel at work among them, but one description particularly catches my attention. In verses 13-14, he says: “He [Jesus] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” He …

Sermon on Galatians 6:1-10, 14-18, for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost, Part 6: “Cross-shaped Life”

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. This is the 6th and final sermon on the book of Galatians, and in the sermons on chapter 5 & 6 we said we’d be talking about sanctification—the Christian’s life of holiness and bearing the fruit of the Spirit. Last week we remembered that even when speaking about sanctification, we live by grace alone—not by our human effort or strength. Rather, like Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Paul returns to that theme again in chapter 6:14, where he writes, “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” The cross is at the center of the Christian life, and it reorients us away from worldliness and toward Jesus Christ. So another wa…

Sermon on Galatians 5:1, 13-25, for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost, Part 5: "Freedom in Christ"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Today is our 5th sermon from the book of Galatians, chapter 5. As we’ve outlined the book so far, in the first two chapters Paul defends his apostleship, and that his Gospel came from God, not man. The next two chapters focused on the heart of that Gospel—that we are justified (declared righteous) by faith in Christ, and not by works of the Law. These last two chapters and sermons will focus more on the topic of sanctification—that is how the Christian is made holy by their life in Christ. Those rich Biblical words: justification and sanctification—are like fraternal twins. The are two simultaneous aspects of our salvation in Christ, and while closely related to each other, and always side by side, they each tell us something different about our relationship with Christ. And we’re always forgetting what they mean. Let’s see if we can simplify it so that you don’t mix up “the twins”. Jus…