What does Paul mean to fill up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions? He doesn't mean he adds anything to the value or merit of Christ's work, but rather, in his own suffering, makes a tangible presentation of that sacrifice to others. If we are to follow Christ faithfully, we must see suffering and sacrifice not only as something to endure, but as an opportunity to present the reality and beauty of the Gospel.
We are quick to forget that we can only be satisfied by God himself and quick to drink from other wells to try and quench our soul's thirst, which, in turn, leaves us further from finding what we truly need! The only way to break this vicious cycle is to be reconciled to God, which Christ has done for us on the Cross.
Paul tells us that the work of Jesus is to ultimately "reconcile to himself all things." This includes both the spiritual and physical dimensions of our existence. This reconciliation begins with first being reconciled to God through the atoning work of Christ on our behalf.
There is no more important question than "Who do you say Jesus is?" That question has penetrated the hearts and minds of every generation since his life. In his letter to the church at Colossae, Paul seeks to answer that very question, making the incredible claim that in Jesus, the "fullness of God was pleased to dwell." And the implications of that statement are hugely significant, both cosmically and personally.
The source of our joy in God is the hope that we have because of his work on our behalf. When we understand that our hope is secure and certain, our hearts will overflow with a peculiar type of joy.
One of the most important things Paul does in the opening of his letter to the Colossians is remind them of the work that God has done in the Gospel. It's the foundation for everything else that he's going to unpack throughout the letter.
When Paul wrote his letters to the first-century church, they would have read them in their entirety together. So, to begin our new series in the book of Colossians, we read through the entire book together as a church community.
Making resolutions, as we know, is altogether different from keeping those resolutions. And oftentimes, in the Christian life, our need for endurance is more than we feel we can handle. So how do we endure in the things that we are resolved to do as we live for Christ? The answer primarily lies in looking to the endurance of Christ himself, not only as an example but as a display of divine and unconditional love.
We all know that Christmas is meant to bring us peace. All of the Christmas stories say so. But what is that peace? And how do we attain it? And what does it have to with Christmas? The answers lie in our understanding of what Jesus actually accomplished for us—the ultimate defeat of sin and its consequences. Christmas means, at its core, that there is hope that we can be reconciled to God, and that is where true peace is found.
The angels came to the shepherds with "good news of great joy," telling of the arrival of the long-awaited Messiah. Christmas is an opportunity to reflect not only on our need for a savior but also the joy we have in the fact that God met our need in the person of Jesus.
The Christmas message is that God so loved his creation that he wrote himself into our story. The Incarnation of Jesus is the proof we have that God was not satisfied with being separated from us.
The story of Christmas begins long before the famous Nativity scene. It does, however, begin with a promise of a child to a couple. At the moment the harmony and wholeness of the world was fractured, God promises to send a savior to make things right. Throughout the story of Israel, it seems as if God continues to miss his opportunity, but when we get to the Christmas story, we see his timing was perfect and gracious all along. Christmas tells us that no matter how bad things get, God is present and he is working for the good of his cherished creation.
Conversion in a Christian life is a one-time event, but it has lifelong implications. True conversion consists of faith and repentance—a turning from living for oneself to living for Jesus as your only Lord. Conversions may look different from person to person, but they always result in a renewed heart and life.
God has been kind to the Bridge Point family, and it's been repeatedly apparent that he is up to something amongst our church body. It is encouraging to recount the story of how we've come to where we are, but as we look back we also want to look forward and know that God is not done with his work. And so we want to ask: how can we faithfully continue to participate in the ministry of reconciliation with which we've been entrusted?
God is up to the same work in this world through his church today as he was when the first church began at Pentecost. And through men and women re-orienting their lives around just a handful of things, the church now spans the whole globe and has gone from 3,000 to over 3 billion. There is power in the lives of those who live in light of a risen King.
Peter writes to the church and calls them a "royal priesthood," and he's not just writing to the priests. Every member of God's church is called to be a conduit of God's goodness and grace to the world, and we do this by pursuing holiness and living sacrificially.
It has been said that all of the other four SOLAS exist to uphold the final one, namely, that everything exists for the glory of God. And God being concerned with his own glory is exceedingly good news for us, because it means that he wants us to genuinely delight in him, the only object of affection that can satisfy our souls.
Paul told the church at Corinth that he decided to know nothing among them except "Christ and him crucified." Jesus Christ and his messianic work is the center point of all history. Everything points to him, everything is through him, and everything is unto his exaltation. He alone is the way, the truth, and the life.
How we are saved is certainly remarkable. Why we are saved is perhaps even more so. The grace of God toward us is an unfathomable mystery. We do not deserve anything from him, and yet he gives everything we could ever need for an eternity of joy.
It has been said that justification by faith alone is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls. Without the foundation of "faith alone" (i.e., "sola fide"), the Christian gospel is betrayed. The Reformers understood the importance of this doctrine and were willing to do whatever necessary to preserve it.