Friday, June 29, 2007

Don't you just love rules? Paul says...

June 24, 2007
Colossians 3:1-11 With Him / In Him

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Whenever we do in life, there are rules that govern what we do. During the Victorian era, one how-to-do-it-right manual was Lady Gough's Book of Etiquette. In this volume, putting books by male authors next to books by female authors was forbidden - unless the authors were married. Rules come with all things: driving-the Ten Commandments-not there as just suggestions! They are there to move us along in harmony with the forces and people around us.

During the time this letter was written, men and women did just about anything they wanted to do-much like today. A person who followed any of the religions during that time could pretty much do whatever they wanted and it would have no effect on his/her life. There was little or no concern for personal morality and no remedy for wrongs done. There was no plan to deal with the evil heart and they did not believe in a loving Deity looking after the affairs of humans. In fact, the gods themselves were more human than the humans. They fought, were jealous, murdered one another, and lied and plotted to do evil-much like the humans who worshiped them. (caused people to become trees, animals)

A follower of those-so called religions could enter a temple, leave an offering (even steal one to give), say whatever they were to say (or not) and leave to do just what they were doing before they entered the Temple. Whatever he believed had no real bearing on how he was to live or what he was to follow. To make things even more interesting, no one would condemn him for what he did.

Sounds like today's society!

The Christian Faith brought a new concept to the pagan world. What we believe does and should have a bearing on what and how we live. If one is connected to Jesus thru Faith, than He, Jesus, is in them and so the person then would have a unity with Jesus Christ that goes very deep. His conduct would reflect his faith and his faith would be reflected in his conduct.

I am a Christian. The proof is how I live my life! Talk is cheap! Very cheap! Wrong messages gets out there more than not!

As Paul sees it, BEING IN Christ Jesus then means being UNITED WITH Him and if I am united WITH HIM, than I will share His life. If I share His life, I must follow His example. Because the Spirit of God lives in those who believe, by His Holy Spirit, my life cannot be separated from Him because of sin in my life. I am not talking about sinless perfection-just a desire to BE LIKE HIM that works itself out in my Godly actions and attitudes.

Paul, in this passage, connects for us how my doctrine-what I believe, interfaces with what I am in my life-my life-style-my duty TO HIM who saved me. He gives us some rules to follow.

Again, the rules are not there to hurt us but to help us. Forget the idea of: “

Oh, here we go again, more things to obey. If I don't obey them, I will get hit.”

Don't be silly! That is not true! If you don't follow them, you will not be hit, you will die!

The four rules Paul gives us are:
1. We are dead with Jesus.
2. We are made alive in Jesus.
3. We are resurrected with Jesus.
4. And we are hidden or covered in Jesus.

With Jesus, in Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus.

See a theme here?

The first part of this Chapter 3 deals with our reality of our relationship with Jesus Christ. We died with Christ Jesus.

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above…

Have you ever been around someone who is dead? Not very responsive! THE MEMORY OF THAT PERSON BEING ALIVE EVEN CAUSES YOU TO IMAGINE THEM BREATHING WHEN YOU LOOK AT THEM. This verse says that we are no longer dead but have been raised with Christ. The whole concept is made more clearly from another of Paul's letters: Romans 6-8. He not only died for us (Became our substitute), but we died with Him (identification). Christ Jesus not only died for sin, bearing its penalty, but He died unto sin, that is breaking sin's power over us.

Because we are 'in Christ' through the work of His Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), we died with Christ Jesus. Victory over our old sin nature that wants to control us is now possible! See Romans 6:2

We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

Since we have been raised with Christ, we are told to set our hearts on things above. Set our minds on something other than our favorite TV drama, hobby, boy or girl friend, political conspiracy or world end theories. We are told-a rule here-to set our hearts on Him. His thoughts, His desires, His plans for reaching people with His love. Dwelling on these things will cause some major change in what we talk about. It will affect our use of the tongue. We might stop gossiping, backbiting, or whatever belongs to your earthly nature: Now, the heart is changed from within because we are allowing His Word to take over our inner thoughts. Not a bad thing here! This is a good thing BECAUSE, it HONORS HIM.

We are to:

2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

When you are alone and your mind starts to wonder-maybe even when you are not alone-where does it go? What concerns do you hold in your mind that robs you of sleep, that destroys closeness with others -- that holds you back from intimacy? What kind of anger that infects your heart? What jealousy that hurts your relationship with loved ones? We are to-a rule here-set our minds on things above. On the eternal things of the Spirit. On things that really matter in life. On things that are really important. Not things from our small world of concerns…

We get into the practice of running after the wrong things in life. Things that center on self; pampering one self. While the really important things in life should be devoting yourself to loving others, devoting yourself to your community around you and devoting yourself to creating something that gives you purpose & meaning and that brings God Honor that is His due!

Like care for the poor, the widows, the children at risk, people who cannot give back. In fact, just being kind to someone today might be a good place to start.
Set your minds and set your heart on His Things!
All this deals with what will happen later-when Jesus Christ returns! That is the Great and wonderful promise in the Second Testament. Jesus Christ will return for His Church. We must be ready for that event! Having a mind and heart that is set on Him will be rewarding! As He appears, as this passage says, you also will appear WITH HIM in Glory.

That promise is not empty nor is it just a dream of something that might happen! Look at Col 2:6-7. Just as we have received Jesus Christ we are to continue to live in Him. READ this-

6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Take a test right now. What do you have to be thankful for? Are you thankful at all? Are you overflowing with thankfulness? We would be as we continue to live in Him, being rooted in Him and built up in Him with a strengthening of the simple Faith you first believed. Our hearts need to overflow with thankfulness!

That is not easy nor is it hard. Once we realize who we are and who God is and how He has given so much for our salvation-that being, sending His One and only Son to Earth to die in our place. Because of our sin, He had to die-to set the accounts straight. We broke His Word-His Laws-so He was sent to us to take our punishment. John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not die but have eternal life”

That's what we are talking about! He took our place so that we can live forever!

Now there is something that needs to die in each of us. Verse 5 puts it this way:

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature:

And then Paul makes a list. I AM SURE it is not a complete list. There is so much bad stuff out there in our lives-in our minds and in our hearts that are not included in this list. Realize that it IS there because it wars against the Spirit of God that lives within us.
sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Paul tells us to put such things to DEATH. Once death comes, it has no more life. I worked at a funeral home after college for a short time-part time help is hard to find in such a vocation. Once we had this client in the box and ready for the service, she looked so good-except she was very dead and she was cold and she was not moving-of course. She was no longer in need of her grave clothes, she was given a wash and a nice clean dress was put on her.
“Put off…put on.”
But there was no new spirit inside! When Jesus rose from the Grave, He left His grave clothes behind…folded as a sign that He was to return. (John 20:1-10) We no longer need the grave clothes either. Those things that hold us down.
There was no life in her-even with the good make-up job Mr. Webster did on her, she was still dead and not getting any better. So should be the condition and activity of our former life. Put these things to death-that takes action. That takes some moving of the will. Not passive. Be involved in the action against those things that warring against the Lord. All that Paul was speaking of was called idolatry because it comes in front of our God in our lives. It was practically worshipped!
And in many cases, we enjoyed it! Sin would not be so bad if it was not fun. But
sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed
needs to die in our hearts and die in our minds because He is returning for us so THAT needs to get out of our lives!You can see why is was so upsetting to the Lord from verse 6-7

Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. We are to: rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other.

Anger, rage-habitual attitudes. Malice-ill will. Slander-blasphemy/tear down. Filthy talk-but purity & grace. Lie-1/2 the fact is a whole lie.
“If God still struck people dead for lying-where would I be now?
I'd be right here-preaching to an empty church!”
In other words, we are to build up each other in the Lord and tempt one another to good deeds and thoughts.
And we are to do all these things because:

you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Since you have taken off the old ways and have now, because of the fact that we received Christ Jesus as Lord, we are to continue to

live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

And as we rid ourselves of the old stuff that brings sorrow to our Lord and since we have stated to put on the new self, something else is happening in us. There is a renewing of that new self. See verse 10.
which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
How good is that! His Power in us, causing us to be renewed in that great knowledge of His Love! And to top that all off with some MORE good news!: 11

Here there is no Greek or Jew, … but Christ is all, and is in all.

He is at work in us to make this to be our life. He in us thru faith in Him and we in Him thru His work on the Cross. What a great deal of cooperation! Christ in you, the Hope of Glory.We will end now with the reading of the following verses from Col. 3:15-17, from The Message.

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ-the Message-have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives-words, actions, whatever-be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.


Worship Service now starts at 10:00 AM for the summer months. We will return to a 10:30 service on the first Sunday of September.

ALSO: ALPHA training in Tokyo on Juky 7. Call ICCS for details or go to ALPHA's web page!

Wheelchairs of Hope cleaning Day at CAJ on July 4th. We need to clean all the chairs we have to send to Asia!

Hello everyone! Just to let you know that we are still in business! The other day, our signboard was broken. That happened on Sunday morning real early. From the broken glass, we found out that the glass was broken AFTER 3:00AM as the ground was dry UNDER the broken glass. Felt like someone from CSI! The Police were great; took a few photos and wrote up a report and left before many people started coming to service.

On Monday, our Landlord put cardboard around the signboard. It did not look all that good, but the repairperson was coming in a few days and having broken glass out there just did not look safe!

On the following Friday, I visited a friend who is helping us find wheelchairs for Wheelchairs of Hope. She thought that I was coming by to say good-bye. She had gone by the Chapel and saw the signboard all 'boarded up' and thought we had closed!

We are still open for business! And we are open for worship. Thing is, that Sunday, June 24, we started our new summer schedule! The worship service started at 10:00 AM and not at 10:30. Please note the change. We will return to the 10:30 on the first Sunday in September. We have also stopped the Sunday School program for the summer. We call the Sunday School "the GrowZone." You may want to come in September. We have room for a number of new classes. Maybe, even an Alpha Course! Keep your eyes open for the changes.

Well, on June 10, we had Vidar A. speak for us. It was his last Sunday with us as he is now on his way home in Norway. He spoke on John 10:1-20. We need to be careful of the thief that comes to steal and kill and destroy. Two week's ago, Rev. Toshio Nagai from Wycliffe Bible Translators delivered the message. He even spoke in English. His main text was Colossians1:6

“This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard and understood the truth about God's great kindness to sinners.”

He told us of the needs around the world for Bible translation. Well over 2,000 language groups around the world do not have any form of the Holy Scriptures in their heart language. They are working to reach that goal by 2025. How can we help them? We can visit their web site:

We can volunteer to help them.
We could also go oversees on a short-term project.
Whatever you do, please pray for this project. Being part of the solution is much better than being part of the problem. It has been said: If you are board with life, go fix the world!

Last Sunday, Pastor Stan returned with this year's last sermon from the Book of Acts until the Fall. You may want to read in Acts 19:11-22. We will also had a baptism. Make plans to attend thisweek, OK? See you there!

Under His Grace.
Pastor Stan
Back again!

This time we will be stating the Summer Series on the writings of Paul. Our first look at how he sees things is from Colossians. We will also celebrate the Lord's Table. As often as we eat and drink, our memory of His great Gift of Eternal Life should come to mind. Also that He had promised to return to take us with Him for Eternity.

Are you ready for that?