Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Christ Our Life: Meditations on Colossians

In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.--Colossians 2:11-15 (ESV)

If the you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.--Colossians 3:1-4 (ESV)

Theme: Christ has not simply changed our life; He is our life. If you have believed on Christ and been baptized in His name, then you have died to the world and been made alive to God.

I. Regeneration kills; regeneration creates new life. Half of the act of regeneration is negative; half is positive. When the Spirit regenerates our souls, he kills our fleshly nature and gives us a "new man". So, all Christians have died to this world. (Col. 2:20 says "If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations?")

II. The new life is lived on a higher plane. If we have died to the world, but we're still alive, then we have to be alive for some other reason. That reason is to give glory to Christ by setting our minds on the heavenly things even while we dwell on earth. To put it another way, we are to be ambassadors from Heaven to earth. We are not tourists here to enjoy the pleasures of this world. We are missionaries focused on Christ, not self.

III. Oh, brothers, do not forget you are dead to all sin! Let no shameful lust overcome you, let no idol drag you down, let no greed hold you back from pursuing Christ. You are dead to that! Do not forget that you are a new man.

IV. Above all, brothers, stand "stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard (Colossians 1:23)." Colossians 2:13 says that God has "forgiven us all our trespasses". Do not lose sight of His grace. Fix your eyes on the Cross, where your debt was nailed, where the Deity's blood reconciled you to Him (Col. 1:20). Yes, you heard right. God died to take your sin and punishment. The invisible God was seen bodily. The immortal Creator perished. And He did not die in vain nor did He see corruption. Don't lose hope when you sin; you are forgiven. Don't fear death; Jesus has overcome Death and Hades.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Let the Good Times Roll?

"Say a prayer but let the good times roll
In case God doesn't show."--Fall Out Boy, Thnks fr th Mmrs

Sometimes truth is found odd places. In this case, Fall Out Boy. Do these lines describe your soul? Do you, like me sometimes, "say a prayer but let the good times roll"? Isaiah 29:13 says, "And the Lord said: 'Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while there hearts are far from me.'" Let's not "draw near to God" with our lips and
yet remain far from Him in our hearts.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Out of the Flames

I recently went camping at Refugio State Beach with my church. We spent one night sitting around a campfire, singing worship songs, and hearing testimonies of God's grace. As one after another shared their conversion stories, the phrase "out of the flames" came to my mind. I could see the fire burning in the middle of our group and imagine the judgment which all of us deserve. "But," I thought, "God has plucked us out of the flames."

Though we deserve His judgment, He endured His own wrath that we might enjoy Him. Praise God for rescuing us out of the flames.