Green Valley Sermons

Who Has The Final Word?

Sunday, February 4, 2018        

Colossians 2:8-15


Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man (or woman),

but in the end it leads to death. (NIV)


If I cannot live by what seems right to me, what do I live by? These two proverbs say exactly the same thing. The very same wording. The way that seems right, in the end leads to death.


Words from a marriage ceremony to the groom: Early in your marriage you will find it difficult to get the last word in any discussion. With time, though, you will learn how to always get the last two words in every discussion. Just make sure the words are Yes dear.


A way that seems right, but ends in death. Who has the final word?


If you talk enough, people will eventually quit listening. Sometimes you can win a disagreement just by hanging in there longer than anyone else is willing to. Does that prove you to be the best authority in a given situation?


Who has the final word?


There is a way that seems right to people, but it ends in death. So the question I would ask is, what way does not lead to death?


There are some pretty smart people in the world. There are some really good people in the world, inside the church and outside the church. There are people in the world that anyone would think are good people. Are their lives leading to death?


Listen to Paul’s words in Colossians 2, beginning in verse 8:


Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. (NIV)


What is Paul saying here? It seems to me he is saying he does not want us, his readers, to be taken captive by the wisdom of people, our own or anyone else’s. He does want us to be taken captive according to Christ.


He doesn’t want us to be caught up in living solely by what we think is right and good. Logic will not get us where Paul, and by extension, God wants us to go. Living by what seems right and good to us is not good enough.


If I cannot live by what seems right to me, what do I live by? Paul wants us to allow ourselves to be taken captive by God through Jesus Christ. Read on:


9 For in Him (Christ) all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form, (repeat it) 10 and in Him you have been made complete, (NIV)


We are not complete unless we are in Him. We are not what God made us to be unless we are in Him.


10b and He is the head over all rule and authority; (NIV)


There is no higher authority. He is over ALL rule and authority. What do we live by if it is not good enough to live by humanity’s highest moral standards and our best wisdom? We must place ourselves under the authority of Christ. The fullness of Deity, the fullness of God dwells in Him. We must submit to Him. We must surrender to Him. He is the standard by which we live. We follow Him. He IS LORD!


11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. (NIV)


Who has the final word?


Jesus disarmed the rulers and authorities, He triumphed over them.


Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man,

but in the end it leads to death. (NIV)


This does not make sense. It is not logical. Why would God judge us for doing the best we know how to do? Because God wants more than good people. (Slide 11) He wants people who will put their trust in Him! He is looking for people who will trust Him!


Jeremiah 17:5-10

5 Thus says the Lord, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord. 6 For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant.”

7 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. 8 For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; Its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."

9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

10 "I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve." (NIV)


There are 2 types of people in the world: Those who trust God and those who refuse to trust God.


Our deeds are based on what we believe to be true. We can choose to believe God or we can choose not to believe Him.


Our thoughts and our decisions are taking us toward God or away from him.


Surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is to die to self. It is to stop living by what we think to be true and living in a relationship with God. The wisdom of the Bible is not enough. The Spirit must help us to understand what God wants as He leads us in understanding what has been written in the Bible.


God said, through Jeremiah, “9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” 10 "I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve." (NIV)


The best of human wisdom is not enough, because without the Spirit of God, the Presence of God within us, our hearts will deceive us. Only God can understand us. Only God can help us to become the people He made us to be. It is as we surrender to Him that we become the best that we can be. He wants us to live with Him, not just for Him.


God loves me and He is my Lord! This is not just a great line to keep us orthodox. This is the foundation of all that we believe. This is the foundation of our relationship with God. He loves us so much He sent His Only Begotten Son that whoever believes in Him would not die, but would have eternal life.


We want to think that we are good people. We want to think we can be good enough for God to love us on our own. God does not love us because we are good. We are only truly good when we quit trying to prove to Him and to ourselves and to other people that we are good. We are only truly good when we surrender to the love and grace of God and accept that He loves us in spite of the fact that too often we keep Him at arms length and would just as soon He just show up in the times we give to Him.


But God loves us anyway, and continues to try to get us to accept His love. When we do, we can finally begin to love Him, accept Him as the final authority in our lives that He already is.


Who has the final word?


Are we working at allowing Him into the mundane and ordinary days of our lives? Are we working at recognizing that He is with us when we are distracted by the many things that distract us from listening to Him and following Him wherever He leads.


He is Lord and He loves us!


Who has the final word in your life?


The certificate of debt that you owed to God has been canceled. Are you living as if you have been set free or are you still trying to prove yourself worthy of God’s love? Are you still trying to pay off the debt you owe?


He loves you, just as you are. He wants to start wherever you are and walk with you, lead you to quiet streams, places of rest and peace.


God’s peace settles over us and is a reality to us when we are trusting Him. When we think we must help Him, we muddy the waters and get in His way.


Who has the final word?

You may say it is Jesus, but is it always? Are you working at making it true more and more? Are you seeking Him? Are you continuing to surrender more and more of yourself to His control?


Who has the final word in your life?