Nearing the end of his life, the Apostle Paul is thanking friends for walking with him in faith while in prison for sharing the gospel. The gospel is many things. It is sharing the love of Jesus with the world. The word evangelism is getting a bad rap these days. Maybe it’s the word evangelical, which is diving the country, depending on which way you’re looking at it. But the Apostle Paul still wants you to share your faith in Jesus with others. So, the gospel is relational, the gospel is tenacious, and the gospel includes suffering. We don’t like to embrace suffering, as much as we can help it, but even Jesus himself suffered for representing God. How are you representing God through your life today? Does it align with how people in the Bible shared the gospel? If so, good. If not, why not? (click here to view the video)
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Paul the Apostle is writing a letter to the churches near Collosae and wants them to know how much he is personally suffering for their sake. He has committed his life to serving them, no matter the cost, so that they might mature in their faith in Christ. What does mature faith in Christ look like to you? Does it mean that God answers your prayers? Does it mean that you receive healing when you’re sick? Does maturity even have anything to do with the blessings you receive, or does maturity mean we look to bring God’s blessing to others? God is always pouring out his blessings, but are we submissive enough to receive blessings in obedience to Jesus?
See, in our day, as in theirs, it is easy to learn about religion and play all the right games with church. This game is not what Paul had in mind. He was empowering his people to no longer live in the darkness of the world, rather to live in the light of God. Jesus has redeemed us to be light in this dark world, and it has nothing to do with us, it’s all Jesus. This portion of Paul’s letter makes a stand that he wants people to grow up in God, and be joyful in thanksgiving, so that we truly live into our real identity in Christ. Maybe these words are foreign to you, if you don’t understand where your identity lies. Maybe you need to realize that in Jesus, you are a new person; transformed for God’s good work in the world. This is what Paul is talking about.
Paul the Apostle wrote a letter to a group of faith people he didn’t know, in a city where he wouldn’t visit, and wanted to encourage them in their faith. He wanted them to remember their purpose in Jesus, not getting caught up in superstitious practices of mysticism and emotional faith. Paul wants us to know, in our present culture, that we don’t need to fall victim to relativism of truth. Today, everyone’s truth is relative to their social culture and “their perspective” while missing the person of Jesus Christ. This truth comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is displayed in transformation of the soul while bearing fruit in spiritual maturity of faith. Don’t be dismayed by the distractions in the world, the politics that lead us into angry arguments, or taking sides on issues that divide people. Place your faith in Jesus Christ and trust that Jesus is enough for complete salvation. Our purpose is to share this Gospel with others. Don’t forget your purpose.
Crossroads Church of Greeley, Colorado http://www.crossroadsgreeley.com
Pastor Reid Olson of Crossroads Church of Greeley teaches on John 17.
Jesus’ final prayer for the 12 disciples, included a prayer for you and me “those who will believe in their message”. The prayer of Jesus included a plea for unity “oneness” among those with faith, so that the world might see and understand that God sent Jesus to the world. Question for you, how is unity working out?
Many young people are leaving the church “big C” because faith people can’t get along with one another. We aren’t leaving a good example of how to love like Jesus loved, and this is making people wonder if God really is the answer to our problems.
Come on people, let’s learn to love one another and learn to agree in unity, more than we disagree with hatred. Do you ever wonder if your prayers are being answered? I wonder if Jesus’ prayer is being answered, also.
Now the spirit of fear is real, but it’s false, in the sense that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God did not give us that spirit of fear, or timidity. Young Timothy was pastor of a church and needed encouragement to be bold in his faith. Where do you need to be more bold in your faith in God, rather than being defeated by a spirit of fear? Is your mind captured by fear of something, someone, some loss, or rejection? God hasn’t given you that fear. You can overcome fear by naming it, acknowledge it, take away its power by claiming it for God, and then trust God for the results. You live in a world where fear runs rampant around you, but fear is a liar. You can claim your life for God and give your fear to Jesus.
Luke 19 in the Gospels, is a description of how Jesus the Messiah walked from the Mount of Olives to the city of Jerusalem with people praising him as God. He rode on a donkey which had never been ridden on, and people worshiped Jesus as God. The religious leaders wanted Jesus to rebuke his followers for singing to him. He refused. Then Jesus told them they missed out on the work of God because they didn’t notice the time of God’s coming. Do you know what time it is? Have you recognized the timing of God, to send Jesus to earth as a ransom for your soul. God has made a way to know himself, through Jesus, His only Son. Don’t miss out on the timing of God in your life. Don’t let pride get in the way of you recognizing God’s salvation.