Baptism: Washing and Renewal

Today as we baptize a number of our covenant children, we will look at baptism as a sign and what it signifies not just to children but to various candidates. The Scriptures provide us a range of images that convey what God has graciously done for us and are to be used by us to strengthen our faith.

The Gospel: The Word of Truth

As we move into the body of Paul’s letter to the Colossian church, we see that the apostle is thankful for their faith, love, and hope, all of which are grounded in the gospel. Paul takes pains at the outset of his letter to make sure his readers (then and now) have a clear understanding of the biblical gospel. We’ll explore Paul’s points about the centrality of the good news of God’s grace in Christ.

From Enmity to Amity

Paul includes a benediction in the salutation of his letter to the Colossians. In his modest little greeting, 'Grace and Peace to you through God our Father,' the apostle packs a number of rich redemptive truths that teach us about God’s work of atonement in Christ.

In addition to informing his Colossian readers that their new identity in Christ makes them saints, the Apostle Paul also informs them that they are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. Because faith is so important to the Christian life, and there are a number of popular misunderstandings about the nature of true saving faith, we will look at the character of biblical belief.

No Holiness, No Heaven!

As part of Paul’s salutation in his letter to the church at Colossae, he addresses the believers as "holy and faithful brothers." Calling them "holy" is an important way for the Apostle to point out their new identity in Christ, and the label has important implications for how all Christians should see and conduct themselves.

Called by God

As we begin our tour of Paul’s letter to the Colossians, we’ll see that at the outset he presents his apostolic credentials as a divinely called apostle. This call forms an important part of his purpose in writing the letter. As we consider the implications for Paul’s call, we will also note that the Bible uses calling a few different ways, and these have important application for us today.

Christians are familiar with Jesus as the Redeemer of his people occupying the offices of prophet, priest, and king. But we rarely connect his offices to his estates of humiliation and exaltation. The Sunday following Easter is the perfect time to look at Christ’s estate of exaltation, as the biblical writers teach us that his work of redemption entered a new phase, beginning with his resurrection from the dead. And this new phase has important implications for us today.

Proverbs has much to say about the problem of laziness and the importance of hard work. Solomon addresses indolence and industriousness directly, and his wise counsel serves as a springboard to think biblically about work and rest.

As we conclude our look at Proverbs’ teaching about foolish words, we see that flattery and slander are ways we misuse our tongues, and we will also take note of some important issues of the heart that lie at the root of how we use our words, for good or ill.

The opening days of 2020 are a perfect time to take stock of how we use our tongues and to see where flattery and quarreling slip into our speech patterns. When we find such sinful talk, the good news is that we can make use of the gospel gifts to put such words away and replace them with wise words.