“Established in the Faith”
Genesis 15: 1-6; Psalm 138; Colossians 2: 1-7
Pearl: Living out of, living for, and living through Christ Jesus.
Function: To encourage worshippers that our fundamental calling is to live out the Christ-like identity.
Are you enjoying the “fruits” of summer…the literal delicious and luscious fruits of this summer season and the figurative “fruits?” These can be all kinds of things. What are the figurative “fruits” of summer that you have most enjoyed?
- In the realm of the Spirit? In the realm of the season? In the realm of friends and family?
These summer months offer some of the year’s biggest blessings from the nice weather, to creation as it blooms forth, as vacations are enjoyed, as school is at recess, and so on.
- On the other hand, the fruits of faith in Jesus Christ and the fruits of the Spirit of God are available to us all through the year and in each and every season.
- Imagine enjoying the delectable, local summer fruits all through the year?
- Well, we can and do live off of these spiritual delicacies all through the year. In fact, we live off of them forever.
God praised the Colossian Christians through the Apostle Paul for their firmness of faith in Jesus Christ.
He commended them for “living for Jesus,” the essence and embodiment of our faith.
There were competing messages in and around the church in Colossae which inspired Paul’s comment. This Gnostic heresy was the idea that spirituality or faith was not easily acquired by the common person, was secret and mysterious, and was necessary for enlightenment. Paul challenged this by saying that the “mystery of the ages” is for all to see and to know and it is as plain as day: Jesus Christ.
- The followers of Christ in Colossae were commended for the “firmness” and “grounded-ness” of their faith.
- “Faith” is a profound gift for us all!
- It is one of the “big three” from I Corinthians 13: “Faith, hope, and love abide, these three…” (13:13).
- Paul stressed that “love” is the crown jewel but nonetheless “faith” is right up there.
- Who is your favorite biblical personality? I so often go back to Abraham in my thoughts and admiration of biblical personalities. The Apostle Paul also admired Abraham as seen in Romans. We read from Genesis how God made an incredible promise to the old man Abraham that he would bear a son and would through this son of promise become the father of innumerable descendants. (By the way, God continues to inspire us through our most senior brothers and sisters as he certainly did through Abraham and Sarah! Our seniors are the heart and soul of the church. Hopefully our subsequent generations will be so faithful to Highland Presbyterian Church!)
- Abraham “…believed the Lord, and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6). Declaring a person “righteous” in the Old Testament was a big deal.
- It was for his unwavering trust in the promises of God that God took pleasure in him.
- Similarly, it was due to the firmness of their faith in Jesus Christ that Paul commended and encouraged the followers of Christ in Colossae.
- Reflect with me on “faith” for a moment.
- What are the most common ways that we think of faith?
- Exercising our faith in ourselves and placing it in others.
- Faith as being something that we do.
- Faith as a religious framework.
- Placing faith in something like a ladder to hold you up while you climb.
- Placing your faith in your pilot.
- Placing it in your doctors.
- Faith is all of these things but for the follower of Christ “faith” is about our Lord Jesus Christ.
- A beloved seminary teacher Richard Armstrong wrote and talked about the “leap of faith.” You don’t take a leap off of the ledge of what you know unless you trust that someone will catch you. This One is Jesus Christ.
- Faith is so powerful because of the object of our faith: Jesus Christ.
- When you think to yourself “I need to have more faith” or if you tell someone else that message, make sure to emphasize the One who is the object of that faith and the One who makes it real and what it is: Jesus Christ.
- Faith is so powerful and so awesome because it is placed in Jesus Christ.
- What are the most common ways that we think of faith?
We are who we are because of Jesus Christ. He is the essence of our identity.
We “live for Jesus” as he is the essence and the embodiment of our faith.
God intends for us to live out of, live for, and live through Jesus Christ.
- C.S. Lewis taught that we are each to be a “little Christ.” He wrote: “Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.”
Refresh who you are in relation to Jesus Christ.
- Why would we want to be or need to be refreshed in Jesus?
- It is so that we can “live out” our identity in Jesus Christ.
- We return to Christ over and over as a regular habit; we study the Christ, we pray to the Christ, and we figuratively “eat of” and “drink in” the Christ so that we can be “little Christs.”
- The Message version of the Bible puts it this way:
- “You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well-constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving” (Col. 2: 6, 7).
That is what we are about, living for Jesus in a world which so desperately needs his light and needs his love and depends upon his grace!
I finish with Paul’s own words:
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2: 6,7).