The Bridge for Sunday 19 July 2020
The LORD is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27 : 1)
The Lord be with you
Heavenly Father, we come to you in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Saviour, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Grant that in this time of separation we may know the bonds of love as your cherished children and fill us again with your Holy Spirit, strengthen us in faith and hope, and guide us in our journey of faith. Help us to meditate on your word and focus on all that is holy and cleanse us from everything that would separate us from you. Amen
Colossians 3 verse 1 – 8
Hidden with Christ
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.
The young Christians at Colossae had been influenced by some visitors who were trying to persuade them that the faith they had been taught was not quite complete and they were putting forward ideas that, as far as Paul was concerned, were not in accordance with the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul has already, in chapter 2, reminded them that when they accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour, they were born into a new life, they had died to the life that they had been living as pagans and they had been resurrected into a new life with Jesus Christ. This is one of the ways that Paul describes the miracle that happens when we put our faith in Jesus and commit our lives to his service.
Now that we are raised with Christ we are to set our hearts on things above where Jesus reigns with God. If we are to be any use to the kingdom it would be self-defeating to go around in a saintly dream, oblivious to the concerns of the society around us but we do need to lift our hearts and minds to the true status of Jesus as King of kings, and Lord of lords realizing that our priority is to grow in grace, love and faith and therefore come closer to him. Our priority is to know Jesus more so that we can serve him better. On the other hand, we should not obsess on the things of this earth, Jesus said,
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6 : 33)
Paul is thinking much wider than our concerns about daily living he wants us to completely turn away from our former lives and those things that separate us from God as we shall see later.
Again, Paul reminds the Colossians that in dying they had a new life which for the time being is hidden with Christ in God. The world has no concept of the full glory, majesty and might of Jesus Christ. They see us, the church, as God’s representatives, with all our divisions, weaknesses and mistakes and we as Christians often do not represent the bold and forthright power of the gospel to change people’s lives. God wants people to respond to the love he expressed in his Son Jesus Christ, accepting his gift of forgiveness and believing in the hope of eternal life. If people could see the glory of Jesus now they would flock to him to share in his power and authority, but their motives would be earthly in nature, greed, self-importance and power. God wants to surround himself in eternity with people who genuinely love him and want to worship him with all their hearts in purity of spirit. So, for the time being our glory rests hidden with Jesus in God himself until Jesus comes again.
Be aware of the wrath of God
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.
Paul now gives us some details of what he considers to be integral to the earthly nature all of which add up to idolatry. An idol is anything that we may put in place of God in our affections and worship. What in life gets my best amount of time and attention instead of the worship and service of God himself?
It is a sobering thought that when Jesus comes again everyone will be subject to judgement. God’s justifiable righteous anger against sin itself and therefore against people who are persistent in their hedonist and self-orientated lifestyles, ignoring God, despite the witness of Christians, will inevitably lead to suffering God’s judgment and punishment. Surely this knowledge on its own is a spur to want to witness to all around us to the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ.
With this in mind Paul reminds the Colossians of their pagan past and urges them to live their new lives in Christ Jesus.
We in our turn recognize that we worship and serve a glorious, creative, all-powerful and all-knowing God and live in the hope of being with him and his Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ in Eternity.
Remember the words of God through Isaiah:
3: You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
(Isaiah 26 : 3)
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Heavenly Father we pray that by your Holy Spirit we will experience your peace in our hearts and minds because we have chosen to set our minds on things above, leaving behind those things that would separate us from you. Amen
The Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen
Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–
to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
The blessing of God Almighty.
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.