Friday, May 3, 2013

ULC Sunday Sermon Podcast 5/5/13 - Complete Forgiveness, God Moments, and Passages from Colossians

 Listen to the Audio Podcast [Click Here to Download]

Good Morning my dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

It's been too long, a full 7 days since we got together to worship. I want to welcome all of you to the service today. It's great to be a member of ULC church, an online church experience through the power of the internet. I'd like to send out a special greeting to those gathered at the SOUL clinic to listen today. We feel very blessed to have that ministry reaching out to those in need.

If this is your first time checking out ULC church I want to encourage you to just sit back and let yourself get into the spirit a bit. Have a listen, and just soak up some of the truth that lives in God's word. I'd like to encourage you to have a attitude of taking something away from this service that you can apply to your life, to have a better and more plentiful life out there in the real world. And as we live better, we have more to give to others and to our God in the world at large.

I'd like to pull some key quotes out of the book of Colossians that really jumped off the page for me. I ordered a copy of "The Message" Bible after reading a book about Jesus that I received from my sister for Christmas. The Message translations really seemed to jump off the page for me when I initially read it. So I've been using The Message for a lot of quotes that really come through in contemporary language.

I was sitting in one of the regular groups I attend, and it just seemed like I was being directed over and over, back to Colossians. I'd like to take you through some of the verses that really jumped out at me in the The Message translation of Colossians. But first lets ask God to join us.

Heavenly Father,

Please be with us here as we get into your word and go through some of the truth in your Bible. Please open up our minds to your truth and your love. Please guide us to the unique understanding you want us to have in these words. Help us to help ourselves and help others through this new understanding. Thank you Father, thank you so much for loving and caring for us. We praise you Father, and thank you for sending your son Jesus to die for us. In Jesus name we ask this, Amen.

Colossians 1: 5-8 The Message is as true among you today as when you first heard it. It doesn’t diminish or weaken over time. It’s the same all over the world. The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has in you.

Col 1: 13-14 God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.

Col 1:22,23 You don’t walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message. I, Paul, am a messenger of this Message.

Col 2:6-7 6-7 My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.

Col 2:8-10 8-10 Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.

Col 3 1-2 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

Col 3 3-4 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

Col 3 5-14

5-8 And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.

9-11 Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.

12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

I want everyone to remember that we only have control over ourselves and what we do. We can't control other people, places or things. So if you've got family members or friends still struggling with the idea of God and Christ, try to recall how you were before you realized the truth. There was no one who could force you to understand what you understand now. Remember that when you get frustrated with their progress. No one could force it on you. God had to come to you in a unique way that you understood based on your experiences.

And we have a God who can and does do that. He loves us so much that he'll come to us on terms we can understand. And then it's just an explosion of understanding. And we get those Wow moments. When there aren't any words to explain how powerful the connection with God is. It's our job to build off those Wow God moments, and to build a foundation from that truth.

If we have the wow moment, and just... Head back into things of the flesh, then we're gonna stay where we're at. God can and does connect with us when we ernestly seek him, and then he starts working in our lives. OUR part of the work, is foot work. God works the miracle. He guides us to see and understand the things we're suppose to, but there is foot work we have to do to keep that journey going.

And if you're listening to this sermon, I'm glad, because you're already doing some of the foot work! We start to include God in our lives more and more. We pray to him in the morning and at night. We talk to him in our heads as we go about the day. We go to church events. We get baptized. We attend weekly Bible studies. We read the Bible. We read inspirational and self help books, as long as they're sound when referenced to the Bible. We attend support and 12 step groups to work on our problems, if we have issues with eating or emotions, or drugs or alcohol, or cigarettes or sex.

So we're talking about not trying to control everything. I segwayed into that by talking about when we worry about family and friends who haven't turned to God yet, BUT, that is also a principle that we need to apply within.

And a lot of us aren't too keen on working on ourselves. It's hard and its scary! But my friends, its worth it. Stop thinking your sins are so bad!

Remember whats said in 1 John 2

2 1-2 I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s.

So the issue of our sin is solved my friends. No matter what sins you've committed! And I know you think some are really bad! I tried to committ suicide when I was younger. And I was so scared God wouldn't forgive that sin. And then I asked a priest. And he told me what I'll tell you now: All sins are equally forgiven by the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ.

And I don't care what you sin is. God doesn't condemn you because you aborted a child. God doesn't condemn you because you raped someone. God doesn't condemn you because you smoked cigarettes. God doesn't condemn you because you killed someone drunk driving. God doesn't condemn you because you drink too much. God doesn't condemn you because you set someone up to take a fall. God doesn't condemn you for any of those sins once you have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and begun to try to live as he did! There no punishment for you. God doesn't want you to feel guilty about those past sins. God doesn't fold his arms and look down on you judgementally. Scripture says, he doesn't even remember once you've asked for forgiveness for them. So if you've got something on your heart, that you did, that you think is so bad God can't forgive you... I want you to get on your knees tonight, and ask God through Jesus Christ to forgive that sin.. Tell God you were wrong, and you're sorry. And then.. It's gone.

1 john 2:12

I remind you, my dear children: Your sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name.

1 john 2:6

Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.