1 March 2018

Hi everyone and welcome to Thursday’s Podcast here at STC. This week we are asking the question ‘Is it possible to change?’ with reflections on Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Today we reflect on another great Bible truth: ‘a God changed life is a better life’ because Jesus is my Lord’ – our reading is Col 2:8-15 and our focus verse is v10. “When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.”

REFLECTION

This verse comes at the end of a warning Paul gives this growing Colossian church; he says beware of false teachers who try to dazzle you with their ‘big words and intellectual double talk’ (v.8, MSG). ‘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’ (vv.9–10, MSG).

He is referring to a specific issue which was causing disturbance; some were saying that men still needed to be circumcised to be a follower of Jesus. For us today this sounds very obscure, even silly, but this was a real issue for Paul’s listeners. He makes it very clear again, as he did earlier, that to be a Christian all you need is Christ in your life – it’s not Christ plus something else.

The sign of belonging to Jesus is baptism. He says this going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. … baptism is an outward sign of this God-received better life – it says ‘I am a Christian – I am for Jesus – I am his disciple’. Baptisms at STC are very powerful times; I love to see adults tell their God story of how Jesus has changed then before they go under the water. Literally thousands of adults have been in our tank over the past forty years or so – amazing! However, I also love to see children being brought to baptism by parents who are trusting in Jesus for the life and spiritual growth of their child – these really are powerful moments in the life of STC.

And then the gift Jesus gives to us as we say yes to him: ‘His power extends over you’ (v10). These few words release the power of heaven into our lives! Four verses earlier in v6 Paul says this: ‘just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him.‘ We have seen throughout this week that real Godly and good change comes through Jesus Christ – when I say yes to him he becomes ‘Lord’ of my life.

It’s not a term we use frequently today – we get a picture of older people in Westminster dressed in fine robes in the ‘House of Lords’ but we’re not quite sure who they are or what they do. In Paul’s time the word ‘Lord’ was a powerful term because your Lord gave you protection and provision and allowed you to live in peace because his power extended over you and your family – mess with me, you mess with my Lord!

Paul is saying, then and now, this is what Jesus brings to us as we say yes to him and change our lives – he will provide for our needs and protect us because his power extends over us. Read the Lord’s Prayer again, it’s all there: ‘give us today our daily bread (provide) and deliver us from the evil one (protect). Because he provides and protects we can know his peace every day – we can be free from crushing anxiety and worry because Jesus is our peace! When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything!

PRAYER

Jesus Christ, I proclaim you Lord of my life this day. Thank you for your provision, your protection and your peace this day. Whatever this day brings, I know your power extends over me and those I love. Thank you Lord. Amen.

READING: COLOSSIANS 2:8-15 (The Message)

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. Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. It’s not a matter of being circumcised or keeping a long list of laws. No, you’re already in—insiders—not through some secretive initiation rite but rather through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin. If it’s an initiation ritual you’re after, you’ve already been through it by submitting to baptism. Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ.