Over the past month we’ve been looking at Christianity in a Nutshell as we’ve been studying the book of Colossians. In this letter from Paul we find many of the core basics of Christianity. We’ve looked at who Jesus really is and what He did for us on the cross. We’ve talked about some of the things that distract us from our walk with God and how important it is to keep our focus in Christ. Last week we started talking about how we can avoid those times of growing distant from God and instead how to live continuously in a close relationship with Him. And this morning we are going to continue on that theme – this is kinda a “part 2” to our message last week.
Last week we talked about the battle between our two natures. We have our old sinful nature that just wants to please me – and we have our new Christ-like nature that wants to please God. And these two natures are constantly in conflict with each other. We always have this struggle between doing what I want – and doing what God wants. And this battle, I think, is the reason that so many Christians feel defeated. Time and time again, they really want to do what is right, but they inevitably do what is wrong – just like what Paul expressed in Romans 7. So they feel like failures.
But Paul tell us that we don’t have to live that way. We don’t have to follow our sinful nature. Through the power of Jesus Christ who lives within us, we can strip off our old sinful nature and put on our new Christ-like nature. We looked at Colossians 3:10 last week…
“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” Colossians 3:10
And so that’s where we want to pick up this discussion this morning. How do we put on our new nature? Is it something we do or is it something God does? And what exactly does our new nature look like? How will our lives change as we start following our new nature? There’s all kinds of questions – and hopefully our passage today will provide us with a few answers.
We begin this morning in Colossians 3 – verse 12. Paul writes… Read the rest of this entry »
I want you to think back to your high school or college days. For some of us, that won’t be hard. For others, you might have to dig way back in the memory bank. And I want you to think about your best friends from back then. Maybe one or two or three of your closest friends back in the day. Got those people in your mind?
Ok, now here’s a second question for you to ponder. Are those people still your best friends today? If I had asked you to name your top one/two/three best friends today, would those still be the same people you would name? I’m guessing that the older you are, the more likely you have different best friends now.
Relationships always change – friends that were once close, over time, can become distant. People move away. Your lives take different directions. You just grown distant over time.
And at the same time while you grow distant from some people, there are other people that you grow closer with. You’re always meeting new people and making new friends. And some of them grow to be very close friends.
But relationships always change. Even our relationship with God changes over time. I imagine most of us experience times of our lives when our relationship with God is super close! It’s awesome! You love praying and reading His Word. His presence is very real in your life and you just love serving Him and just being with Him.
And then there are other times, when we just feel distant from God. He becomes almost like a Facebook acquaintance. We know in our heads that God hasn’t gone anywhere – the Bible tells us He’s right there with us all the time… but it sure doesn’t feel like it.
That’s frustrating to me. I hate those times when I feel distant from God. I want a relationship with God that grows closer all the time – not more distant. And I think that’s what God wants too. From everything I read about in the Bible, it sure seems that God wants to have that close relationship with us too. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for me so that I could feel distant from Him. He didn’t send the Holy Spirit to empower and dwell right within me so that our relationship could grow cold. No! God wants to be my closest ally and my most faithful friend.
So how do we live in that continuously close relationship with God? Can we avoid or at least minimize those times where we feel distant? How do we make sure we’re growing closer – and not moving apart? How do we do that? Read the rest of this entry »
This morning I want to begin by showing you a commercial that I’ve seen on tv recently. Perhaps you’ve seen it too. It’s a commercial for the 2015 Chevy Cruz and I think it really sets the stage for us today. So let’s have a look.
I think the video makes a good point. The chevy spokesperson says “It is hard to stay focused.” And it really is. From your own cellphone to billboards to people walking on the sidewalk to wildlife. There are all kinds of distractions that can cause us to lose focus and potentially end up in a wreck.
Have anyone here been distracted while driving and gotten themselves into trouble?
I remember one time I pulled up behind a car at a red light in Innisfail. I don’t know what it was that distracted me, but I certainly wasn’t focus on what I was doing. Because the car in front of me pulled away and I followed it. It wasn’t until I was half-way through the intersection that I realize the light was still red! The guy had in front of my had gone through the red light, and I followed him! Its a good thing no one was coming from the other direction or I could have been in serious wreck!
You’ve got to stay focused. It only takes a minute of being distracted and you can end up in all kinds of trouble.
And I think that’s also true for us as followers of Christ. There are all kinds of things that can distract us. Things that steal our focus from what’s important. And if we’re not careful, our lives can end up in a wreck.
And I think that’s what was happening in the church in Colosse back in 60AD. If you haven’t been with us, we’ve been studying the book of Colossians for the last month or so – and this book is actually a letter that Paul wrote to the Church in Colosse – and the main purpose of this letter is to address some of these distractions that had been stealing the Colossians focus. These were false teachings that were either adding to or subtracting from the true message of the Gospel.
And we actually face several very similar distractions in our lives and our church (false teachings) even today, so I think it will be very valuable to us to learn from Paul how to recognize and deal with these distractions and stay focused on the truth. Read the rest of this entry »
If you haven’t been with us in recent weeks, we’ve been going through the book of Colossians – which is Paul’s letter that he wrote to the church in Colosse. And the content of this letter is basically, “Christianity in a Nutshell.” It’s the basic truths about who Jesus is and what He came to do – and what we should do because of that. And as I eluded to with the kids in the kids time, today in this particular passage, we’re going to be looking at what Paul describes as the secret of Jesus Christ.
Several times throughout the New Testament, Paul refers to Jesus as God’s secret plan – a mystery kept hidden from the beginning of time. So we’re going to look to see what that’s all about. And with that we’re going to look to see what Paul did because of that secret. Paul’s entire life revolved around this secret – so maybe there are some lessons in there for us as well.
This morning we begin at Colossians chapter 1, verse 24. Paul says…
“I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.”
Ok. Pause here for now. Before we get too far along, let’s take a minute to chew on this.
This first verse 24 can be a little confusing. Paul says…
I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. Colossians 1:24
Now my first thought as I read that is “what…. say that again…” How is Paul participating in the sufferings of Christ? And further, how do the sufferings of Christ continue even now?
And if you read that in the NIV or the ESV translations, you’re probably even more confused. Here’s what the English Standard Version says.
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.” Colossians 1:24 ESV
What in the world does that even mean? How is Paul “filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions?” Is Paul saying that something is lacking in what Christ has done for us? Are His afflictions, His suffering on the cross – his death and resurrection is still lacking something? Is our salvation not complete? Read the rest of this entry »
To start us off this morning, I’m going to make a couple of assumptions about you and what you believe. I hope that ok. I realize that I could be wrong – but this is what I’m going to assume about you.
If you’re sitting here today, I’m going to assume that you probably believe in God. Maybe you don’t know exactly who God is or what He’s all about – but I’m going to assume that if you are here attending church, then you at least believe that God exists. That’s my first assumption.
Secondly, if you believe that God exists, I’m also going to assume that you probably want to be in His good books. If there is a God, you don’t want Him to be angry with you. It would be helpful to be on good terms with Him. You may even think it would be a good idea to be His friend. At the very least, you certainly don’t want to be His enemy. That wouldn’t be good at all. If there is a God, it’s probably important for God to like you and not be mad at you.
I think those are pretty safe assumptions for anyone who believes in God – whether you’re a Christian or a Muslim – a Mormon or a Hindu – there is this underlying thought that if God exists, then I need to be on good terms with Him. I need to please Him – and not anger Him. That’s why we read about people throughout history in all parts of the world, worshipping different gods. Sacrificing to them. Bowing down to them. Bringing them offerings. Going through all the rituals. Doing whatever it takes to have that god smile upon you.
It seems that humans throughout history agree that having God on my side is a good thing – having God against me is a bad thing. I think most people would agree with that line of thinking.
But here’s where our problem lies. How do we know if we’re on good terms with God or not? What does God require? What pleases God and what angers God? And if you anger God, is there any way to get back in His good books again or are you done for good? How do you know where you stand with God? This is where everybody starts disagreeing. In fact, this is a pretty grey area for a lot of religions. Read the rest of this entry »
Who is Jesus? As you just saw, you can find a wide variety of answers to that question. We talked two weeks ago about counterfeits and how tragic it is when people get duped – not just out of their hard-earned money – but in matters of eternal consequences. And judging by the wide variety of responses in this video, it’s clear that many people are getting duped about Jesus Christ. They’ve been deceived about who He really is.
And that’s not just in the secular world. If I were to ask that same question – “Who is Jesus” to a room full of people who have gone to church for years, there would probably be many people who could not give a full and accurate answer of who Jesus is and what He’s done.
And this was the exact problem that the church in Colosse was facing in 60 AD. There were people in the church who were being confused and deceived about who Jesus Christ is. False teachers were spreading counterfeit beliefs about Jesus. And so that’s one of the main reasons that Paul writes this letter (what we call the book of Colossians) to the church in Colosse. To address this issue, Paul’s gives them – what I’ve called Christianity in a Nutshell – and he spells out for them in this book, in no uncertain terms, the truth about Jesus Christ.
And so that’s exactly what we want to look at today, because quite frankly, I don’t want to get duped. I don’t know about you, but I want to know the truth – especially when my eternal future is on the line. What does the Bible say? Who is Jesus Christ? And what difference, if any, does He make to my life today? So that’s what we’re going to look at this morning.
We want to pick up today where we left off last Sunday – Colossians chapter 1, today starting at verse 15.
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
I think we’ve got to stop right there. That is a profound statement. Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
Throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites had not visibly seen God. Because God is spirit, they were not able to physically see him. However, the Israelites had certainly experienced his presence. God was not hiding from them. He had revealed His presence on many occasions. One of the most vivid times when God made his presence known was on Mount Sinai – just before he gave the law to Moses. Let’s take a look at that passage for a minute. Read the rest of this entry »
Hi. In case you were wondering, my name is Dave Trenholm. I'm just a [mostly] normal guy who wants please God with my life and help people see how awesome He is. One way that I can do that is to post some of my thoughts and tell some of my stories on this website. Most of my recent content is made up of the sermons that I've preached over that past several years.