I’m preaching through Colossians. I don’t often post my sermon manuscript but this was from last week, thought it might encourage you today
Only Jesus #9
Only One Measure
Therefore – I’ve been thinking about that word a lot this week.
Actually, I’ve had that word on my mind for the last month. That’s where we left off in Colossians. And so as we finished by talking about the Cross. And then we moved into the Mount of Transfiguration …Therefore…
And then Luke 9:23 if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me …Therefore…
And then Jesus coming down the Mount of Olives, entering Jerusalem by the Eastern Gate, on the back of a donkey, they asked “who is this” and the answer “This is Jesus” …Therefore…
And we hear the words, “It is Finished” on the cross, paid in full, mission accomplished, and “he is not here”, leave the dead places … “He has Risen, just as he said” …Therefore…
It means, “for that reason, consequently”.
It’s just a little conjunction in the Greek, oun – but you perhaps have heard the saying, “if you see, ‘therefore’ stop and look to see what is it there fore.”
And Unknown Poet wrote these words:
The tragedy of life is not death,
But what we let die inside us.
Decide to be happy,
Render others happy,
Proclaim your joy.
Love passionately your miraculous life:
Do not listen to promises;
Do not wait for a better world;
Be grateful for every moment of life.
Switch on the positive buttons in yourself;
Those marked optimum, serenity,
Confidence, positive thinking.
Love, pray, and thank God every day.
Meditate, smile, laugh, whistle, sing
Look with fascination at everything.
Fill your lungs and heart with liberty.
Be yourself, fully and immensely.
Act like a (king or) queen unto death.
Feel God in your body, and mind,
Heart and soul, and be
Convinced of eternal life.
It is such a common word, though rather small, in the Greek, but it is NOT insignificant.
There are many wonderful “therefore” verses in scripture.
One of my favorite ones is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 which reminds that Christians don’t grieve like those without hope, because we believe that Jesus died and rose, and so we believe that those who die in the Lord will come with him one day… when the trumpet sounds and the Lord comes, we will be caught up together meeting them in the sky, and that we will ALWAYS be WITH the Lord.
“Therefore, encourage one another with these words.”
“Therefore” means we Look Back to what WAS, and Look Forward to what WILL be…
So, going back to Colossians what we have already seen?
Jesus is the image of the invisible God.
Everything was created by him – Everything
By Him all things hold together – ALL Things
He is the Head of the Church.
He is the Firstborn from the dead.
He has made peace for us with God, by the blood shed on the cross.
We were alienated from God, but IN Christ, we are reconciled.
And we will be presented Holy and Blameless to God.
Then in Chapter 2, Paul says that the cross marked us as belonging to him. The cross erased our debt, and Disarmed our Spiritual Enemies, stole their weapons, and disgraced them publicly. He has triumphed over our enemies and leads us in a victory procession …
READ Colossians 2:16-23
The rest of this letter is all about the “Therefore”
– How THEREFORE shall we live?
For that reason –
There are many things we do “for a reason”. There are plenty of things we do in the church, or in our religious expression, the decisions we make, “for a reason”. The question is, is it for a GODLY Reason – does it MATTER? It is for the Right Reason.
Because of the Cross
Because of the Sacrifice
Because of the Cost
Because of the LOVE – given and returned …
1. Be Judged By Substance
Remember our title is ONLY ONE MEASURE
– in the church we are often using measures with no substance. Oh, they are traditions, or preferences, even personal convictions, but is there TRUE SUBSTANCE?
Only One Measure
Don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink, by festivals, new moons, or sabbath.
These battles were going on in the church. There were Jews, now Christian, but they wanted the Gentiles to follow their Old Covenant traditions. They wanted them to follow food laws, or festivals, or worship on the Sabbath as well as the new practice of worshiping on “The Lord’s Day.”
But those things weren’t normal for the Gentiles. Nor were they commanded by Christ. The Jews were offended if the Gentiles bought meat in their markets that often had been sacrificed to idols. It created tension and troubles.
This wasn’t unique to Colossae, just like it isn’t unique today to one church or region.
Romans 14:3 (CSB)
3 One who eats must not look down on one who does not eat, and one who does not eat must not judge one who does, because God has accepted him.
Romans 14:17 (CSB)
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
WHY are we NOT judged by these traditions?
V17 – those things were shadows –
Hebrews 10:1 (CSB)
1 Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the reality itself of those things, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year.
Shadows … form but no substance. Action but no power
Shadows don’t have cheering sections
Shadows shouldn’t be worshiped
Tradition is wonderful, in its place; but we must keep our eyes set on the SUBSTANCE
Traditions don’t make us perfect, they just tell a story.
What did Paul say in Romans 14:3? It’s not about food and drink, “because God has Accepted You.” Do you see the underlying thing? Often times we are busy checking someone else’s boxes, what THEY call substance.
Don’t do that, because In Christ, we are already accepted.
The CROSS makes us acceptable, NOT the songs we sing, or the Bible translation we use, or the service schedule.
No, Jesus makes us acceptable.
Romans 14:17 says the Kingdom… is NOT eating and drinking but righteousness, peace, and joy…
I have news for us … When we All Get To Heaven … there won’t be hymnals, or bulletins. There won’t be video projectors either…
But there WILL be:
Righteousness – given by Christ…
Peace with God – acquired by Christ…
– and that joy will flow into authentic worship, new songs as well as old, silence, shouting, celebration, and great gratitude. The only tears will be tears of Joy and Gratitude.
Paul is saying, “Don’t let anyone steal your Joy” by judging you without substance.
You’ve heard me say, “happiness is about what happens to you, but Joy is about what is INSIDE.” And someone recently asked me, “then what’s inside, where’s the Joy?”
RIGHT there in Romans 14:17 – Joy in the Holy Spirit
When you gave your heart to Christ, hearing the gospel, believing, you were then given the Holy Spirit. (Eph.1:13-14)
What did Jesus say The Spirit would do, John 16:13-15?
He declares what is to come…
He takes from Jesus and gives to us…
He reminds us that Jesus Christ died to make us righteous, to give us peace with God, and Jesus is going to come again and will fulfill every promise…
Therefore – Be Joyful, Be Faithful to Substantive Worship v18
Let no one condemn you because they delighting in ascetic worship practices and visions etc.
You see while we have the traditionalist that wants to pull you into their tradition; we also have the experiential worshipper that feels they are more spiritual than you because they have special experiences.
Sometimes our “therefore” is that we have an image of the way it used to be, when it was best, or that special “high”, and we long for THAT experience.
Oh, it’s fine to look back, but we don’t need to try and recreate the past, or even the special, not even the great move of God …
ONLY ONE MEASURE…
Therefore, remember the past and consequently move toward the future
What is our future? A vast multitude around the throne of God from every people group, worshiping in Heaven. Revelation 5, 7, 9
Therefore, I want our worship, our service, our church today, our judgment of authentic to be People coming to know Jesus, made right with God, on the way to Glory.
Notice there in vv18-19 … when we hold to tradition or to special experience, we take our eyes off Christ, we hold on to the empty and not to the substance. We get puffed up with empty notions of what is spiritual, and so we have in essence taken the Head, Christ, Off the Body. And we end up with a Headless Church. That’s a monster, a freak, with no power and no life.
Judge by Substance and be
2. Free from Bondage
Paul shifts from talking about those who judge us, to those of us who ALLOW ourselves to stay bound to that empty judgment.
Why do you submit V20 if you died with Christ?
Romans 6 talks about what the Cross did for us.
Romans 6:4 Therefore … wait – backup…
Romans 6 paints this picture.
6:1 – should we continue bound to enlarge grace?
6:2 – absolutely not!
6:3 – we were baptized into Christ, baptized into death
6:4 – Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death … raised to Life … so we may walk in the newness of life
6:17-18 – thank Godthat you used to be a slave to sin, but you have been SET FREE
Romans 6:22–23 (CSB)
22 But now, since you have been set free from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification—and the outcome is eternal life! 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Free from Sin, a gift of grace … free from The Law …
Therefore, don’t live as if you belong to the world.
Don’t think that you can set rules, “don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch”
V22 all of these will perish
Human commands and doctrines will die WITH us
V23 self-made religions, false humility, not of any value.
And in all of this is the implied “therefore”
Judged by Substance
Free from Bondage
Therefore, we have
3. ONE MEASURE – Only Jesus
Live to Christ
Romans 6:8–11 (CSB)
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him, 9 because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over him. 10 For the death he died, he died to sin once for all time; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
In Christ we didn’t die to be covered in dirt … we die to Rise to LIFE and GLORY
1 Peter 2:24 (CSB)
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Oh my my my … when I typed in that verse the other day, tears welled in my eyes.
ONE MEASURE … ONE GOAL
Jesus, Beaten, Mocked, Beard Plucked, Cross carried through the streets of Jerusalem, Arms stretched wide, Thorn-crowned head, Nailed to THE CROSS – but that wasn’t the hardest. The hardest was He BORE my sin, he became sin …
SO THAT – YES – SO THAT – WE MIGHT LIVE – FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS
Galatians 2:20 (CSB)
20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I like the KJV – I am crucified with Christ – NEVERTHELESS
But The YLT – says, with Christ I have been crucified, and live no more do I, and Christ doth live in me; and that which I now live in the flesh – in the faith I live of the Son of God, who did love me and did give himself for me
Oh that’s Beautiful … because he DID die for me … because he did LOVE me …
I Live To Him
I LIVE IN Christ
Christ IN ME
I Live FOR Christ
That is … we live with our eyes set on the KINGDOM of God – the Kingdom that HAS Come, the Kingdom that IS Coming.
What was Jesus’ first message?
Repent for the Kingdom has come NEAR
– Stop going that way, turn around – Here It IS
Seeing what he has done for us, and what will be given TO us
Live For His Glory
How did he teach us to pray?
Our Father your name is Honored and Holy
Your Kingdom come, your will be done
On earth AS it is IN Heaven
The “Therefore” in this life is living like a Citizen of Heaven, while we are foreigners, aliens, on earth.
Let go of the temporary stuff, live toward glory
Live for His Passion
– what’s his passion?
God so loved the world … that he gave his son … that WHOSOEVER
Let LOVE Govern our Lives … We are not driven by Tradition. We are not driven by Rules. We are not hunting some spiritual feeling, some great spiritual high we had or even heard about. No, Loved… We Love in Grateful Obedience. Remembering what he HAS done, Realizing what WILL be… We Love toward the glory that is to come.
Ana Draper wrote …
I Was Loved, Therefore I Am
I was loved, therefore I am
And in being loved, I am treasured
When I pealed away my layers,
And all that was left was my essence,
The bareness of me,
I am STILL loved.
I was loved, therefore I am,
And in being loved, I was able to grow.
In my mistakes, held
In my successes, celebrated,
I was always loved
I was loved, therefore I am,
And in being loved, I learned to love.
In the sun-filled day,
In the ecstasy of the night,
I was loved and loved others.
To be loved is all you need.
I was loved, and so will I always be.
– Ana Draper –
God so loved the world – he gave his only son … that whoever believes in him will have everlasting life – John 3:16
This is how we know what love is, Jesus laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers … 1 John 3:16
I was loved … THEREFORE
I was loved … Therefore – LOVE is my Only Measure
You were loved
You ARE loved
You WILL BE loved
Jesus died on the cross to defeat the sin that destroys … because he loved you
He is preparing a place for all who will receive that love and live in it.
Therefore – Receive it, and Love him in Return, Live according to it, TODAY
I look Back, Yesterday, the cross gave us a reason for Hope
I Look Forward, Tomorrow, Jesus will come Just as God has promised and Provided.
Therefore, Right now … we are Living In the “THEREFORE”
We call it today …