Archive for the ‘Salvation In Christ’ Tag

Grace To A Runaway Slave!

Part A:

Part B:

Full Message:


Bible Verse: Philemon 8-22


Introduction:

In his short letter to Philemon, Paul made an appeal for oneness and unity in Jesus Christ. He placed himself in the middle of a broken relationship between Philemon, a slave master, and Onesimus, a runaway slave. Contained within this story of reconciliation, grace, and de-exaltation is the gospel itself. A slave himself, Paul urged Philemon to consider love—not law, duty, or obligation. His instruction to receive Onesimus as a brother, not a slave, challenges us to evaluate our pride and align our perspectives of others with Christ’s perspective. In this letter, Paul helps us reflect on the racial, radical, and redemptive reconciliation Christ offers.

“The salvation secured by Christ in the gospel is more comprehensive than justification alone: it brings repentance, wholeness, love for brothers and sisters in the Christian community.” –D. A. Carson

Outline:

1. Appealing to Love, Not Obligation (Philem. 8-14)

Like Philemon, love is to be our motivation for obeying God in all things. We can easily fall into the trap of obeying God primarily out of obligation. We obey because we have to. We know we should. While this is certainly true—God has given us commands, not suggestions in Scripture— obligation cannot be what prompts our obedience. Love must be.

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commands (John 14:15). Love fuels obedience; obedience verifies love. A steady diet of love fattens obedience, but obligation will starve it at some point. This is why Jesus fused the two together. Our love for God produces obedience that pleases Him and also brings Him glory as the world around us sees us joyfully obey.

2. Accepting a Brother, Not a Slave (Philem. 15-17)

Love all men, even your personal enemies, not because they are brothers but in order that they may be brothers, in order that you may always burn with brotherly love, whether for one already become a brother or for an enemy so that by [your] loving he may become a brother.” –Augustine

3. Anticipating Grace, Not Duty (Philem. 18-22)

If we as Christians only obey God out of a sense of obligation or duty, then we commit the sin of the Pharisee: righteousness without right-heartedness. God desires that our obedience come from the heart.

After committing adultery with Bathsheba, David discovered, “The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God” (Ps. 51:16-17). God cannot overlook a broken heart. He collects them, tends and mends them. Duty is a harsh master, but through the cracks of a broken spirit, the Holy Spirit enters into us and distributes grace to every limb. Paul had a broken heart when he penned his letter—a heart that Philemon could heal by demonstrating the grace of Christ to Onesimus. “Refresh my heart in Christ,” he instructed (Philem. 20).

Theological Theme:

Christian reconciliation models the cross of Christ.

Contained within this story of reconciliation, grace, and de-exaltation is the gospel itself – a gospel that regardless of background, skin color, class, or cultural difference unites God’s [Father-Son-Holy Spirit] family members and demonstrates the reconciling power of the cross. Christian unity is not about sameness; it’s about oneness.

Christ Connection:

When Paul appealed to Philemon on behalf of the runaway slave Onesimus, he placed himself in the middle of their broken relationship. In order to make peace, he volunteered to pay Onesimus’ debt. Through this action, Paul modeled Jesus Christ, who is the peacemaker between God and sinful humanity. By volunteering to pay our debt, Jesus reconciled us to God and to each other.

Missional Application:

God, through his Holy Spirit, calls us to live as peacemakers who reflect the heart of our crucified Savior.

Conclusion:

Jesus once promised that He would “go away and prepare a place for you” (John 14:3).

After the toils of life are over, God will declare your emancipation also. Like Paul, you will escape “this body of death” (Rom. 7:24) and abscond to your mansion in glory—a home where “neither moth nor rust destroys” and “where thieves don’t break in and steal” (Matt. 6:20). This future home is what should motivate us today. Because we anticipate entering Christ’s presence and basking in His love and grace as His brothers and sisters, we give to others today what we will receive then. It is the least we, all former slaves to sin who are now one family in Christ, can do for one another.

“We have but one leading aim, to which it is our deliberate and unreserved desire that every thing else in which we are concerned may be subordinate and subservient—in a word, that we are devoted to the Lord, and have by grace been enabled to choose him, and to yield ourselves to him, so as to place our happiness in his favor, and to make his glory and will the ultimate scope of all our actions.” –John Newton

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The Most Important Priority For Everyone Everywhere! Part 1 (Our Christian/Biblical Worldview)

Part 1A:

Part 1B:

Full Message:


Bible Verses: Colossians ( Various Scriptures)


Introduction:

Over the past few Gospel messages we’ve been sharing in the mind of Jesus Christ by reading through the book of Colossians and seeking to grasp all that the Father inspired to be written for the Christians living there under His leading! We have been beholding the complexity of the Father, Son and Spirit’s oversight and purpose for everything, everywhere! Understanding His loving care and concern for our faith, hope and love in Him!  Trusting Him for His loving care and concern for His Church, His Kingdom, and the World at large. Receiving His loving care and concern for all created things as Reconciler and Redeemer of each and all of us who have been negatively impacted by evil and are in a state of recovery from the Fall in Christ our Lord!

We’ve been seeking to understand and have God’s view of what it means to live in and amongst all this complexity, even as the Colossian church members were, too! We are hearing the call of the Lord to continue to let the Truth of our Being (Jesus Christ!) be the Way of our Being, participating with him in his earthly historical life!

Theological Theme:

In Astounding and Inclusive Love the Father has sent and given humanity His Son and Word (Jesus), and gives us His Holy Spirit, that all of humanity might share in His Fellowship as Father, Son and Spirit! How do we receive, trust and live out this relationship in the complex situation going on around us? How do we honor and love God and neighbor while we are still in a becoming state of being more like Jesus? In Colossae, and like us, they were believers who are seeking to relate with Jesus and seeking to understand the Jewish/Christian connections of faith in Jesus Christ! At the same time they are also working, living, and breathing in a particular secular culture that had businesses, educational institutions, gossip, industry, various religions, and therefore various idols and powerful influences that threatened to attack and undermine their faith and trust in Christ!

“Human beings are fallen and therefore subject to temptation and being deceived by evil influences. Fallen, we are also inveterate self-justifiers seeking to maintain our own autonomous righteousness (ethics) apart from the gift of God received by repentance and faith upon hearing the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the ministry of the Holy Spirit.” – Dr. Gary Deddo.

Abba, Father, help and save us through this tension through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Your Spirit!

Christ Connection:

The Good News of the Gospel is that Christ has already overcome this tension, and our fallenness, through his obedience to His Father by the Spirit, from inside our broken human nature. He has turned our human nature around and back to the Father! From his place of Ascension as a glorified human being he now sends, and we receive freely, the Holy Spirit he sends from the Father, giving us a share in his overcoming power through his very own faith and trust poured out in us!

“For the Lord touched all parts of creation, and freed and undeceived them all from every deceit.”
― St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation

Missional Application:

Jesus is the only hope for all, not just Christians! As Jesus encounters and empowers us believers in our relationship with him, we call upon pre-believers to place their faith and trust in Jesus by the Spirit – calling on them to repent, be baptized, deny themselves and pick up their cross, following Jesus!

“The problem of pursing a life of moral faithfulness is not simply a matter of discerning what God’s will is—as if simply knowing it, figuring it out, takes care of it. The barriers are much greater. No earnest pursuit of moral faithfulness to Jesus Christ will come to fruition unless the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the Word of God, breaks down our resistance to the Word and the Spirit and kills our self-justifying pride that resists repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and his Word.” – Dr. Gary Deddo

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Becoming An Ethically Responsible Christian Disciple! Part 4 (Our Christian/ Biblical Worldview)

Part 4A:

Part 4B:

Full Message:


Bible Verses: Colossians (various scriptures)


Introduction:

In Jesus, God’s Elect One, you and every other person you know have been elected/chosen to be at the highest place of honor and privilege possible for a human being, participating with Jesus in his union and relationship with His Father, in the Holy Spirit. In fact, all of what it means to be truly and fully human is seated, truly and mysteriously, with the Father, and in Jesus who share in our humanity. Jesus represents and substitutes for each and all of us human beings before the Father not so we don’t have to participate but so that we can, with him!

Theological Theme:

Because of the Reality of Jesus in our humanity, now glorified, we are invited and urged to share more deeply in in the humanity of Christ by the Spirit Christ than in the divided humanity of those who reject God! In the worshipful and relational way of Jesus, we who trust and believe in him, prioritize and live out the Great Command to love God with our all, first, and then, at His direction and lead in the Spirit, to love our neighbors as ourselves.

As the late George MacDonald has written: “God can no more than an earthly parent be content to have only children: he must have sons and daughters—children of his soul, of his spirit, of his love—not merely in the sense that he loves them, or even that they love him, but in the sense that they love like him, love as he loves. For this he does not adopt them; he dies to give them himself, thereby to raise his own to his heart; he gives them a birth from above; they are born again out of himself and into himself.” ― George MacDonald

Christ Connection:

There is a call from the Father for us to be different and to be transformed in Christ in the Holy Spirit; to begin and keep becoming and growing up in Him, right here and right now! To keep sharing in the mind of Christ about our world, that we are forever going to be relating with and oversee with Jesus in a larger more fulfilling way! We’re not in a pretend mode right now just because everything here on earth will one day be transformed! In believers, and by the Holy Spirit, Jesus has an earthly body that still resides in our present history, interacting with his Father and our neighbors in love. Obeying Jesus right now is as vital as it was vital when he actually walked the earth in his distinct human body because he is the Risen Lord and still has an ongoing and present ministry!

Missional Application:

Jesus, being our Great Ethic, has pointed out what it means to participate with him in relation to God and our neighbor:

A lawyer asked [Jesus] a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:35-40, NRSV)

As Dr. Gary Deddo points out in his article “Theological Ethics”:

“When we love God with all we are and have, there shines forth a reflection of it towards those who are not God. We love God because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). Our love for God is a response, the right and appropriate response, to God’s love for us. We first receive God’s love and we first love God. When we love the neighbor in the way God would have us, then like Jesus, we are passing on to others what we have received from God. Think of the offering of the Lord’s Supper and Paul’s words: “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you” (1 Cor. 11:23). In God’s economy, we can pass on only what we have first received. First things must remain first, otherwise, as C.S. Lewis reminds us, we will lose both the first and the second things.”

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Becoming An Ethically Responsible Christian Disciple! Part 3 (Our Christian/ Biblical Worldview)

Part 3A:

Part 3B:

Full Message:


Bible Verses: Colossians (various scriptures)


Introduction:

“How Do I Become An Ethically Responsible Christian Disciple?” That is the question this series is trying to answer as it lays the foundations of this sermon firmly on THE Foundation of Jesus Christ, Himself, in his Person and Work. As we face the “waves and pounding surf” of the bad philosophies and false ideas and ideologies of this world, we need not be shaken because our house is built upon a rock, THE Rock, Jesus Christ! We are encouraged by the Lord Jesus to be careful how we build. The Lord Jesus Christ in calling you to Himself in His relationship with His Father does so that you might know Him and, incredibly, share in his very mind with him! NOT sharing in a mind like his, but sharing in his very own mind, in the Spirit!

Theological Theme:

“Ethics” is a way of understanding how we are to relate to our neighbors, horizontally, in the light of Who Jesus is and Who we are in Him, as we seek to glorify the Father with Jesus! As those who trust him, Jesus Christ is our Ethic! When we are directly relating to God, that’s worship. When we are relating directly to our neighbor for God’s sake, that is ethics, or witnessing to and participating with the God we worship in His love toward others.

Christ Connection:

In one paradoxical way of putting it, Christian ethics are really the end of ethics as we once thought of them! We’re no longer centered on proclaiming a nice, neatly-packaged system of rule-keeping, laws or instructions, as if that is what the bible/Christian life primarily is. We’re now centered solely on the Rule-Keeper, the Law-Giver, and THE Loving Instructor – Jesus Christ, Himself! He is our Ethic! In an intimate relationship with Him he guides and leads us by the Holy Spirit, even in the minutiae of everyday living, that we might participate with Him in glorifying His Father in a human way! In Jesus we are becoming a repetition of Jesus and His Father in an earthly way by the Spirit!

Missional Application:

The Father sent his Son Jesus into the world because of his great love for the world. John 3:16. This love for the world is what we seek to participate in both within and outside the Church in participation with Jesus and the Father. This quote from Henri Nouwen is written with just this kind of love for others in mind:

“For Jesus, there are no countries to be conquered, no ideologies to be imposed, no people to be dominated. There are only children, women and men to be loved.” — Henri Nouwen

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What Are You Doing For Christ’s Sake? Part 1

Part 1A:

Part 1B:

Full Message:

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Bible Verses: Colossians 3: 17, 23 Colossians 1


Introduction:

God-Father-Son-Holy-Spirit does what He does for the sake of the other, He is other-centered. The Father does what he does for His Son. His Son, Jesus does what He does for His Father. The Spirit does what He does for the Father and Son. God in Christ gives Himself through His Son and the Spirit for humanity and creation.

Jesus is what it means for humans to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. To live as distinct persons with the character of Jesus Christ, in the communion of the Holy Spirit, is what it means to be a real human being! This is what we mean when we Christians say that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life! His claim to fame as a man is the claim of being free for obedience to His Father, Whom He loves with all of His heart, soul, mind and strength that he might love his neighbor more than he loves himself!

The question then comes to us, and instructs us: SO, WHO ARE YOU BEING, AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING, AND WHAT WILL YOU DO FOR CHRIST’S SAKE?!

Theological Theme:

The heart and foundation of the Gospel is to be response-able with Jesus, to the Father, in union and participation with him in the Holy Spirit This is what it means to Worship God. Worship is to share with Jesus in His worship of God by the Spirit!

WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH CHRIST FOR CHRIST’S SAKE?!

Christ Connection:

THE STANDARD FOR HUMAN LIFE IS CHRIST JESUS, AND CHRIST ALONE!

IN THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL AND PERSONAL AND RELATIONAL SENSE, THEOLOGY AND CHRISTOLOGY are not your standard for life, DOCTRINE is not your standard for life, being full of good works IS not your standard for life, Good morals and ethics are not your standard for life! The Church is not your standard for life! And certainly, if those good thing aren’t your standard for life, then resisting God, sinning, self-centeredness, and the way of the world apart from Christ are most definitely not your standard for life either! JESUS (PLUS NOTHING) IS YOUR STANDARD FOR LIFE!

The Good News of The Gospel is that Jesus, as both God and Man in one person, is and always be, and should be at the center of your life. Jesus is your Lord and Savior who accepts you unconditionally where you are, no matter how foul, bad, rebellious you are or have been, but only to take you where he is going and to make a little Christ of you!

THE standard for your life is Jesus Christ alone and as such does warn us about rejecting him and his Father and the Holy Spirit. He does, in the Holy Spirit, teach us not to sin and he does help us become other centered rather than self-centered. As THE standard, Jesus Christ tells us that we do have victory over the spirit of the world and the world itself through our faith in him – Jesus Christ – THE standard, THE way, THE truth and THE life!

JESUS + NOTHING is YOUR standard for life so:

Q: What are you doing by the Spirit in the Father’s grace for Christ’s sake?

A: Your responses and participation with Jesus in his faith, hope and love by the Spirit is the Father’s gift to you that he might be glorified – reflected in your life to your ultimate joy! 1 Cor 13

Missional Application:

Jesus was sent to us by the Father to participate with him in his mission to draw everyone in the world to His Father and Himself. Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit that we may participate with him in going out beyond ourselves to others who do not know and receive him. WHAT WILL YOU DO FOR CHRIST’S SAKE?!

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is personal and personally transforming—it is dynamic and interactive, bringing about receptivity, responsiveness and participation. And the result is that we are on a journey towards spiritual maturity and full sanctification, being changed into the likeness of Christ. But this journey is not automatic, causal, or impersonal. It is not mechanically imposed on all believers, much less on all human persons (including non-believers). Since personal (subjective) receptivity and participation do make a difference, much of the New Testament indicates the differences it makes and encourages, exhorts and even commands us to be receptive to the Word of God and the ministry of the Spirit out of trust in God’s faithfulness through the Son and in the Spirit.” – Dr Gary Deddo

Conclusion:

Our personal response (or lack thereof) to God cannot undo the fact that Jesus is and remains Lord and Savior of all. The character and purpose, mind and heart of God remain just as they have been revealed in Christ. The finished work of Christ is never undone—God remains, in Christ, reconciled to all people, no matter their response. He has and holds out forgiveness for them, is ready to receive them back into fellowship with him, and in that sense accepts them. However, while God accepts them, he does not accept their rejection, their sin, their rebellion, but accepts them in order to do away with what is against them and against their participation in the reconciliation accomplished for them in Christ. Nothing changes that reconciliation (with all it means), not even a person’s complete or partial rejection of God’s gift. However, our personal response (participation) does affect the quality of our lived relationship with God and thus our personal experiencing of the benefits of Christ.– Dr Gary Deddo

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Our Father’s Hope For All: In Relationship With The Trinity! Part 8

Part 8A:

Part 8B

Full Message:


Watch On YouTube

Main Bible Verses: John 14: 15-26 Romans 12 Romans 13


Introduction:

“The Triune God of love brought his creation into being for the sake of loving fellowship. Created in the image of God, we humans are able to exist in a fellowship of covenant love (agape) with our Creator and each other. However, through Adam and Eve (representing all humanity), the power of evil got a foothold in God’s good creation, reaching down into the roots of human nature. Foreseeing this tragedy, God began to implement his plan to rescue humanity and bring final judgment upon evil. These goals would be achieved by God working in and through the Son of God incarnate as Jesus Christ, and the subsequent ministry of the Holy Spirit in and through the church…….

We receive all that Christ has done for humanity by participating in the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit. Beginning in Acts, the New Testament tells the story of the church’s participation in the Spirit’s ministry (and so the mission of God) during the time stretching from Jesus’ resurrection-ascension and sending of the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ promised return in glory. During this “time between the times” the church is given a down payment (first fruits) of the Spirit so that during this present evil age (when evil has not yet fully passed away and the kingdom is not yet fully manifested) the church can embody signs of the coming fullness of Christ’s triumphant reign in a new heaven and new earth.

As the church waits in hope for the age to come, it grows up into Christ, sharing in his glorified humanity. During this time, the Spirit frees and enables the church to worship God, witness to Christ and his coming kingdom, and participate in his mission to take the gospel to the far corners of the earth as God, by the Spirit, draws all people to himself. As God’s ambassadors of reconciliation, the church has the privilege of sharing in God’s redemptive mission, so that all might be reconciled to God.” ―The Church and Its Ministry, by Gary Deddo

Theological Theme:

God IS Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Love is not just a generic word or concept about a fuzzy feeling or sentiment you have. Love is bound up in the fact that God-Father-Son-Holy-Spirit IS LOVE. So love is this personal relationship with the ONE God Being in Three persons and the Three Persons in ONE God Being.

“The Christian God is a fellowship, a communion. This triune God has his being by being in relationships of holy loving. Those relationships are, in particular, eternally begetting, being begotten, and proceeding — each a unique form of holy, loving exchange. Those are the key words we have in allowing us to point to the amazing reality of who God is.” -Gary Deddo

“As God is in eternal loving relationship as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so also he has made us to be in loving relationship with him and one another. As the Holy Spirit unites the divinity and humanity of Christ, so the Spirit also unites us to the Son so that we are united with each other as the body of Christ.” ―Eric Wilding – Grace Communion International

Christ Connection:

In the body of Jesus Christ, the Father, Son and Spirit is united with humankind. All humanity is accepted by God and the world is reconciled to God in Him. In the body of Jesus Christ, God took on the sin of all the world and bore it 2000 years ago. There is no part of the world, no matter how lost or Godless that has not been forgiven and accepted by God in Jesus Christ – reconciled to God in Jesus Christ.

 “Thus in this oneness, Jesus Christ is the Mediator, the Reconciler, between God and man. Thus He comes forward to MAN on behalf of GOD calling for and awakening faith, love and hope, and to GOD on behalf of MAN, representing man, making satisfaction and interceding. Thus He attests and guarantees to God’s free GRACE and at the same time attests and guarantees to God man’s free GRATITUDE.” ―Karl Barth, The Humanity of God

“Because Christ has taken humanity into himself, we are partakers and participants in the divine nature with him. Because we are in Christ, because he is both the Son of God and the perfect human with us and for us in our humanity, we share in his perfect relationship with the Father. In Christ, we are the beloved children of the Father, in whom he is well pleased. And because we are united with Christ in his humanity, we share in the Trinity’s grace, love and communion.” ―Eric Wilding ―Grace Communion International

Missional Application:

We share in all that Jesus gives us by the Holy Spirit. “So we can say that the Holy Spirit humanizes by making us share in the glorified humanity of Jesus Christ

“The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to deliver to us all the benefits of the work of Christ……When the Spirit acts, he acts in unity with the Father and the Son, bringing our worship all together in the fellowship of the Trinity….

Thus, we understand that when the Spirit of Jesus comes upon us, he enables us to respond fully to the truth and reality of who God is and who we are in relationship to God with all we are and have. If there is part of us that is not yet responding, whether it be body, mind or heart, the Holy Spirit works to bring us to the point that we respond in all that we are. The Spirit does not divide us. Rather, he heals and makes us whole, giving us human integrity before our Lord and God.” ―Gary Deddo

Conclusion:

“The doctrine of the Trinity means that relationship, that fellowship, that togetherness and sharing, that self-giving and other-centeredness are not afterthoughts with God, but the deepest truth about the being of God. The Father is not consumed with Himself; He loves the Son and the Spirit. And the Son is not riddled with narcissism; he loves his Father and the Spirit. And the Spirit is not preoccupied with himself and his own glory; the Spirit loves the Father and the Son. Giving, not taking; other-centeredness, not self-centeredness; sharing, not hoarding are what fire the rockets of God and lie at the very center of Gods existence as Father, Son and Spirit.”
— C. Baxter Kruger —

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