Often, we place our hope in the people around us, the profession we’re in, or the possibilities that may come our way. What if we had a hope based on a promise, one that could not be broken, a hope that lived within us? There is no mystery to finding this hope in Christ and it’s the difference between Christ and us and Christ in us.Read More
Full Sermon Script:
March 16 started some home improvement projects
painting … cleaning out what was no longer used / wanted
had my wife’s suv loaded with donations
wanted the “new” feeling without moving
March 17 … shelter in place hits
painting left undone
cabinet doors missing
donations piled up in the garage
Reminded me of a friend in SoCal who had a fire in his kitchen last year
This Is Us moment with crock pot ??
had to move out of his home for 4/5 months
insurance kicks in to rebuild
do you rebuild it just as it was before? NO!
it’s the opportunity to make it better, to return to a better version of the kitchen
That’s what this series The New You is all about
we have the opportunity to not just go back and rebuild what was
we have the opportunity to return a better version of ourselves!
Matt opened our eyes to the BIGness of Jesus … all powerful … His presence is WITH us
As we continue this journey, we take another step in understanding Jesus’ place and proximity
We’re in the letter of Colossians
Written by a man named Paul … far from Christ-follower until an encounter with Jesus
Writing to a group Christ-followers in Colossae
ancient city in what is now modern-day Turkey.
Hasn’t met them, but that doesn’t change his heart and desire for them…
25I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people.
Not much mystery left today
Google anything … “knowledge” is abounding
Google “knowledge” … 1,540,000,000 results (0.41 seconds)
Makes us experts right?
YouTube how to cut your own hair
know more about coronavirus than a microbiologist
Abraham Lincoln – Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.
Our scientific society seeks explanations … and we’ve done a great job of that
Religion is where we still find mystery
How do you explain God?
How do you find a God you can’t explain?
How can you know God?
Paul’s day: mystery religions, sacred mysteries
Every mystery religion claimed secret knowledge of the god they worshipped
Secret ceremonies of initiation that separated members from the outside world
Not to be shared; it was hidden higher knowledge to be kept within the circle of believers
Paul is saying … God has pulled back the curtain of mystery
The path to God HAS BEEN REVEALED!
The truth of the mystery is out, and it stands alone.
God’s plan of redemption for a broken world and our broken human nature … JESUS
The story of God becoming man, of God in human flesh
Jesus as the Son of God and Son of Man
God made manifest in flesh to redeem us from sin that separated us from Him
To restore us into relationship with Him
Through Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the grave
Power of sin and death has been defeated
We can be free and know God
Where Christianity separates itself from the mystery religions of Paul’s day and our is that Christianity is grounded in real events … Mystery religions are not.
Reformed scholar Herman Ridderbos wrote:
Paul speaks of the death and resurrection of (Jesus) and places it in the middle of history, as an event which took place before many witnesses . . . the myths of mystery religions in contrast cannot be dated; they appear in all sorts of variations, and do not give any clear conceptions. In short, they display the timeless vagueness characteristic of real myths. Thus (in) the myths of the mystery religions . . . nothing is to be found of the moral, voluntary, redemptive, substitutionary meaning, which for Paul, is the content of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Jesus is the way to God
27To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
This knowledge of God is available to ALL
radical idea in the first century religious culture, especially the Jewish culture
sadly, still radical in our day to some
Jesus didn’t come for a select few; He came to show the love of God for all humanity
Gender, ethnicity, race, social class
God has made known the “glorious riches of this mystery”
there’s riches, and then there’s glorious riches
like there’s Danville, and then there’s Blackhawk
What are the riches of this mystery? Christ IN you
How many are familiar with the phrase “asking Jesus into your heart”?
This is how you are “saved”
I lost count of how many times I did this as a child … wash, rinse, repeat…
sometimes we think of salvation as something we do or we’ve done
Salvation can be summed up this way:
Jesus is Lord and has made an end to my sin through His death and resurrection
We enter into a relationship with God by believing those two truths
Salvation is a decision, based on faith and trust
That decision to believe in and follow Jesus changes us
we give ourselves completely to Him
not just a part … all of us … because He moves in
The New You … CHRIST IN YOU
This is the core of Christianity … the heart of the Gospel
God is not a god who is out there somewhere … He’s not a god far from us
Shelter in Place doesn’t keep God away from us
Difficult times doesn’t drive God away from us
Doubt doesn’t cause God to abandon us
He is WITH us … He is IN us!!
This might be the most important thing some of you will hear today …
You are not alone … even in shelter in place or quarantine
Your life is IN Christ and His life is IN you
Paul, in the many letters he wrote, refers to the “indwelling” of Christ 216 times
Galatians 2:20 … I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
No other religion or philosophy makes such a claim.
No other movement implies the living presence of its founder IN its followers.
God Himself, through Christ, in the person of His Spirit, is directly and personally present in our lives
We have His life within us thru His Spirit … the Advocate
John 14:16-17 … 16I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
Christ in you …
Jesus who is the image of God
who holds the universe in the palm of His hand
is the lord over every power, creator of all things
who defeated sin and death
Lives in you!!!
His presence IN us gives us … the hope of glory
1981, Eugene Land, self-made millionaire, changed the lives of a 6th grade class in East Harlem
Asked to speak to 61 students, predominantly black and Puerto Rican, most of whom statistically would drop out of school
What could he say to inspire them? He decided to speak from his heart
“Stay in school and I’ll help pay the college tuition for every one of you.”
At that moment the lives of these students changed. For the first time they had hope.
Said one student, “I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling.”
90% graduated from high school … 70% went on to college
What he gave them was a promise of hope
We’ve talked a lot about hope recently … I don’t think there’s such a thing as hope overload
some of you may be “ok, enough already”
you’re not in a bad spot, your doing ok
for others, hope for what’s next is what’s keeping you moving forward each day
We can sometimes start thinking … all great words, but you/this Paul guy doesn’t know my reality
Paul is not writing this from some beautiful place of comfort
He is writing from a cell in Mamertine Prison.
Called the “House of Darkness.” Few prisons were as dim, dank, and dirty
Roman historian Sallust said its “neglect, darkness, and stench” gave it “a hideous and terrifying appearance.”
Paul knows what it’s like to have life disrupted … to be in a bad place …
and yet have hope
Hope is not a result of the condition you find yourself in … it’s a confident expectation of the future
Some of us have discovered over the last two months that we had misplaced hopes
people, things, places, resources
all hopes banked on probabilities and possibilities
But Christ IN us gives us a hope of glory
hope banking on a promise
Romans 5:1-2 … 1Therefore, since we have been justified (made right with God) through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
This hope of glory is the culmination of our story … your story and my story
It’s the knowledge that we are being changed by God more and more into His image everyday
That this life is not all there is … there is life to come … both present and eternal
We have hope for the future because of what Christ has done, past and present.
This hope doesn’t just give us a future destination; it’s not an escape from current reality
it also transforms us in the present.
Joni Eareckson Tada … at 17 tragic accident diving into a lake… left her a quadriplegic
Put yourself there for a moment … nothing will be the same ever again
Listen to what she said years, not months, later…
“God permits what He hates to accomplish what He loves.” God utterly despised the horrible suffering that lead to His Son’s crucifixion, the hate, treason, the torture, injustice, and murder. But God allowed what He hated to accomplish something He wanted: salvation for a world of sinners. That exact same principle is true in my life and in yours. God allows things he hates, like my spinal cord injury or your terrible trial; he allows those things so he can produce something in our lives that He loves: Christ in us, the hope of glory. It’s clear that God allows all sorts of things He doesn’t approve of, but He always does it for reasons that are wise, specific, and good — although some of those reasons aren’t always clear this side of eternity. But one reason is clear: God is all about changing you to make you more like Christ.
Let’s just call that what is it … it’s uncomfortable
We don’t want to believe that a loving God would allow things He hates to happen… that would make Him uncaring
Why would an uncaring God sacrifice his only Son to free us from the penalty of sin?
The reality is life can be hard and tragic, but God remains loving and good
Stop for a moment and think about this…
What would change if I began live with the attitude of “Christ in me, the hope of glory”?
How would we change?
What would change in our attitudes?
What would change in our situations?
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
The result … that we would be mature IN Christ
That’s our desire as a church
Maturity is a result of growth
it’s why it’s called growing pains when we’re young
I read this week that there’s no evidence that growth hurts.
growth is often a result of time under pressure; time under tension
resistance bands as example
your muscles are working under tension for a longer period of time and moving through their full range of motion
there’s no benefit in getting thru reps as fast as you can just to be done
growth requires tearing and repairing
“Growth doesn’t happen on any level unless something is being torn down and built up. There is no growth without tension. There is no growth without challenge.” Andy Stanley
Sometimes the challenge is painful, it hurts
But growth leads to maturity
For some, this shelter in place has given you the opportunity to reconnect with Christ in you
For some, maybe you’ve drifted because of the uncertainty around you
For some, this has opened your eyes to the need for a hope greater than yourself
For all, this is a season of growth, of maturity, if we allow God to do His work in us and make us NEW, better versions of ourselves
God is working on us, refining us
our faith will be stronger
more depth in our relationship with Him
we’ll know God’s love more and have a deeper love for Him
We may not always have a choice of the season or situation, but we always have a choice as to our attitude and posture in it and who we can become from it.
Make the choice to give God everything, every part of who you are
The best version of you is not just you…
It’s Christ in you, the hope of glory!
Let’s pray …
Blue Oaks Church