Sermon #53–The Fullness of God: Alive in Christ


The Core Idea Behind this Sermon:  Because Jesus Christ is “the fullness of God in bodily form,” and because we are “in Christ,” the transforming power of Christ’s presence and identity is applied to our lives, making us genuinely new beings, who are forgiven in Christ, made alive in Christ, and who triumph in Christ over all evil and brokenness from the Fall.

Eastern tiger swallowtail on a cone flower; its right wing has been damaged, but it seemed to be flying without difficulty; photo by GAC

Eastern tiger swallowtail on a cone flower; its right wing has been damaged, but it seemed to be flying without difficulty; photo by GAC

 

We North American Christians can be a heady lot.  We may know better (or at least we should), but we can’t seem to stop ourselves from thinking of the Christian faith as primarily a set of beliefs — a collection of ideas.  Then, we “evangelize” as if the main point was to persuade people to think new and/or different thoughts.  If we can convince them to adopt a Christian set of beliefs, then we tell ourselves that they have become Christians.  Jesus, the apostle Paul, all the writers of the New Testament would find that notion of the Christian faith to be very strange and very shallow.  Here in this rich and thick passage from Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, we encounter not an intellectual conception of the Christian faith but instead a conception of the Christian that sees it as a very real spiritual and personal transformation.

“Pagan philosophers set up reason as the sole guide of life, of wisdom and conduct; but Christian philosophy demands of us that we surrender our reason to the Holy Spirit; and this means that we no longer live for ourselves, but that Christ lives and reigns within us. (Rom. 12:1; Eph. 4:23; Gal. 2:20)”  John Calvin, The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life (Baker Books, 2004), 27.

Read: Colossians 2:6-15

Then listen to: “The Fullness of God: Alive in Christ”   [Preached on Dec. 1, 2013 at Venice Presbyterian Church, McDonald, PA]

© 2014 Gary A. Chorpenning; all rights reserved

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