Summary: Pentecost 9 (C) - Christ lives in us which is both a divine mystery and also our glorious hope.

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August 2, 2009 --


Colossians 1:21-28

INTRO: Everyone loves a mystery. The more that we hear, read, and study God’s word the more we begin to understand the mystery of Scripture revealed. Scripture holds many mysteries that are not always easily, completely humanly understood. It is only by faith that we believe God’s mysteries as revealed in God’s holy word. Who fully knows the mind of God? In Colossians we are told Christ lives in us. In Romans Paul presents another truth. "As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out"(ROMANS 7:17,18). This is a mystery that sin is alive and well in us. But now Christ is also alive and lives in us. We consider God’s mystery.


I. A divine mystery.

II. Our glorious hope.


A. Paul’s audience is a new generation and nation of believers, Gentiles. They had been strangers to God.

1. Verse 21. They had been enemies of God. Their evil thoughts separated them from the truth.

2. As unbelievers these Gentiles lived opposed to God’s ways and opposed to God’s word.

B. Verse 22. “BUT NOW” God changed everything for these Gentiles. They were forgiven.

1. There were no charges to be held against them. They were holy and blameless in God’s sight.

2. Verse 23b. This was the gospel message that these Gentiles had heard and now believed.

C. Verse 25. Paul was a servant of Christ to preach this gospel message in all of its truth and purity.

1. Verse 26. This gospel was unknown to the Gentiles for generations. Now they heard, believed.

2. Verse 27. The mystery: Christ lived in them. These Gentiles belonged to the Lord.

D. We are all born estranged from God. We are all born as the very enemies of God. This called the “total depravity” of mankind. Since the first sin of Adam and Eve our lives are tainted with the same in-fection of evil. Why are we saved? Who would really want to reach out and save their enemy? This is the marvelous, miraculous mystery Scripture declares to us with God’s gospel. "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved" (EPHESIANS 2:4,5). We were dead in sin. But now by grace through faith we are made alive in Christ who lives in us. It is a divine mystery.

E. There is even more to our faith that just having Christ alive in us. Each of us has been redeemed and made alive for Christ. The Holy Spirit has called us to be his own. The Holy Spirit has commissioned us to be living members of the holy Christian church. "You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 PETER 2:5). Christ lives in us. Each one of us has been called by the gospel to be proclaimers (priests) of God’s gospel. The Jews prided themselves in being the children of Abraham. Jesus re-minded them that he could create stones to declare his praises. Today you and I are those living stones declaring the praises of our heavenly Father. By birth we are Gentiles. But now by faith we are Israel.

F. Christ lives in us. This is the marvelous, miraculous mystery explained in God’s gospel. Christ lives in us that we would have eternal life. Christ lives in us to remind us just how much our loving Lord cares for every believer. By faith our lives are changed. By faith we live changed lives because of God’s great, great love for us. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body " (1 CORINTHIANS 6:19,20). Christ lives in us that we might honor him with our lives.


This is a divine mystery that we believe and confess by grace through faith.


A. Notice the great joy that the apostle Paul had in being a servant of the Lord, verses 23b, and 25a.

1. Verse 24. Even in intense suffering Paul found great joy in freely proclaiming God’s gospel.

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