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Brought Together In Christ

Colossians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Brought Together In Christ

This morning, we continue our study in the book of Colossians. Last week we talked about how Christ is above all! He is just who He claims to be! God in the flesh and as God, He is not only the creator, but sustainer of all of creation - that is - He holds everything together, He is the only way to God and He is the head of the Church. We look to Him for our direction and our purpose. The church should never be about a person - it is all about Jesus and the mission that He has given to us to be disciples and make disciples in our world!
Today, Paul helps us in looking at what He has done for us personally.
Look at with me!
Colossians 1:21 NKJV
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
So Paul starts with us - each of us by saying - And you! And Don, and Beverly, and Mo, and Mary, and Carla - And You! This is what He has done for you! Paul begins by reminding us about our condition before salvation!
We Were Once Alienated
When Paul uses this word - alienated - he is reminding us that at one time we were outside of a relationship with God. We lived outside of the blessings of God. reminds us . . .
Ephesians 2:12 NKJV
that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
The Colossians, who were Gentiles, were not a part of the chosen people of God. They had no claim on Him and were outside of His provision and protection. Israel was still looking for the hope of salvation through a Messiah - but the Gentiles had no such hope. They were on the outside looking in.
During World War I a Protestant chaplain with the American troops in Italy became a friend of a local Roman Catholic priest. In time, the chaplain who moved on with his unit was killed. The priest heard of his death and asked military authorities if the chaplain could be buried in the cemetery behind his church. Permission was granted. But the priest ran into a problem with his own Catholic Church authorities. They were sympathetic, but they said they could not approve the burial of a non-Catholic in a Catholic cemetery. So the priest buried his friend just outside the cemetery fence. Years later, a war veteran who knew what had happened returned to Italy and visited the old priest. The first thing he did was ask to see the chaplain's grave. To his surprise, he found the grave inside the fence. "Ah," he said, "I see you got permission to move the body." "No," said the priest. "They told me where I couldn't bury the body. But nobody ever told me I couldn't move the fence." 
Antonio was an Italian boy who loved music, but whenever he tried to sing the music that was in his heart, it came out so badly that all his friends laughed at him. Next to singing, the boy loved to hear the violin. He had a pocketknife he always carried with him and he would whittle all sorts of things with it. One day Antonio learned that the greatest violin maker in all Italy, the great Nicolo Amati, lived in his village! Antonio began to whittle a violin and worked for many hours on it. When finished, the boy walked to the house of Amati, who just happened to answer the door. The boy handed the master the small violin he had carved and said, "Sir--I love music, but cannot sing. I wish with all my heart I could learn to make violins." The great Amati smiled, looked at the small gift and said, "Beautifully done! You want to make violins? And so you shall! In time your violins will make the most beautiful music ever heard!" And so, Antonio Stradivari became the pupil of Nicolo Amati and in time made violins that equaled his master's. 
Bits & Pieces, January, 1990, p. 11.
During World War I a Protestant chaplain with the American troops in Italy became a friend of a local Roman Catholic priest. In time, the chaplain who moved on with his unit was killed. The priest heard of his death and asked military authorities if the chaplain could be buried in the cemetery behind his church. Permission was granted. But the priest ran into a problem with his own Catholic Church authorities. They were sympathetic, but they said they could not approve the burial of a non-Catholic in a Catholic cemetery. So the priest buried his friend just outside the cemetery fence. Years later, a war veteran who knew what had happened returned to Italy and visited the old priest. The first thing he did was ask to see the chaplain's grave. To his surprise, he found the grave inside the fence. "Ah," he said, "I see you got permission to move the body." "No," said the priest. "They told me where I couldn't bury the body. But nobody ever told me I couldn't move the fence." 
Bits & Pieces, November, 1989, p. 24.
Each one of us were in the same postion. In our sins, we too were outside of a relationshp wtih God.
Each one of us were in the same postion. In our sins, we too were outside of a relationshp wtih God looking over a fence that we had no hope to cross.
We Were Once Enemies
We Were Once Enemies
Paul goes on to say we were enemies with God. reminds us . . .
Romans 5:10 NKJV
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
James 4:4 NKJV
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
We were against God, and against the things of God! Enemies with Him.
In Our Minds
In our minds describes the source of our fight against God. Some versions may translate this heart - the idea that Paul is expressing is that we were mentally against God and His purposes.
By Wicked Works
By wicked works describes the effect of our fight against God. Our minds lead our actions and here he is talking about how we lived as a result. Our actions reveal our true thoughts. The cause of thier sinfulness was not thier evil deeds. Their evil deeds came out because of thier sinfulness.
We don’t have to work at sinning - it just oozes out of us. Because of our sinfulness we sin. We live in ways that are contrary to God.
The Gentiles were looking over a fence that they could never get over. Their minds were opposed to God and their actions revealed their deepest thoughts. They were enemies with God.
And you! Paul points to us. Do you recognize that you were once in that same condition? Are you still there? Are you still on the outside looking in, hoping that there is a way for you to be made right with God?
We Are Reconciled
Paul reminds us, yet now He has reconciled.
God has taken the initiative to bring us together in Christ! There is a - rest of the story to the illustration I shared earlier with the man who buried his friend just on the other side of the fence.
Years later, a war veteran who knew what had happened returned to Italy and visited the old priest. The first thing he did was ask to see the chaplain's grave. To his surprise, he found the grave inside the fence. "Ah," he said, "I see you got permission to move the body." "No," said the priest. "They told me where I couldn't bury the body. But nobody ever told me I couldn't move the fence."
W
What we could never do for ourselves, God did for us. In Jesus he moves the fence and brings salvation to every nation! If you are on the outside looking in today, there is hope!
We are reconciled when we respond to the Lordship of Christ and are now at peace with God
Look at
Colossians 1:22 NKJV
in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—
Reconciliation involved a physical sacrifice.
He reconciled us by His death in His flesh. Moral and spiritual change comes by the death of Christ. He gave Himself totally for us so that we could have a relationship with God and life eternal.
Reconciliations purpose is to present us holy.
Those who trust in Christ for their salvation are changed. We are free from sin to live in relationship with God. In this we are able to trust Christ and live in a way that pleases Him.
We were never saved to live for ourselves, but to bring God glory by the way that we now live.
We are to be Holy in his sight
We are to be without blemish
We are to be free from accusation
We are holy, without blemish, and free from accusation because of the work of Christ. We are not responsible for ourselves being pure. It is because He has covered us that we are.
We are to live now differently. Look at . . .
Romans 12:1–2 NKJV
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
We live differently as a result!
Colossians 1:23 NKJV
if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Paul here is talking about our responsibility until Christ returns. If indeed you continue - we often read this as Paul expressing doubt. It is the same language Paul uses in
Philippians 2:1 NKJV
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,
The term grammatically is better translated “assuming that” Here the phrase would be assuming that you continue
Paul teaches that those who know the truth will continue in the truth. Nowhere does scripture teach that you can lose salvation.
Instead we are encouraged to continue tin the faith - with the firm expectation that those in Christ will continue in the faith until his return.
We are a part of this Gospel story today! We are to be sharing with those around us the reason for the hope that we have! The fence has not just been moved, it has been taken down. The offer is for all - we then live out our salvation and look for opportunities to share with our circles.
Friends
Relatives
Associates
Neighbors
Strangers
Romans 1:19–20 NKJV
because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
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Life booklet - invite cards - who are in your circles? Pray for those God has already shared with us that we need to reach. If there is no one - ask God to show you someone today!
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