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Tag: Christianity

Representing Christ

Several times throughout the New Testament, we are instructed to imitate Christ – to follow him – to become like him. We are told that we are ambassadors of Christ. We are his representatives here on earth. And that’s really the focus of our passage today.

We ended last week in mid-paragraph at verse 16 of Colossians 3. I’m not sure how your Bible has all the verses grouped together on the page, but I think in all of the Bibles that I’ve seen, verses 16 & 17 of Colossians 3 are always lumped together.

But you might have noticed that we stopped last week at verse 16 – without including verse 17. So why did we do that? Well, let’s read through our passage this morning and I’ll see if I can explain my thinking: Start at verse 17 and we’ll go all the way through chapter three right into the first verse of chapter 4.

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.

 19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.

 20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.

 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. 23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. 25 But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites. 1 Masters, be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master—in heaven.

Colossians 3:17 – 4:1

Now most of what we just read sure seems to be a hodgepodge of instructions. It’s like the misc section – a little of this, a little of that, a little of something else. It’s like reading through some of the Proverbs – it seems to be just random bits of good advice.

But it’s that verse 17 that gives it all a common theme. It’s like a bridge between everything Paul just told us in the previous verses about living according to our new nature and all these seemingly random bits of good advice. So let’s focus for a moment on verse 17.

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

Colossians 3:17

Paul just finished a whole section of this letter to the Colossians talking about how we are to put on our new Christ-like nature – how we are to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in every moment of every day – how we are to walk in close fellowship with God. And as we do all of that, everything we say or do will be a reflection of God.

As Christians – we are ‘Christ ones’. When people look at us, they should get a really good idea of what Christ looks like. Not physically of course, but in word and deed and attitude. When people watch you, you’re showing them who Jesus is. You’re a living example of Jesus. At least, we should be.

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Who Is Jesus

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.

Colossians 1:15

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. 

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Knowing God

What did you accomplish this week? Did you manage to check off a few things on your to-do list? I know I did! My wife & I moved into new house this week – and we are completely exhausted – but that’s one huge check mark on this past week’s to do list for us. Of course because of our move, we’ve also also created hundreds of new items to add to future to-do lists. We have boxes to unpack, a basement to finish, a kitchen to renovate, a fence to build, sheds to repair, etc…

It’s seems there’s never an end to the to-do list, is there? No matter how much you accomplish one week – there is always more to do next week. And so with an endless list of things to do, we’ve really got to prioritize. You can’t do everything that needs to be done – so you’ve got to start by doing the most important things first.

For example, on Friday when we moved in, the most important thing on that day was to get the boxes inside the house. I didn’t spend my time trimming my new hedges or mowing the lawn. That was not what was important that day. The rain and snow were coming – the most important thing was to get everything inside.

I’d be pretty foolish to spend my time trimming the hedges while the trucks sat there full of boxes waiting to come inside.

But I think sometimes we do that with our to-do lists in life. We often neglect the most important things. We do lots of stuff – but not always the most important stuff.

So maybe the question shouldn’t be “What did you accomplish this week?” – but rather – “Did you accomplish the most important things this week?”

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Christianity Is About Changed Lives

Over the years, banks have made it increasingly difficult to counterfeit money. And the reason for that is that, over the years, counterfeiters have become quite skilled at creating counterfeits and these counterfeits dupe banks, businesses, and ordinary people out of their hard earned cash. 

Thankfully, probably because of these security features or ones like it, I’ve never experienced getting stuck with counterfeit cash and I hope I never do. But I have had experience with counterfeits. 

Last summer I took up the hobby of collecting silver. I bought some collectors coins from the Canadian mint. I bought some “junk” silver from eBay – that is, old Canadian or American coins that 50 years ago had actually had some silver in them. And I also bought some silver coins and silver bars from various mints all over the world.

I was fairly naive at the time and didn’t do my research as well as I should have. To make a long story short, I spent some of my hard earned cash on some counterfeit silver. I have one here – I keep it to remind myself to be a little bit wiser in future eBay purchases.

To just look at it – it seems like the real thing. It’s the right size, right shape, the design matches the real thing. But underneath the thin silver coating, is a bar of copper. It is not a pure silver bar as advertised. It was a fake. It was a counterfeit – I had been duped.

If you have ever been duped by counterfeits, you know the feeling. You’re mad the other guy for taking your money! You’re mad at yourself for falling for their deception.

It stinks. No body likes getting duped.

But you know, people get duped all the time. We live in a world where many people have been duped about God – about who He is and what He’s like – About the meaning of life and realities after death. Our world is full of counterfeit religions and counterfeit beliefs.

And getting duped in this way is far more serious than getting ripped off on eBay. I mean, we’re talking about life-changing, eternal consequences here. So it is absolutely imperative that we can sort out what is true and real and what is counterfeit when it comes to our beliefs about God.

And what makes it increasingly difficult is that many of these counterfeits are very convincing. I mean, that’s the nature of a counterfeit – it looks like the real thing. If it wasn’t convincing, no one would fall for it.

So with so many convincing, yet different beliefs about God and who He is and what life is all about, how do we make sure that we believe what is really true and real? How do we keep from being duped?

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Nutshell Truths

Have any of you ever been duped by counterfeit money? I’ve never experienced getting stuck with counterfeit money and I hope I never do. But I know others have. And that’s got to be a terrible feeling.

Imagine that you’re selling your car on Kijiji for maybe a couple thousand dollars. Some guy comes and checks it out and want to pay cash for it. So he gives you 20 one hundred dollar bills. He takes the car, you take the money and when you go to deposit it in the bank, the teller tells you that it’s all counterfeit. It’s fake. You got ripped off and there’s nothing you can do about.

That would stink big time! Wouldn’t you be mad? Mad at the guy for ripping you off and mad at yourself for not checking the money closer? No body likes getting duped.

But you know, people get duped all the time. Not just with counterfeit money, but with all kinds of things. We get duped by the “no-money-down” commercials on tv, or the “drink this beer and life will become a party” advertisements. We’re likely to see several of those during the superbowl this afternoon. We get duped by the big promises of the lottery tickets or by investments too good to be true.” You read in the news about people who have invested all their life savings with a certain investor only to find out later that the investor was a fraud and all their money is gone. They were duped and now they have nothing.

And while its certainly painful to get deceived out of your hard-earned cash, it’s tragic when people get duped in areas of life that are far more serious.

We live in a world where many people have been duped about God – about who He is and what He’s like – About the meaning of life and realities after death. Our world is full of counterfeit religions and counterfeit beliefs. And getting duped by those are far more serious than getting duped by a used-car salesman. I mean, we’re talking about life-changing, eternal consequences here. So it is absolutely imperative that we can sort out what is true and real and what is counterfeit when it comes to our beliefs about God.

And what makes it increasingly difficult is that many of these counterfeits are very convincing. I mean, that’s the nature of a counterfeit – it looks like the real thing. If it wasn’t convincing, no one would fall for it.

So with so many convincing, yet different beliefs about God and life and death out there, how do we make sure that we know what is really true and real? How do we keep from being duped?

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