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Author:Rev. Ted Gray
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Congregation:First United Reformed Church
 Oak Lawn, Illinois
 www.oaklawnurc.org/
 
Title:Professing Christ as Lord and Savior
Text:Colossians 2:6-7 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Running the race
 
Preached:04/19/2015
Added:2015-07-17
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


 

Pastor Ted Gray
04/19/15 – a.m.
 
Professing Christ as Lord and Savior”
Colossians 2:6-7

Most of us have grown up in a Christian family, but I wonder how many of us fully fathom what a blessing that is! Growing up in a Christian family is a blessing so great that we really cannot comprehend how great it is in this life.

We have heard a profession of faith this morning by someone who grew up in a Christian family. Not only do we know her mother and her father as godly parents, and her sister and brothers as godly young people, but we are also blessed to have her grandparents in the church, and her uncle and her aunt. That is a truly a great blessing!

And our text refers to that twice. In verse 6 it says, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him. How did you received Christ Jesus as Lord, Becky? Ultimately, it is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone as the Holy Spirit has given you that gift of faith through new birth from above.

But the Holy Spirit uses means to an end. He works through the Scriptures, and it is through the Scriptures which your parents taught you from a young age, that led you to salvation. You also saw the Scripture lived out in the lives of your parents, your sister and your brothers, your grandparents, your uncles and your aunt. What a great blessing it is to see the Holy Spirit use a Christian family to develop a profession of faith in a young person!

Verse 7 also makes reference to that when Paul tells us to be strengthened in the faith as you were taught. In the context of the Colossian church he is referring to the teaching of Epaphras, who is described in Colossians 1:7 as a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf.

What a blessing for you, Becky, that you had a godly family who taught you about the Lord and a godly family who put you under the instruction of faithful ministers. Our church is 100 years old this year, and as we look back over the century we see that God has been faithful in every year, indeed in every day and every moment of the century, for He is always faithful. And one of the ways that God has been faithful to our church is by giving us a long line of faithful ministers, who, like Epaphras, have sought to properly present God’s word to the congregation.

So as we rejoice in the profession of faith that we have heard this morning, we also look back, with joy to see how God in His grace works by His Holy Spirit through His word as it is taught in the home, in church, and also for you, Becky, in Christian school.

A God-centered education is often likened to the third rung on a stool. A God centered education, whether in a Christian school or in a Christian home, is also such a great blessing. If anyone of us saw a stool by a kitchen counter that only had two legs, we wouldn’t try to sit on that stool!  In much the same way, raising our children without a God centered education can be so very detrimental to them. And that is not to say that some in public schools are not dedicated Christians who by their lives and words spread the light of Christ in the darkness of public education. By God’s grace that does also happen.

But as we see God’s work in your life, Becky, we are thankful to see the influence that God has used to give you the desire to publicly profess your faith: the influence of a godly home, a faithful church, and the blessing of a Christian education.  Using those influences in your life the Holy Spirit has brought you to this day of a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ.

Your profession of faith is a profession that you take Jesus Christ, not just as your Savior, but as your Lord. Verse 6 makes that clear when it says, So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord continue to live in Him.

There is a large segment of the visible church that says we can take Jesus as Savior and then later accept him as Lord. But the Bible is clear that if we take Jesus as Savior we must take Him also as our Lord.

By your profession of faith you acknowledge that God enabling you, you will make Him the Lord of your life. He is the Lord not only on Sunday in church, but throughout the week, in school and at work. In your friendships. In courtship. In whatever God brings in His providence in the future, He is to be the Lord of your life.

By professing your faith in Him you also acknowledge that you will submit to Him as the Lord of your life. You acknowledge that doing His will be more important than doing your will. That, in fact, you will make the goal of your life to know His will and submit to it.

Verse 6 and 7 make reference to the past and present, but both verses also look to the future. As they do so they give us two analogies of what it is like to live out our profession of faith.  One analogy is of a tree which has very deep roots and the other analogy is that of a building which is built up. The last part of verse 6 and the first part of verse 7 say: Continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him.

Deep Roots

I know that at least one of your brothers, Becky, worked for a tree service and maybe both of them did. I’m sure they can relate to this analogy that the apostle uses, and I’m sure that all of us can also see the importance of deep roots. Whenever a tornado or hurricane comes, such as the tornado which ravaged the town of Fairdale a couple weeks ago, we are reminded not only of the power of the storm, but also the strength of those trees that survived the ferocious tunnel of wind.

The trees that survived are invariably the tress that have deep roots. If you are to continue in the profession of faith that you have made this morning, then you also need deep roots. The same is true for each one of us who at one time stood where you stood this morning to publicly profess our faith. In order to continue to live in Christ we must, as vs 7 says, be rooted and built up in Him.

Jesus used the same analogy in a parable that is recorded in Matthew 13. You may recall that Jesus told about a farmer who went out and sowed his seed. Some of the seed fell on the path and the birds snatched it away. Other seed fell among thistles and was choked out by the weeds. Other seed flourished and sprang up quickly into a plant, but when the sun came up, Jesus explained, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

His disciples asked Jesus to further explain the meaning of the parable. He explained the meaning this way. In Matthew 13:20 He said, “The one who receives the seed that fell on rocky places is the person who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word they quickly fall away.”

He pointed out that the same was true for seed that landed amid the thorns. Jesus said, “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” (v. 22).

But in that parable Jesus also spoke about seed that fell on good, fertile ground. That seed developed deep roots; that seed produced a crop yielding 100, 60 or 30 times what was sown, Jesus explained.

In your future, Becky, we as a congregation pray for you and all of our covenant young people, that God will bless you with health, happiness, stability in an instable world and all the other blessings that all of us would like in our lives.

But even as we pray for these blessings we recognize that troubles come into every person’s life. We recognize that this world is no friend to God’s grace and we know that the devil is always aiming his arrows at Christians. And we know that each one of us, because of the sinful nature that lives within us, has a natural propensity, even an evil desire, for sin.

Because of that we realize that in this world we will have trouble, just as Jesus Himself declared. And that’s why it’s so important to have deep roots. Without them we get tossed around just like those trees in the tornado at Fairdale. Without deep spiritual roots we become, in the words of Ephesians 4:14, blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

How do we gain the deep roots? It is through the consistent and faithful use of what we call the means of grace: the study of God’s word, the proper use of the sacraments, prayer, and faithfulness in worship in a Bible believing church.

Personal devotions, rather than being a quick exercise at the end of a meal or the close of the day, become the focus of each new day, as we spend the best moments of the day in God’s Word.

Fellowship with God’s people helps build strong roots, too, as we declare with the Psalmist, I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord” (122:1). And, “Better is one day in Your courts, O Lord,  than 1000 elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked” (84:10).

Prayer becomes our most important communication, even more frequent than Facebook and other social media. We grow deep roots when we pray fervently and frequently to the Lord. And we grow deep roots through the proper use of the sacraments, as the cleansing work of Christ is signed and sealed to us through them. 

Christ, the Firm Foundation

Verse 7 not only speaks about deep roots but it also speaks about being built up in Christ. The apostle uses the analogy of a building. Just as a building is put together as a solid structure and built up to its required height, so we as believers are to be built up in the faith that we profess.

Jesus also spoke a parable about that. It is a familiar parable even to the youngest children among us. It is familiar because you young children sing that song about a man who built his house on the sand. When the winds came and the rain poured down that house fell with a great crash. But you also sing about the man who built his house on the rock. It withstood the wind and the rain and the strength of the storms.

That song, of course, is based on the parable that Jesus told in Matthew 7 about wise and foolish builders. In Matthew 7:24 Jesus says, “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.... - But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand....

We build our house, so to speak, the same way that we gain deep roots: Faithfulness in personal devotions, the study of God’s word.  Faithfulness in prayer. Faithfulness in the public worship of the Lord with brothers and sisters in Christ. The proper use of the sacraments.  All these are ways that God gives us to build our lives on the Rock of Christ Jesus. Through these means we are strengthened in the faith that we were taught and which we profess. 

Not only is our profession of faith made public to those in the church, but by our lives and by our words we are to profess our faith to those in the world in which we live. It’s not just the pastor, the elders, or the evangelism committee who are to witness to others. Each one of us is to be a witness, professing our faith as opportunity is put before us.

When we publicly profess our faith as a witness to the world, we are also built up and strengthened in our faith. Paul wrote to Philemon, I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ (v. 6).

It is when we witness to others that we grow spiritually ourselves. By witnessing to others we are forced to examine why we believe what we believe about Christ and how to articulate that to others. Through that process we gain deeper roots and we are built more firmly on the foundation of Jesus Christ as we are reminded of the greatness of the blessing of salvation that we have. 

Regardless of what God in His sovereign grace does with our witness, whether He uses it to bring salvation or to harden, we will be strengthened in our faith when we publicly profess our faith – when we witness – to other people.

Overflowing with Thankfulness

When we truly see the greatness of the gift of salvation, then we cannot help but overflow with thankfulness. That is the last thing that Paul speaks of here in verse 6 and 7, So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

On this very special day all of us are so thankful for God’s gift of saving grace in your life, Becky. We are thankful for the way your parents raised you in the fear and admonition of God’s name. We are thankful for the influence your family, of church, and God centered education. We are thankful for the confidence that you, along with all of us who have professed faith in Jesus from the heart have, the confidence expressed in Philippians 1:6,  Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

And because of that, all of us who have professed faith in Christ have great reason to overflow with thanksgiving. Even when the troubles of life come our way and when the devil attacks and we see our own sin in the light of the law. Even in those times we who truly know Christ by saving faith have a peace which surpasses all understanding and a joy unspeakable in our heart.

But to have that joy unspeakable, that life of thankfulness, we must always move forward in our spiritual growth. Our spiritual roots will not grow deeper and our spiritual house will not be made more solid unless we continually grow in our knowledge, love and service to God.

In other words, we must always move forward in our spiritual growth and daily walk with the Lord. The ESV translation of the Bible gets this across as it uses the original Greek analogy in verse 6. It says, Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.

The Bible likens our profession of faith, and our life as Christians, to a walk. We seek to walk with God as Enoch walked with God, in close harmony, with the same purpose and destination, and in agreement with one another.

The Bible also likens our life as professing Christians to the life of a runner.  Scripture frequently likens our spiritual growth to the races that were held in the first century. For instance, Hebrews 12:1-3: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

All of us who profess Christ as Lord must always move forward in our spiritual growth and daily walk with the Lord, walking with Him and running the race with perseverance. Sometimes a profession of faith is regarded as the end of the race. Catechism is done. The result of faithful teaching by parents, the church and school is over and finished, so it is presumed.

But in actuality, our profession of faith is the beginning. Your walk with God takes on a fresh start with a public profession of faith in Him. The race marked out for us to run is most clearly seen when we publicly profess our faith before others.  

May God bless you, Becky, and all of us who have professed faith in Him, to walk faithfully with Him always, running the race with perseverance as we build our lives on the solid Rock of Jesus Christ. May verse 6 and 7 speak to your life, Becky, and to each one of our lives: So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Amen!

 

- bulletin outline -

 

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. - Colossians 2:6-7
 
“Professing Christ as Lord and Savior”
Colossians 2:6-7
 
I. All who truly profess Christ as Lord will continue to live in Him by:
     1) Growing deeper with spiritual roots (7a)
 
 
 
 
 
 
     2) Being built up, like a house on a firm foundation (7b)
 
 
 
 
 
 
     3) Being strengthened in the faith which we were taught (7c,d)
 
 
 
 
 
 
     4) Overflowing with thankfulness (7e)
 
 
 
 
 
 
II. Application: Living out our profession of faith is likened to a walk, (6, ESV) and to a run (Hebrews 12:1-3). In other words, we must always move forward in
    our spiritual growth and daily walk with the Lord.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
04/19/2015 – a.m.

 

 

 

 

 




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 04/1, Rev. Ted Gray

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