A big thanks to Buzz and Donnice Brown, Tim and Cammy Mahoney, and Dale Layfield for creating a new planter at the front entrance!
The new low water succulents and a rock garden motif with the LIFEhouse logo is awesome!
11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.
12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
First, a brief history lesson. The earliest Christians are Jews who trust in Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus is the King. Jesus fulfills God’s call for Israel to become a blessing for the whole world, not just Jews. Sure enough, Paul is called by God to share the good news of King Jesus to the non-Jews of the world. The Gentiles.
But, there is a problem. Back at Church headquarters all the leaders are Jewish, because all the first Christians are Jewish. So, there is the temptation to keep practicing the Jewish rituals while following Jesus. If you don’t follow the Jewish way to being a Christian you don’t have the approval of the “Mother Ship.” This is adding to Jesus. Jesus plus…you might call it
Yet, Jesus himself, rebelled against following rituals in order to be right with God. It is trust in God that counts, not human rituals. But the Jewish Christians didn’t want to give up their human rituals. The most important human ritual for Jewish males is the initiation ceremony of circumcision. Cutting off the foreskin.
This is a problem for two reasons.
Do you see the challenge Paul is facing?
The early church leaders are adding to what it means to be a Christian. They will only give their approval if the Gentiles follow the Jewish ways, along with following Jesus. Yet, Jesus himself specifically said we are no longer to follow these rituals. So, basically the early church leaders are saying if you want their approval you have to go against the teachings of Jesus.
Paul will have none of this nonsense. He says it is not cutting away the foreskin that makes you right with God. It is surrendering your whole body, your whole life, to Jesus that makes you right with God. Joining Jesus in his mission to transform the world. And when you are transformed by Jesus, it is his power working through you. Trusting in God has nothing to do with man’s approval.
What are examples of human rituals you have seen made into something added to what it means to be a Christian?
…not the king. 9 In him, you see, all the full measure of divinity has taken up bodily residence. 10 What’s more, you are fulfilled in him, since he’s the head of all rule and authority.
The only one who has right thinking all of the time is God. And we can begin to know what God knows and think like God thinks because of Jesus. In Jesus, God becomes human, and Jesus takes on all of God’s way of thinking. So, like Jesus, we just have to live close to God all the time.
Well, how do we find God? We don’t have to find God because he is already there with us wherever we are. Through Jesus, the Kingdom of God is here. Put it this way.
People are seeking all different ways to get ahead in life. Negative ways like trying to manipulate or attack other people. Positive ways like trying to be kind and mindful.
But, none of this works if it is human-powered.
The negative is human beings allowing themselves to be Satan-influenced and using manipulation and evil thinking as a result. This isn’t going to work because God is stronger and defeats this way of thinking in the long run.
And the positive, without God, isn’t enough. You can try to be as kind and mindful as possible, but if this is under your own power you will fail. You will be overwhelmed in the long run. No one is strong enough to save themselves.
But not if we are living with God. God is always where we are. We need the supernatural power of God to live a good life where our thinking is in line with God’s thinking. Where we have the “mind of Christ” as the Bible says. Well, we can have all of this because where we are is the doorway to heaven. We just need to be mindful of this. We need to pay attention. Watch out! In a good way, keeping our mind on Jesus. Like the old song. “I woke up this morning with my mind set on Jesus…”
That’s what this means. What’s more, you are fulfilled in him, since he’s the head of all rule and authority.
To be fulfilled in him means we are full of him. Nowhere is this more important than our thinking! When our thinking matches the thinking of those who dwell with God in the heavens, starting with Jesus, then we know everything is going to be just fine for us here on earth. Then we know we lack nothing because we have access to the heavenly blessings now. Then we know we need not fear evil. No human being, not Satan himself has the power we have because Jesus is the head and we are fulfilled in him.
This is the life available to us right now. God is where we are.
What does it mean to you to be “full of God?”
God is Good… is a new series on the good news of Jesus from Paul’s letter to the Colossians. It is interesting how much we have in common with the Colossians. As Paul shares the gospel with them, we too are invited into the same good news. And who doesn’t need good news?
This week we see how God saves us from too much separation and too much striving in our lives. It’s about receiving grace and peace…Colossians 1:1-2
(With some key insights from my friend, David Housholder)
We will see you Sunday!
The woman caught in adultery. This event in the life of Jesus is one of the favorites for anyone who wants to make sure no one who is a Christian is “judgmental.” You can’t speak against someone else’s behavior as wrong because we all know, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Is this what Jesus really means?
Far from it…
16 So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me.17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. 18 Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.
In the final analysis, what is the life being led by the person who is following a model and set of teachings? God makes it possible for us to know which way to go. We see this as we look to Jesus.
If I say I am a Christian, but am angry and vindictive, for instance, it isn’t Jesus who is at fault for my attitude and actions. It is only if I want to do the will of God that I am seeking the truth. If I know my anger and vindictiveness are ungodly and repent of them, knowing the struggle is real, then I will invite the Spirit of God to cleanse me and seek forgiveness from those whom I wrong. We can follow Jesus without being jerks about it, after all.
Instead we are wise to seek to be more Christlike in the way we live our lives. What is the alternative? It may look like we can cut corners and follow what we want out of life, but we are fooling ourselves. As Jesus said, ‘We can gain all that the world thinks is important and lose our souls.’
Lose that which connects us most to God. Lose his truth.
If we want what Jesus wants for us, this is what life looks like.
Matthew 7:7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”