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Tim Hawkins is a Christian comedian who often uses church stories for his routines and in his concerts. He says, “I'm coming off a few years of backsliding. Every night it was drunkenness and fighting and foul language. Finally I said, ‘Ya know what? I’m quitting church softball!’”Very funny! Right? Truth is, sometimes the world can’t always tell the difference between believers and non-believers. Shouldn’t there be more of a difference? Yes! Of course. But often, there is very little. The apostle Paul felt that since we are “in” Christ, it should change us completely. In fact, the Book of Colossians is about just that. Colossians is one of Paul’s shortest letters. Paul encourages a young church to treasure their possession of being “in” Christ and uses that phrase several times. He encourage us to keep our faith “in” Christ, remain “in” Christ, mature “in” Christ, be made alive “in” Christ, and on and on. Today, many priorities (even important and good ones) compete for our focus and attention. The urgency of living “in” the here and now all too often trumps the urgency of living “in” Christ. Paul’s letter to the Colossians presents Christ as the Creator, Christ as Ruler, and Christ as the all-sufficient answer. This letter will help us discover how Christ should be the ultimate pursuit in our life. Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? I’ve made them before. I’ve tried to keep them. Short end of the story, I didn’t. I wanted something more from the year and didn’t always see it through. What was your New Year’s Resolution? Number one for most people, year after year, is losing weight. We all know what that means! That means back to the gym. That means diets. That means more activity and less food. It means no late night snacking. That means less carbs and less sugars and less food. It means discipline and self-control (two things I seem to be lacking)! It basically means an entire life-change. Throw out the old and bring in the new. Let’s lose that weight. Right? Wrong! The vast majority of people fail in their New Year’s resolutions within the first week. We all know what usually happens. We’ll cheat. We’ll put it off. We’ll start tomorrow. And before we know it, another year is past with no ground claimed. Could I have done it?

Yes! Should I have done it? Yes! Would I do it? There’s the question. Am I ready to get serious? What Paul does with his letter to the Colossians is a lot like the gym trainer with an eager student. He pushes and pulls; exhorts and encourages. Resolutions aside, Paul’s training and advice is only helpful for the person who is ready to get serious about their spiritual journey. False teachers were trying to chip away at the deity and authority of Christ by convincing the church at Colossae that Christ wasn’t enough. So, while Paul was under house arrest awaiting trial in Rome, he wrote the letter of Colossians, giving us the single most concentrated teaching on the theology of “Christ” we’ve ever known. Jesus is greater than everything else. He is supreme. He is sufficient. He is the one who has saved us from sin and changed us into new, living creatures. We have a new life because of Him. Jesus is greater. Starting in January and through the end of February, we will study the Book of Colossians during our sermon time. This will be a deep study for some but exactly what we need as we start our new year. This letter calls us all to a little higher ground in our spiritual journey. And then it will tell us what it means to be “in” Christ! Do a couple of things for me beforehand: pray and read Colossians. Then, attend service and take notes and let us take seriously this transformation together.

Ron Otto, preaching minister at Lincoln Christian Church


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