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Colossians | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene


Renovation of Our Hearts

Last Sunday morning, I gave you two points as we began our new series and looked at the renovation of our hearts.
  • Recognize in ourselves the idea systems of evil that govern our present age. Replace in ourselves the evil systems with the Kingdom and culture that Christ embodied (Philippians 2:1-11).
  • Recognize that all the essential parts of life are organized around God, as they are restored and sustained by Him (Colossians 1:9-14).

As I mentioned on Sunday, I struggled to narrow down which Scripture reference to include with each of these points. One of the passages I looked at was Colossians 3:1-17.

This week, I keep coming back to this passage, specifically Paul's statement in verses 12-14:

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."

At first glance, this seems like a list of standard Pauline traits. Notice what Paul says to us- "as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved."

We are God's chosen ones. God's holiness is present in us. We are loved and this love is the basis for our love for others. We cannot be God's chosen ones and not love. There is no way around this. God is love and if we are His, we love too.

What does this love look like?

We are to have compassionate hearts. Lives marked by kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. We bear with one another and forgive one another (just as we have been forgiven).

Wrapping this section up, Paul alludes to the prevailing Greek thought. The ancient philosophers believed there was one great unifier that 'binds everything together in perfect harmony.' This unifier gives balance and proportion to the soul. Paul speaks here directly to the thought of his day, "...put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony..."

Sunday, we will look at the Renovation of the Church. It is my prayer that we come prepared for worship and that 'the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God' (vs. 16). Amen.

New Identity

Yesterday, our denomination wrapped up General Assembly. General Assembly happens every four years. It is a great time of celebration, but it is also an opportunity to handle polity issues. These issues range from the way the church is run to theological issues.

What amazes me as I watched online this year, was the importance of identity.

Through all of the issues addressed, the issue at the heart of most theological issues was the importance of who we are as Nazarenes in 2017 (and the next four-years). We are a global church dealing with global issues. This does result in some headaches, but the sense of purpose and identity shined through the debates.

Identity was a central issue for Paul in Romans 6-8. Last Sunday, we looked at how Paul draws his thought from the Exodus. Paul is reminding the people of God, that God delivered His people from the slavery of Egypt to create a new people in Him. In the same way, God has delivered us from the slavery of sin to create a new people.

The beauty of this argument comes in a subtle shift of language from chapters 3-5 to chapters 6-8. Let's look at two verses as an example of this shift:
  • 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
  • 6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Look at the first example. In this passage, Christ died for the ungodly (read- you and me!). He died for our sins.

Now, look at the second verse. Who died? We did! When He died, you died. When He arose, you arose.

What is Paul saying here? We identify with Christ and now my identity is found in Him.

You now have a new identity. You are no longer living for yourself, but for Christ!

We can see how this new identity changes our lives as Paul writes in Colossians 3:1-3, "If then 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."

What do we do with this new identity?

We seek the things that are above.
We set our minds on things that are above.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Pastor John

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