Summary: Do we leave others wondering and confused when our words and walk fail to communicate the same message?
Woodlawn Baptist Church
October 22, 2006
Show billboard slideshow (there’s a link to the billboard for this sermon at the end of the sermon)
Kathy and I were headed south out of Shreveport, almost down to I-10, when we pass this mobile home dealership. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I laughed about it, thought about it, then after a few miles my interest got the best of me, so I turned around to take some pictures. I thought about submitting them to Jeff Foxworthy. Surely there has to be a redneck joke in here somewhere. “You know you’re a redneck if you run out of room in your yard for junk cars and you have them put on your roof.” Who knows?
More than anything, I could only scratch my head and wonder what trucks on the roofs has to do with anything. The houses are strong? Buy a house and we’ll throw in the truck? Probably just something to make you look that way, but to be honest with you I never looked at the houses – I was only confused by the message someone was trying to send.
Like that redneck marketing gimmick, all too often God’s people can cause wonder to the world around them. As people look at our lives, do they understand the message we’re trying to communicate? Or do we send mixed signals? Can people walk away from our lives with a right understanding of what we offer? Or do they look at us and wonder?
The Bible teaches us that we’re to be like Christ. When Romans 12:2 tells us “not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds,” we must see that God intends for each of us to recognize how our lives are being influenced by the world around us and to allow the Holy Spirit to change us. When people drive by, they ought to see Christ living in us and through us. They ought to see His love manifested in our relationships, His grace extended to those who are unlovable, His forgiveness offered to those who have offended us, and His purpose and power flowing through us.
But do they see that? Do we stop to think about the mixed signals we’re sending with our lives when we drive up to church each Sunday, when we pray before our meals, but our lives are little different from theirs? You see, what we can be guilty of doing is putting something flashy up on the roof to get people’s attention, but did they understand the message? Or did they only see the flash?
Today I want to talk to you about living for Christ with the hopes that you will see that Christ desires a better life for us that most people fail to ever explore. In Colossians 3:1-4 I want to share with you two lessons each of us needs to learn, of which we need to be reminded, and the evidence that you have really learned them is for you to practice them. Your life may be a contradiction. Your words and your walk may be two completely different things. If it is, then consider that…
You Must Be Saved
Colossians 3:1 says,
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.”
The word “if” in this verse carries the sense of “since.” “Since then you were raised with Christ…” It takes us back to chapter 2:6 and following. “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him…” Now drop down to verse 12.
“Buried with him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”
Now here’s what I want you to see by looking back at these verses. In Colossians 3 Paul is going to make an appeal to these believers to live lives that are consistent with their faith. In other words, if you claim to be followers of Christ, then live like it! But the basis of that appeal is their salvation. “If…since…you are risen with Christ…” What do you have to do to be risen with Christ? You have to have died and have been buried! Before there can be a resurrection from the dead, there has to be a death!
That’s what salvation is all about. The Bible teaches us that as long as a person is lost he is dead in his sin and is at odds with God. Ephesians 2:1 tells us that before a man comes to Christ he is “dead in trespasses and sins.” Romans 6:23 tells us that the “wages of sin is death…”