February 5, 2015

Today you should read: Colossians 2:6-23

A theme word for this section of Scripture is “Complete.” Because of who Christ is and what He has done, His followers are complete. Look at verse 10. Paul told the reader that “in Him (Christ) you have been made complete.” Christ’s followers have been completely forgiven of sin and completely made pure. Verses 13-14 elaborate on this truth.

“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.”—Colossians 2:13-14 (NLT)

Allow me to borrow something from some Cru Bible Study material that I was taught in college and still use today to teach others to comment on vs. 13-14.

“In the day when this passage (vs. 13-14) was written, “record of the charges” referred to an itemized bond that was nailed to the prison door. It listed every crime for which the prisoner had been convicted. When the sentence was served or restitution was paid, the authorities removed the list and wrote on it, “paid in full.” The prisoner used this as proof that he can never be tried again for those crimes. The person who trusts Christ’s payment for sin can never be tried again. His sins have been paid in full. He has received a full pardon from God.”​​​
Therefore, based on vs. 13-14, what has God done with your sins? Well, they’ve been completely paid in full. For how many of your sins did Christ die? Every single one. What has God done with the sins you will commit tomorrow or next year? He’s completely forgiven them all—past, present, and future. How does that make you feel? It takes a big weight off my shoulders.

Since we as His followers are complete in Him: We should walk in Him (vs. 6). We should not be thrown off by other ideologies and deceptions (vs. 8). We should not be thrown off by religious activity (vs. 16-23).

Rest in the grace and mercy of Jesus today. We are out from under the weight and curse of sin because of Christ, and we have been made complete in Christ.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

February 4, 2015

Today you should read: Colossians 2:1-5

Beware Of Teaching That Deviates From Christ …

Have you ever been to Hawaii? If not, it’s a must! It is, by far, my favorite vacation destination. I would say it even surpasses some of the amazing places we visited in Europe this past summer. Kasey and I loved it.

It was while we were in Hawaii, on our honeymoon, when we tried to research and find a good church to go to on Sunday morning. We were looking for churches close to our hotel, and we found one. And it was in that church that we experienced false teaching first-hand.

The message that morning had many gut-wrenching aspects, but the greatest (or worst) of them all was that every aspect of the teaching deviated from Christ.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

In our passage today Paul expresses his care for this church and the surrounding area. He’s expressing his desire for them to be encouraged, unified, and rooted in the truth of Jesus.

One of the main things Paul is addressing here, and in what is to follow, is how to protect against false teaching.

Paul says in verse 3 that all wisdom and knowledge are found in Jesus, and that there are no “secret mysteries” of God that other religions claim to search for or have access to. Christ IS the mystery revealed.

In verse 4 Paul tells the Christians in Colossae, and tells us, that he is communicating these things so that no one would delude them, or us, with false teaching…. with teaching that is not centered on the gospel message.

And in verse 5 Paul states that his desire is that all stand firm in true faith in Jesus.

All of this centers on the fact that there is indeed teaching that deviates from…. strays from…turns away from…Jesus. There are no “secret recipes” for religion, there are no other places to find wisdom or knowledge, and there is no other place to find satisfaction and purpose. Even though other so called “truth” sounds practical and attractive, no teaching is worth anything if it doesn’t center on, revolve around, flow from, or point to Jesus. He is everything. Even moralistic teaching, which sounds like life-application, can deviate from the true source of power and purpose…Jesus. Without whom, even living right becomes about our performance and ourselves.

So, let’s be aware of false teaching. And let us make sure we don’t deviate from the centerpiece of our faith, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

February 3, 2015

Today you should read: Colossians 1:15-29

I remember it as one of my favorite days in church as a kid. I am from a very small community in southeastern Kentucky called Kingbee. My mom came to Christ just before I was born and started to attending Kingbee Nazarene Church, which she would drag me and my sisters to as kids. They would have what is called a revival every year. Now some of you reading this know what a revival is, but for those who don’t a revival is a week where a church has services every night for a week straight. Most of the time they would have a guy called an evangelist come in and the point of a revival was to get folks to invite family and friends who did not know the Lord to come and hear the gospel preached and get saved. The speaker was usually very charismatic and a great communicator. Well, for a kid like me who hated going to church the idea of going for a week straight felt like punishment. However, all would be changed on that first night.

I did not get saved at this revival but I did experience my first charismatic fire and brimstone preacher. You know the kind that takes a breath in between each statement and keeps a handkerchief in his hands to wipe the sweat. At one point he even ran a lap around the worship center which took my interest in church way up but left me with a wrong view of God. I remember thinking “God is really mad at us and he seems really scary”. This left me with a question: “Is God knowable?”

Paul clears up this question for us in our passage today and the answer is a resounding yes! Jesus is our knowable image of God who came in the flesh. If we ever want to know what God is like, we just need to look to the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) and study the life of Jesus. Jesus ate with the sinners (Matthew 9:10-11), healed the sick (Mark 1:40-45, Mark 2:1-12), forgives the sinners (John 8:1-11), and shows compassion on the lost (Matthew 9:35-38). Jesus shows that God is a knowable God who desires a relationship with his children.

Jesus did not only demonstrate God’s grace and mercy toward a lost world of sinners, but he demonstrated the seriousness of our sin and the wrath it deserves. Paul speaks of this in v.20 when he references the blood of the cross. The most horrific and gruesome death a man can go through still to this day. Jesus willing went to the cross on our behalf so that we can be reconciled to him through his blood. In other words, sin had a price that needed to be paid in order for a just and perfect God to pardon us.

So how should those of us who have been saved respond to such an act of love? We must offer up our lives to God in worship and service to make his name and his word fully known to those around us (v.25). How are you stewarding his life for his name?

Posted by: Chad Wiles

February 2, 2015

Today you should read: Colossians 1:1-14

We are diving into the book of Colossians this week! While it’s only four chapters long, it packs quite a punch. Here is a snapshot of this letter’s background:

Author: Paul & Timothy
Written To: a young church, planted by one of their disciples (Epaphras)
Date: 60-62 A.D. (around the same time as Philemon, Philippians, Ephesians), while Paul was imprisoned (often called the “prison letters”)
Theme: 1/2 Theological, 1/2 Practical

One of my favorite parts of this letter is that the mission is being carried out by a seemingly unknown leader named Epaphras. He was a disciple of Paul’s and Timothy’s. Their discipleship worked; he was making more disciples, he was perpetuating a gospel movement. You might feel like you’re relatively unknown, and you may doubt that God could use you in a significant way. DON’T. Epaphras is testimony to the fact that God knows who you are and where you are and will use you if you yield your life to Him.

I want to highlight for a moment the theme of this letter. Douglas Moo (yes, that’s an unfortunate last name), one of the world’s foremost New Testament scholars, has some great thoughts on this. As I stated above, Colossians has a really nice blend of theology and practical Christian living. Moo agrees, and emphasizes the heart-receptivity we need to have in both areas:

The letter to the Colossians is a beautiful blend of theology and practice. It combines some of the deepest and most sublime teaching about Christ with very basic instruction. As strongly as any other book in the NT, Colossians reminds us that Christ must always be preeminent in a Christian’s affections and worship. – Douglas Moo

It can be summarized this way: What you believe affects how you live. This is a mantra you hear often at Center Point. It is an echo of the great commandment: Love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. We drive this home in our simple mission statement: Our mission is to take everyone we meet one step closer to becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ. A true disciple is one whose heart and mind has been gripped by Jesus. Paul contends, though, that there are even more marks of a true disciple (though they all emphasize the great commandment). Here is a flyby of his train of thought in Colossians 1:

Marks of a True Disciple:

  • Has faith in Jesus (v.4)
  • Loves the Church (v.4)
  • Is in the Word (v.5-6)
  • Submits to godly leadership (v.7-8)
  • Is constantly growing (v.9-12)
  • Lives with character (v.10)
  • Bears fruit (v.10)
  • Finds their strength in God (v.11)
  • Endures trials/suffering with joy (v.11)
  • Has a thankful spirit (v.12)
  • Commissioned by God (v.12)

Let’s interact with this a little bit today. Here are some questions for us to discuss in the comments section below:

  1. What can we learn from the relationship that Paul has with Timothy, and that Paul and Timothy have with Epaphras?
  2. Why is mentoring/discipleship so vital for Christians?   
  3. Go through the list above: which of these marks is most convicting/challenging to you? Why?
  4. Read Romans 12:9-21. What does this passage add to the discussion? 
  5. Big picture takaway: what did you learn today? How are you going to apply this passage to your life?

Posted by: Todd Thomas