This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- This Week’s Sermon


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

REPUTATION

by Shawn Drake

Colossians 1:1-8

I was watching a T.V. program while on vacation called “Rescue 911”. This program has different scenarios of emergencies that occur and then it tells of the rescue. A particular scene caught my attention.

A family was in a boat that got to spinning out of control and everyone was thrown from the boat except a 3 year old child. As the boat continued to spin round and round, people were gathered just watching the boat go in circles. There were a couple of feeble attempts to get into the boat and there was several people that was offering up suggestions; but no one could rescue the child.

As the boat continued to spin word began to spread all over the pier about the little child trapped in the boat. At this news a man yelled at his son to come help him get the boat so they could go help. As he was yelling, he noticed his 16 year old son driving on a jet-ski towards the boat. The teenager went around the boat and dangerous motor 2 times and then all of a sudden drove right up against the boat and dove into the boat. He then drove the child to shore where he brought him together with his family.

Since the beginning of humanity when Adam and Eve sinned, mankind has been spinning around in sin and no one could do anything about it. Sure there has been some who thought they had the answers; but these were just feeble attempts. When it seemed that there was nothing that could be done, God the Father sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to this earth to die on a cross so that we could be rescued from the grips of sin.

Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV)

[13]For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, [14] in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Through His victory over sin, death, and Satan; Jesus has snatched us out of the grips of sin. When no one else could do anything, Jesus Christ saved us.

I want to tell you the rest of the story about the rescued 3 year old. The family of the child welcomed the 16 year boy into their home. They treat him with great respect and honor. They never forget his birthday, they stay in communication with him, they tell other people what he did, and they never take him for granted.

Jesus died so that we could be rescued. Jesus is now at the right hand of God the Father; but He has sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in all believers which make up the church. Every member of the Body of Christ is a part of the rescued.

In the Book of Colossians, Paul was writing to a group of Christians that made up the local Church of Colosse. This Church was under attack of the Gnostics who believed that they had “the market” on God. These Gnostics were extremely arrogant and legalistic. They were also trying to shut down the local church so that their “garbage doctrine” would not be contested. How did the Church of Colosse hold up and continue on? As we answer this question we must ask ourselves the same question.

We live in a time when the church is known for being a place of fighting, lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, etc… Because of this, lost people are not drawn to the church; many saved people don’t want to be a part of the church; and the church seems to just be spinning in circles. Our reputation as a church matters to the cause of Christ.

Colossians 1:3-8

[3]We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, [4] because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints– [5] the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel [6] that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. [7] You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, [8] and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

Look at what was noticed about the Colossian Church…

Their Faith, Hope, And Love

Their faith in Jesus Christ was apparent by the way they loved.

1 John 4:7-12

[7]Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. [8] Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. [9] This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. [10] This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. [11] Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. [12] No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Do you see the correlation? If we show love to one another, our faith in Jesus Christ is obvious. This must mean that the opposite holds true. If we are constantly tearing each other down and not showing love to one another then our faith in Christ is in question.

How was this church able to stay faithful and love one another during such hard times? Verse 5 says that their faith and love sprung up from their hope of Heaven. When they were told that the Word of God says that all believers in Jesus Christ would some day go to Heaven, they believed it. This hope is what pushed them daily to faithfully serve Jesus Christ. Their motive was Jesus Christ.

May be the reason that the church of the 21st century does not see faith and love evident is because they have lost that burning hope of Heaven in their lives. Sometimes it seems that Christians are about as excited about leaving this earth and going to Heaven as they are about going to the dentist. Christians, we need to let go of the things of the world that are hold us down.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes something bad happening in our lives to get our attention. Sometimes it even takes a near death experience to cause us to remember why we are here.

Not only did Paul point out the evidence of their faith, hope, and love; but he also pointed out why it was evident.

Their Hearing And Doing

When they heard the Word of God, they didn’t just hear it with their ears, they heard it with their heart; and when they heard it they put it into action and because of that, the Gospel of Jesus Christ spread like “wildfire”.

James 1:22-25 (NIV)

[22]Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. [23] Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror [24] and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. [25] But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.

In a world where evil seems to be growing; Christians need to stop just Amening the sermon and then go home and not change anything. Myself and many other preachers are growing tired of preaching about something and then watching the opposite happen during the week. We seem to think that if we heard it then it will automatically happen. No! Just because you know what is right doesn’t mean you will do it. Christians, stop walking in the flesh and walk in the Spirit.

Let me give you an example. This week something happened that caught my attention. Generally when something is wrong at our church, I hear about it. I usually am told that I need to fix whatever the problem is; but this week things were different.

It was noticed on Wednesday night that the hymnals and Bibles in the pew were not organized. Normally this would end up into me being in trouble because something didn’t get done; but instead this person came up on her own time Thursday and went in and checked things out. Christians, if we would all spend our time doing God’s will instead of griping about who is at fault we would see a change.

It is like the people who are suing McDonald’s because they got fat. Let me give those people a little hint, if you would stop eating 2 Big Macs, 2 hot fudge Sundays, and 2 lbs. of French fries; may be you wouldn’t gain so much weight. Christians we need to be hearers and doers of the Word.

Paul pointed out why there was evidence of faith, hope, and love. He then finishes this section by saying a word about the pastor of the Colossian Church, Epaphras.

Their Faithful Minister

Paul points out why Epaphras was a faithful minister. He preached the Word. He taught them the truths of God with love. He wasn’t out playing referee for a bunch of fighting Christians. He wasn’t out mowing the grass, watching the nursery, etc…; he was studying the Word, praying, and preaching the Word.

Epaphras could lead the church. He had time to do those things that God called him to do and when he lead, the people followed.

I have heard numerous stories about how sorry preachers are doing leading their congregations; but may be its not the pastor’s leadership that is the problem. Maybe the problem is the congregation’s fellowship.

I have preached for almost 6 years 2 main themes: 1) Let’s get along and act like Christians; and 2) Start doing what God is calling you to do.

The bottom line is this: certain churches have had the reputation for fighting and bickering amongst each other. I don’t know about you; but I and God are not pleased. I don’t want this kind of reputation for our Church.

We can say things such as, “All churches have these kind of problems, this is normal”. Or we can say, “I’m not the problem, it is someone else”. You can say, “It’s not my fault”.

You know what I say, “Enough!” Either we are going to lay stagnant as individuals or we are going to stand together and watch God work. We are going to settle our disputes, we are going to get our lives right with God, and we are going to start being a vibrant Church; or we are going to sit here and devour one another and be a waste of space to the Kingdom of God.

What is it going to be?


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