The Hope of Glory
Sunday, January 21, 2018
Colossians 1:21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. 24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect (mature) in Christ. 29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. (NIV)
Verse 23 “This is the gospel…” What did he say was the gospel?
You were once alienated from God, His enemies because of your evil behavior.
NOW God reconciled (made peace with) you through the death of Jesus Christ
So that God could present you holy, without blemish, and free from accusation
IF you continue to believe and cling to the hope that God offers.
What is the condition that Paul says God requires of us in order to be presented holy, without blemish and free from accusation?
“IF” indicates a condition. This is the condition that God puts on our being presented as holy: If we continue in our faith, not moved from the hope that was presented to us when we believed we will be viewed as holy in God’s eyes. He made it possible for us to live in a relationship with Him by coming and dying in our place. I owed a debt I could not pay. He paid the debt He did not owe.
The one condition is that we continue to believe and cling to the hope that God offers. Are you clinging to the hope that God offers? Are you hanging onto faith in God to save you? We cannot save ourselves by being good. We are saved by God when we put our faith in Him and in the finished work of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Paul mentions a mystery twice in these verses. What is the mystery?
He says the mystery was kept hidden for ages, BUT, has now been revealed to “the saints”. Who are the saints?
Who are the “saints” to whom the mystery has been revealed?
The Greek word for saints is a form of the word that is translated holy. It means something or someone that is set apart for a purpose. The saints are those who are set apart for God’s purpose and use. The saints are those who are saved by God’s grace as a free gift. They are saved so they can fulfill God’s purpose and be used by Him for His glory. We are not just saved for our benefit. We are saved for the glory of God. We are saved, created in Christ Jesus, so that, through us, God can work the miracles in the world that He wants to perform.
We, having put our faith in Him, follow Him and He works through us to perform what He wants to do. What does He want to do? Save people. He wants to save your friends and your families. He will use you to accomplish His purpose as you listen to Him and follow where He leads you. He wants to love people. He wants people to love Him.
His highest commandment is to love Him. This is what He wants more than anything else.
Do you know Him? Have you accepted the truth? Have you agreed with God, that you are set apart for God’s use and His purpose? For whom are you living today? Yourself, someone else, or God?
The Mystery, the Hope of Glory, is that Christ lives in and through us. The goal is that all would be presented perfect, or I think a better translation is mature, in Christ.
There was a cost to Paul. He spoke of becoming a servant of the gospel and completing the suffering of Christ. It was costly for Paul. He paid a price to take the gospel to others around the world. Paul was writing this letter from prison. He was imprisoned because of his preaching this good news. The Roman government and the Jewish leaders did not want this good news published.
Paul said he rejoiced in what was suffered for the Christians at Colosse and in other communities where God had begun changing the world.
God’s love for people cost Our Lord Jesus Christ. He suffered for us. He left heaven to come and live among us. He was rejected and despised by the people He came to save. He suffered death on the cross.
Paul suffered because he had accepted Jesus as Lord. His life was totally changed. He began traveling around the world to convince more and more people that God loved them and He wanted to save them. He was commited to helping people to know that the Messiah had come and was offering life to them. He was imprisoned. He lost all his former friends, he was rejected. He rejoiced in the suffering he experienced for this good news that he was proclaiming to the world.
Why did Paul rejoice about suffering? He rejoiced because he loved God. He rejoiced because he loved people. He was now living to see people saved. Before he was doing what he thought was right. But now he had experienced the love and forgiveness of God. He was glad to suffer for the God who loved Him. He gladly gave up the life he knew to be a part of the glorious work of the God who cared about Him.
Paul gladly suffered for his Master because his Master had given Him hope.
God wants you to have hope. Hope comes when you accept the truth about yourself, about God, about what life is really all about.
Life is not about me. Life is about the God who Created us and loves us so much He reaches out to us. His Spirit broods over the darkness.
The darkness he broods over is the evil of those God loves who rejected Him. He broods over us when we move away from Him.
He desires for us to accept Him and love Him. He wants it so bad that He took on flesh and walked among us. He came to show us the way back to the Father. He came to pay the price we could not pay. He came to suffer so that we might have the hope of being restored to a love relationship with our Creator.
Do you have hope today? Have you accepted the free gift that God offers? Word did not like that I said, “free gift”. Word suggested that I just say “gift”. I use free gift to emphasize that this gift carries no obligation. You do not earn it. You cannot deserve it. God bears the full cost of our rejection of His love. He paid the debt we owe Him. He just wants us to come back to Him and love Him. He wants us to trust Him to lead us and guide us through life.
You do not have to earn His love. Your obedience or disobedience does not change His love for you. Your obedience is simply evidence that you have chosen to accept Him and His love for you. You love Him by obeying Him. Obedience comes after we accept His love. His love is not conditioned on our love. Our obedience is not why He loves us. It is evidence of our love for Him.
The enemy wants us to believe that God will only love us when we are perfect.
Put you trust in God. Accept the hope of glory that He freely offers. He will lead you to maturity in your relationship with Him. He will lead you to love Him and obey Him. He will help you to become the person He made you to be.
It starts when you accept that you are accepted, you are loved by the only one that really matters. Your Creator and Lord loves you.
Will you put your trust in Him?
We have hope today because God loves us and sent His Son to die for us.
Are you walking in the relationship with Him that He desires so much? Have you surrendered to Him as the Lord of your life?
The church, the called-out ones, are here to support you and walk with you as you learn to walk with Him. That is what church is all about. We, like Paul and the Colossians, are learning to live in a relationship with God. We invite you to come and go with us.
Trust Him. Trust in the Hope He offers. Surrender to Him today.