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Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

July 28, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Colossians 2:6–2:15

†††In the Name of Jesus†††


Pastor Murray Keith


Text: Colossians 2:6-15

Date: July 28th, 2019; Pentecost 7; Series C


Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • What is the root of your life? 
  • What grounds you and is your foundation?
  • What builds you up?
  • What causes you to abound in thanksgiving?
  • Do you turn to the Creator for these things or do you rely on what he has created?
  • Because of our fallen nature, our default is to root ourselves, and build ourselves up, and abound in thanksgiving in the things of this temporary life.
  • Our sinful nature is naturally turned away from God and we seek the pleasures of this life - houses, and cars, and vacations, and food, and hobbies.
  • This is where our sinful nature roots itself and attempts to find joy, and fulfillment, and meaning.
  • The problem with this, however, is that what the Creator has created has been corrupted by sin.
  • To be sure, there is nothing inherently sinful or wrong in enjoying and making use of what God has created - but as sin always does, it distorts and turns what God meant for our good into something harmful.   
  • Created things - as good as they may be - are no substitute for God.
  • This is what King Solomon discovered.
  • Though he had greater wisdom than all, and greater wealth than most - he found that in the end he could not enjoy them.   
  • The book of Ecclesiastes records how Solomon ended up viewing this life, his wisdom, and life’s pleasures - he saw them as a trap that leads to destruction.
  • He learned that his pursuit for wisdom and power and pleasure only led to emptiness.
  • He said, “I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself.  I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them in them all kinds of fruit trees…I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces…whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them…Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”
  • Solomon discovered that rooting himself, and building himself up, and abounding in thanksgiving in his wisdom and the things of this world led nowhere.
  • The things of this world never fully satisfy and are temporary - they whither and fade and die. 
  • Again, created things - as good as they may be - are no substitute for the Creator.
  • Fortunately, for Solomon, he was brought to realize that everything is not in vain when God enters our lives through his Word and we fear him, keep his Commandments, and receive his promises.
  • St. Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, also points us to where true joy and fulfillment and meaning and life are received - they are received in Christ Jesus the Lord.
  • He said, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
  • He goes on to say that, “in [Christ Jesus] the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”
  • In Christ Jesus, we are truly fulfilled.  We have everything we need.  We are completed.
  • St. Paul boldly proclaims this truth in response to some falsehood that had infiltrated the Colossian Church.
  • He warned them against being taken captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
  • Just like the things of this world, false teachings can also separate us from God and one another. 
  • So, having received Christ Jesus the Lord, we walk in him, rooted and built up and established in the faith.
  • And the way that we are rooted, and built up, and established in Christ Jesus is through our Baptism.
  • In our epistle lesson St. Paul tells us that we have been buried with Christ in Baptism, in which we are also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised Jesus from the dead.
  • The promises that God gives to us in our baptism are the most important gifts we can possibly receive.
  • In our baptism, we receive nothing less than the gift of salvation earned for us by Christ Jesus.
  • St. Paul goes on to say that we who were dead in our trespasses have been made alive together with Christ, who has forgiven all of our trespasses.  
  • Christ has cancelled the record of our sin debt, he has set it aside - by nailing it to the cross.
  • All of this we received through our baptism and through the gift of faith. 
  • Before our baptism, God’s Law damned us.  
  • Luther spoke of God’s Law as a mirror that shows us our sin, our failings before God.
  • And God’s Law is a mirror that we are hesitant to look into.  
  • It’s far easier to rationalize, blame, deny, deflect, and excuse our sin than it is to admit it and repent of it.
  • But God’s Law is a mirror that we must look into because there we find truth.
  • There we discover that we do not determine what is right and wrong, but God does.
  • Many sinful acts have received our society’s stamp of approval, so it doesn't seem like a big deal when everyone else is doing it.
  • But, St. Paul warns us that it is a very dangerous thing to mix human philosophy and empty deceit - with God's Word.
  • We cannot be worried about being politically correct - we need to be focused on being biblically correct.
  • Christ is the head of all rule and authority and he has revealed to us that our world is sinful and broken - and we all contribute to that sinfulness and brokenness. 
  • When we see the world, and ourselves, in the light of God’s Word - and not in the philosophy of the day - we then see our dire need for a Saviour.  
  • Apart from Christ, when we look into the mirror of God’s Law, we see nothing but death.
  • Looking into this mirror and seeing ourselves for who we really are - we are driven to look for an escape. 
  • And by God’s love, mercy, and grace we have one.
  • We daily dive into our baptismal waters remembering God’s promise of forgiveness and life given through that miraculous event in our lives.
  • God’s Word of promise was combined with the water of your baptism and so it is sure and certain!
  • We need not doubt it!  
  • For as sure as God’s Word tells us that we are sinners, so it tells us that for the sake Christ he forgives us!  
  • St. Paul in his letter to Titus tells us, "He saved us, not because of deeds done in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy.  By the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7). 
  • Hear again the Good News that in the loving, forgiving, and protecting waters of your baptism - your record of sin debt that stood against you has been set aside, nailed to the cross. 
  • We who were dead in our trespasses have been made alive forever.
  • Thanks be to God!  Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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