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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Being reconciled we become reconcilers. 7/25/10
Colossians 1:15-23

Introduction and Transition from last week:

As we continue our way through Apostle Paul's letter to the Colossian congregation, today we come to verses 15-23 of chapter one. Last week we spent some time considering Paul's prayer which is contained in verses 9-14 and in which he prayed four specific things for them, which we will recount here.
9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you,

A. 9b and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

B. 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

C. 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

D. 12 Giving thanks unto the Father,

Paul now lists four reasons for being thankful, now including himself in the prayer.

A. He has qualified us!
12b which hath made us/you meet (qualified, made us fit) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

B. He has rescued us
13a Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness,

C. He has moved us from dark to light
13b and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

D. He has purchased us
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood,

E. He has given us the forgiveness of sins.
14b even the forgiveness of sins:

As he finishes this part of his letter to them, it is as if he says: “You have received salvation and I will tell you who saved you. I will tell you where He was when the earth was created. I will tell you who He is with regard to God. I will tell you
who He is with regard to the world. I will tell you who He is with regard to the church—He is supreme.
He is above all things.” He is the One through whom God reconciled us to Himself and with one another.

We see this outlined in the following manner:

Jesus' Relationship to the Father
Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

KJV John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

KJV Matthew 17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

KJV Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Jesus' Relationship to Creation (Creation Mediator and Sustainer)
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:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

His Relationship to the Church (Redemption Mediator and Sustainer)
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (First born” here means that He is the first to have come from death to eternal life—to continuous immortality in the body)
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;

God made the first move, to reconcile us to Himself. He does not hold our sins against us.
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.

Paul addresses the church telling them God is no longer their enemy, but their friend. It is God's initiated action.
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Faith is a condition of entering into the experience of as well as in the continuing in this reconciled state.
23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Now that Paul has outlined the coming of the God Man Jesus Christ into the flesh in order to reconcile us unto Himself by the cross and that we receive this by faith, let us spend the rest of the time looking at the implications of this into our lives as Christians. In order to do this, we will here present four words which will guide our meditations. They are: Honeymoon, Conflict, Resolution, and Intimacy

In life we experience conflict in relationships. Left unresolved, we end up in broken relationships, broken families, broken churches, broken businesses and so forth.
The most basic thing that one can say of any relationship is that it is made up of two sinners and that there will be confict. For when two sinners get together, there is bound to be some/a lot selfishness in the forefront.

For any relationship to reach any level of intimacy, it pass through three stages in order to approach that place in which the relationship can grow in closeness and harmony. These stages could be called honeymoon, conflict, resolution and intimacy Whether it is a marital relationship, a relationship with any person, a church relationship, or a business relationship, they must all leave the idealistic honeymoon stage (1) and enter into the reality of everyday life, which often results in conflict.(2) The sooner these conflicts come in, the better, for then stage (3) can be enacted, resolution and then some level of intimacy.

The Bible always looks on differences not as reason to separate, but as an opportunity to work together to grow in the maturity of Christ. When differences which result in conflict are viewed as opportunity for growth, a marriage, a church relationship, a business relationship can and will grow into maturity, which means to view the relationship as one and not as two separate people. We know that we are understanding this maturity when we find ourselves thinking and saying ours, we, us as opposed to mine, me, or I.

Intimacy will happen when we move from the honeymoon period, to conflict and then work to resolve the conflicts. Intimacy does not depend upon the resolution of all differences, but it depends upon our willingness to work to resolve conflicts in a biblical manner.

1. Why are we like this? Why is it so hard to have close relationships?

Genesis 2: 18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

The nakedness here means that there is nothing hidden between the two and there is openness, honesty and trust between them. The Honeymoon

But...

Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons

They tried to hide themselves from each other.
1. The sewed fig leaves together. They covered themselves from each other.

8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

2. They tried to hide from God
9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

3. They tried not to take responsibility
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

In the Garden of Eden we lived in the honeymoon, upon falling into sin we entered into the conflict stage. God worked to resolve this huge conflict through his initiative:

NLT Genesis 3:15 From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. {in...: or, among all}
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
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. {having...: or, making}
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled {in...: or, by your mind in}
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

God acted to reverse the effects of the fall,through His Son and He is now at peace with his new creation in Christ.. All who receive this reality enter into true intimacy with the Father and the Son. From God's perspective we are perfect in Christ, we are His beloved sons and daughters, but from the human perpective we struggle in the actual living out of what it means to enter into communion or intimacy with another person.

1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation1 under heaven,

Therefore:
2. We do not need to remain in conflict with anyone: our spouse, someone in our church, someone in our family, someone in our business. God is friendly and gracious toward all, why shouldn't we be also? He receives all who will come to Him. Why should we not do the same? They may be unfriendly toward us, but do we have to be unfriendly and unloving toward them?

Honeymoon, Conflict, Resolution, Intimacy

God acted to remove the enmity between Him and us that came as the result of our fall into sin. When we obey the Gospel, it (believe and experience it) Christ enters into us and His will and His desires become ours, yet understanding that our selfishness is still present. He did not enter into relationship with us in order to control us or to dominate us, but to call to a relationship of love and service toward Him and His created people. He understands that many have not and will not receive His love. Will it be any different for us as His children?

We have many relationships in life. Some are close, some are more distant. Not all relationships are meant to be close, while some are. For example, marriage is an exclusive relationship between two people and no one else. Some relationships are simply working relationships or business relationships. Some relationships have more pressure because of proximity or because they are family oriented. When these conditions exist, things can be very difficult.

These type have entered into the conflict stage and often times get stuck there, for it is too painful and too hurtful to even deal with the conflict. Sometimes we think that nothing will ever change. When that happens, one of the best things to do may be to follow Paul's example of his prayer in verses 9-14 of this same chapter. We cannot force a relationship to grow closer, but we can allow the Lord through His Word to give us the grace to love that person as Christ has loved us. Let us do that, but also remain open to the Holy Spirit in our own hearts, so that our desires and expectations will reviewed in an open and honest manner before God.

Let us ask ourselves some questions.

Do we have desires and wishes for a relationship which we are in, our marital relationship, a special friend, a family member, a church relationship, a business relationship?

Have these desires and wishes become expectations without communicating openly and honestly about them in an attempt to resolve the differences?

Have these desires and wishes become demands, which always results from desires and expectations that are selfishly oriented? If so, we are not on the road to true intimacy with our loved one, but a path of loneliness, anger, frustration and distance.

Lord, thank you for your grace toward us today. We have so many challenges and problems in our relationships. Help us to understand and experience in a greater manner of your heart towards us, in that you not only wanted to fix our relationship toward you, but you did something about it. You sent Your Son at a cost that we cannot comprehend, but it was a cost that required the blood of your Son to be shed to the point of death because of sin. Father, how do we understand this kind of love? Help us to do so. Lord, open our eyes and hearts wider to the reality of what You has done for us through Your Son. Yes, In Adam we lived in the honeymoon, but conflict came, You worked to resolve the conflict so that we may live in intimacy with you in oneness in the Body of Jesus Christ. May your grace be upon us today, for sake of the kingdom of your dear Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 25 Jul 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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Help is on the way Isaiah 40.1.11
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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