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Summary: There are plenty of comparisons in our world, but what we is true of us as believers is beyond comparison! Let’s be encouraged by what we have in Christ

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July 20, 2003

"What’s Below the Surface?" Colossians 2:6-15 Pastor Jon MacKinney

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This morning it’s my purpose to encourage you. I have to begin, therefore, with recognizing those things that can discourage us, ’cause there are plenty. As believers, we live in a world of constant comparisons, don’t we? We live in a world where there is always someone who is smarter than us, faster than us, more talented than us, on the fast track while we are on the medium, or maybe the slow, track. Our whole society is based on comparison, even comparison to ourselves. It seems like every day, doesn’t it, some company is coming out with their earnings report which makes the stock market go haywire and it’s a comparative earnings report to last year. "Last year at this time we made x amount of dollars. This year we’ve made this many dollars." So, it’s either up or down. And if it’s down, it’s bad and if it’s up, it’s good. And it’s always comparison. Or, if you are like me, a fan of baseball, there’s this constant statistic. Is there any sport more fixated on statistics than baseball? This guy with the lights on in a night game on an artificial turf, playing against a left-handed pitcher, with Barry Bonds in left field, always gets a hit to the left hand side – three out of four times. It’s always comparative. "Last year this guy was batting .267. This year he’s batting .295." But next month he’s going to be batting .102. So, there’s this constant, constant comparison.

Don’t you wonder, those of us (and I count myself and I think most of you count yourselves in this category) the ’normal’ people? How many of you think you’re pretty normal? How many of you think you’re abnormal? Lots of hands up for abnormal. All on this side, too, it’s an interesting fact. It must be the abnormal side of the church. When I say ’normal’, talking about those people who are (well, you wouldn’t want to call them average), but you know you’re not exceptional. Maybe you’re exceptional in one particular thing, but you were the kid at school who got Bs. You worked hard, but you got Bs or maybe Cs. You were the kid that when you played baseball you were okay, but you didn’t get any college scholarships. You were too small or too slow or too something or not enough. But, sometimes those of us who are just normal people, who are not exceptional, think that we must be missing out on something huge. And, as Christians, we think sometimes that if we are not winning the world, we’re not on television, or we’re not the head of some large Christian organization, there must be something wrong with us. Perhaps we think we should go to some weekend experience that guarantees to change our lives. Have you seen those? "This weekend will change your life forever, transform you." I’m not so sure that a weekend has that kind of power.

I’ve been thinking the last couple of weeks about how many millions of believers have lived their lives in complete obscurity. Nobody knows them. Nobody knows their name. They’ve lived quiet, Christian lives, completely out of the limelight. And I’ve asked myself, "Is it possible for ???? people to get passing marks in the Christian life or ????? the Apostle Paul and Billy Graham and all the rest of us are just, like, losers?" Well, it’s interesting that the Apostle Paul didn’t think so. He’s writing to normal people. And he has some very encouraging words. He’s writing to the believers in Colossi and apparently these believers were under some kind of attack from false teachers who were saying, "I’ve got something better for you than Jesus alone and if you will buy into what I’m doing, you’ll be some kind of a superstar. It’s Jesus plus what I’ve got to give to you." And, so the Apostle Paul has some very encouraging words for us.


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