Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Living in the Victory of Christ 6.28.2015

May the grace and peace from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you today, Amen.

Colossians 1:24-2:15

Today we continue our study in the letter that Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians, a message which will not be a verse by verse one, but will focus on the "bottom line' of this letter:

The Battle Has Been Won through Christ.

The Victory is Ours in Christ

Let's Celebrate and Proclaim This Victory in Christ.

As we celebrate our 239th year of freedom as a nation in these United States of America, we thank God for all the freedoms that are ours that continue to allow us live in peace, in safety and in harmony with our neighbors. May we thank the Giver of these freedoms as we gather to celebrate with family and friends on July 4th. Just as we live in freedom from oppression from foreign powers, likewise we live in the freedom that Jesus Christ has won for us from the power of darkness and which freedom He desires that we would always continue in.

From prison, Apostle Paul wrote words of truth, of encouragement, of warning and of inspiration to the Christians in the congregation at Colosse. (Located in modern day Turkey) He had heard from their minister, Epaphras, that looming on the horizon were threats to their life in the freedom that Christ had won for them and which they lived in through faith. Even though the freedom that we enjoy as a citizen of the USA and the freedom that we enjoy in Christ as a citizen of heaven may seem to be separate realms, they are not, for all of us who live in the freedom of Christ are enlightened and empowered to live as citizens of both kingdoms; our heavenly kingdom and the country which we live in. Please read on, and notice by whom and by what means ALL this spiritual freedom has been attained for all.

Colossians 1:15 He (Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things were created through him and for him.
17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Why was he writing about the One who is first born (the original) of all creation, who created all things that have been created, who is the head of the church, in whom all the fulness of God dwells by God's good pleasure, and who reconciled all things to Himself? And for us, what meaning does it have today?

In that culture, people did not blame others for their problems, but they blamed supernatural beings who were responsible for things going wrong in people's lives. The principalities and powers in the invisible world were connected to the events that happened on earth and so there was a constant awareness that these gods needed to be appeased in order to earn their favor. In many people's minds, there was a distinct connection between those unseen gods and the events in their lives on earth.

Politicians blame the economy for people being out of work and attempt to fix it. World leaders cannot stop the bloodshed from happening and continuing. We blame others for our bad circumstances, and refuse to take responsibility for our attitudes and actions. World leaders are pushing for climate control to ward off our planet's extinction. It is not often that we will admit that our sinful hearts are the source many of our problems, both individually and nationally, and instead of examining our own hearts and actions, external means will be offered as the way to control and stop the violence and bloodshed that is on a rampage in today's world.

Why did Paul say what he did in light of the powers that people believed to be responsible for the problems of their world?

He emphasizes thankfulness, and the main reason for it is: (1:13) He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, (1:14) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is writing that because of our sinful human hearts evil exists and continues to war against the kingdom of light within us and outside of us: the rule and reign of God. It is only through Christ that anyone can be delivered from the powers of the world, the powers of darkness. God has delivered the world, but only those who believe and trust Him for that reality experience the deliverance, and therefore the power to live in the freedom of love and service to all of mankind.

But what powers has He delivered us from?

All things were made by Him.
KJV Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

We as humans gave up our privilege and responsibilty to manage the world and handed it over to the powers of darkness. When we refuse to use our human sexuality to God's glory, we are essentially handing it over to the powers. When money manages and controls us, we give it over to Mammon. When this happens, humans get crushed in the process.

In chapter 2, Paul is telling the Colossians that since they belong to Christ, they do not need to submit to the powers of darkness. We ask ourselves: Why do nations war against each other? Why does one go into a church, sit in a bible study for awhile, and then proceed to kill most of the people attending the bible study. They are yet in the grips of the powers of darkness. Jesus totally changed the way that humans are to live. Instead of serving money, he said that we cannot serve both God and Mammon. He taught that if you live by the sword you will die by the sword. The powers said that Caesar was the Lord of the world, but He said that God was reigning over the world in His kingdom.

What did the powers do to Jesus? What do the powers to do anyone who stand in their way today? They crush those who are in the way, just as they did Jesus, thinking foolishly that they now have the upper hand. But wait....

2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Instead of the powers crushing Christ, He crushed them. Even more, He has reconciled the powers of darkness unto Himself, with the hope that they would recognize of that which He has done for all, as well as for them.

1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

God intends for all powers to serve him and not to work against him.

All the powers have been defeated at the cross, and they have no right to dictate our lives so that we would live in the power of lust, the power of greed, the power of anger and so on. These were all defeated at the cross. They have no rights over us. The Battle is won.

We are called to thanksgiving, where we stand at last in the truly human relationship to our Creator and the world; and we are called to thanksliving, where we behave as the free subjects of the true King, and we owe the powers nothing at all. There is now only one Power we are to follow, and that Power has a human face, a face once crowned with thorns. We serve Him and in serving Him, we serve all our neighbors.

How do we live in the Victory of Christ today?

When we say the Lord's Prayer: We are saying that Jesus is Lord and that powers are not.

When we say grace at a meal, we are saying that Jesus is Lord and that the world and all that it offers is His and that they (powers of darkness) have no independent authority.

When we celebrate Holy Communion (Eucharist-thanksgiving) we are celebrating His victory in a way which we remember that God is God, Jesus is His visible image and that He has defeated the invisible powers of evil but yet which still enslave and crush humans today. Eucharist means thanksgiving and thanksgiving for what Christ has done for us is the highest existence we can ever possess. We are called to celebrate and to broadcast the victory of the cross as we work in our vocations. (our individual Let us not forget that the victory is won.

The Battle Has Been Won through Christ.

The Victory is Ours in Christ

Let's Celebrate and Proclaim This Victory in Christ.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 28 Jun 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns