“Once you were
alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your
evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical
body through death to present you holy in his sight.” – Colossians
years, there have been lots of movies about aliens coming to earth. We’ve had
“Signs,” “Independence Day,” “Lilo & Stitch,” “E.T.” … the list goes on and
on. Now, I’d like you to chew on this: In all of these movies, whether the
aliens are good or evil, the basic premise is the same: Earth is humans’ home
planet, and anyone who comes here from somewhere else is an alien.
the Bible disagrees. According to Scripture, WE are the aliens, and heaven is
our true home. But on our own, we’re not the nice, cuddly, “E.T.”-type aliens.
Nope—left to our own devices, we’re more like those mean, ugly dudes in
“Independence Day.” That’s you and me … at least, until we reconcile to God
through Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:21, Paul points out a stark reality, which many people don’t want
to accept: “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds
because of your evil behavior.” That wasn’t a popular message in Paul’s day,
and it’s not a very popular message today. Many people take pride in being very
“spiritual” and feel very “connected” to God. So they are taken aback by Paul’s
blunt words here. But without Jesus Christ, you’re alienated from God. In fact,
you’re an enemy of God. Now, how do you like them apples?
“alienated,” as it’s used by Paul, is a translation of a Greek word that means “to
be utterly estranged” and “to be utterly the property of another.” So, Paul is
saying that before we become believers and followers of Jesus, we are utterly estranged
from God; we are completely sold out to someone or something other than God.
You see, ever since Adam and Eve first sinned, sin has corrupted everything on
this planet: the land, the animal kingdom and human beings. Sin turned this
perfect paradise into an alien planet, and sin turned us into aliens.
speaks about us being enemies of God “in our minds,” he is addressing something
much more severe than just a pattern of sinful behavior. As Bible commentator N.T.
Wright explains: “It is not simply that habitual wrongdoing has turned the mind
away from God…. Thought and act are both tainted, each pushing the other into
further corruption…. Wrong thinking leads to vice, vice to further mental
corruption, so that the mind, still not totally ignorant of God’s standards,
finds itself applauding evil.”
doesn’t happen today, does it? Our culture doesn’t applaud evil, does it? Unfortunately, it does … all the time.
Millions of our fellow Americans not only support abortion but applaud “a
woman’s right to choose.” Millions of Americans applauded sexual perversion a
couple of weekends ago by plunking down $46 million on the opening weekend of
the latest “50 Shades of Grey” movie. Whether we’re talking about premarital
sex, homosexuality, greed, profanity or no-fault divorce, there are any number
of lifestyle choices that the world celebrates, even though the Bible condemns
So, when we
turn to Christ, he doesn’t simply have to transform our moral behavior. He also
has to transform our thinking, because in this alien world we live in, both our
morals and our thinking have been tainted by sin. This led Paul to write in Romans
12:2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and
approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
alien world we live in, both our actions and our thinking alienate us from God
and make us enemies of God. That’s the bad news. But thankfully, there’s good
news. Take a look at verses 22 and 23: “But now He [God] has reconciled you by
Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without
blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and
firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.”
news: You’re a stinkin’ alien. The good news: Jesus can wash you up and bring
you home. In the movie “E.T.,” Elliot and his friends work together to send
E.T. home. In real life, God the Father works together with Jesus and the Holy
Spirit to bring us home. And what is home? From God’s perspective, home is His
Kingdom. Home is a restored, unbroken relationship with Him. Home is
forgiveness. Home is mercy and grace. Home is holiness. Home is faith in Him.
Home is freedom from accusation. Home is love and peace and hope. And Jesus is
the only One who can get us there.
home sound wonderful?
is the Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information, visit www.YourVictorvilleChurch.com and join us for
worship Sundays at 10 am.
“For by him all things
were created … all things were created by him and for him. He is before all
things, and in him all things hold together.” – Colossians
called the most significant teaching about Jesus Christ in the whole Bible—and
it’s only six verses long. If you really want to know who Jesus is and
understand the Christian faith, read over Colossians 1:15-20. Its powerful
message is, in seven simple words: Jesus Christ is supreme over heaven and
around us and see a world that is incredibly complex and fine-tuned. Without a
doubt, it bears the fingerprint of an intelligent designer. When we come to our
senses, we understand that it would have been impossible for our world to have
simply evolved by chance. Well, in these passages, we learn the identity of
that creator: Jesus Christ. Now, is Paul actually saying that Jesus Christ is
the Creator of the universe? Yes. That’s exactly what he’s saying. Everything
in the universe was created BY him and FOR him, and all of it holds together IN
Did you catch those three key prepositions? BY, FOR and IN. We ask the “who”
question: Who made all of this? And God’s word answers back: All things were
created BY Jesus Christ. Next we ask the “why” questions. Why was the universe
created? Why was I created? What’s the point of it all? And God’s word answers
back: All things were created FOR Jesus Christ. Then we wonder—with all of the
upheaval in the universe with stars exploding and the galaxy expanding and the
asteroids falling—how is it possible that this world doesn’t just fall apart?
And God’s word answers back: IN Jesus Christ all things hold together.
And not only is Jesus supreme over all creation—Paul makes it clear that Jesus
Christ is supreme over all eternity. Let’s face it; This life we live here on
earth is just a drop in the bucket of eternity. If you live to be 100 years old
here on earth, that’s barely even a warm-up lap in eternity. So, when the Bible
tells us we are eternal beings, that our bodies will one day die but our souls
and spirits will live on forever, I want to know who’s going to be calling the
shots. Because honestly, eternity is a very long time, so I want to get in good
with whoever is in charge of it.
18, Paul points out that Jesus is the beginning and the firstborn from among
the dead. In other words, he was the first person to have risen from the dead …
permanently. Jesus has the privilege and authority to blaze a trail to heaven
for his followers. He is the only one who can restore our broken relationship with
God. He is the only one who could pay the death penalty for our sin that we deserve
to pay; the only one who holds the key to heaven. That’s why Jesus said point
blank in John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to
the Father except through me.”
When it comes to this physical world we live in—and in the new and improved
eternal world that’s to come—it’s so important to understand that everything in
the universe was created BY Him and FOR Him. And all of it holds together IN him.
the one and only manifestation of the invisible God in our visible world. He
was and is the only one who occupies the position of privilege and authority
over all creation. He is eternal—with no beginning and no end. He is Lord of
all creation. And He is Lord of all eternity. He is our only hope of
forgiveness. He is our only hope of a relationship with God. He is our only
hope of a life filled with purpose, grace and peace. He is our only hope of
heaven, because heaven is all about him. And—miracle of miracles—this
awe-inspiring Creator of Heaven and earth loves you. He loves you!
like it or not, you were created by Jesus Christ. You were created by him and for
him, and he is the only reason you haven’t completely fallen apart—because in
him, all things hold together. So, it is my hope and prayer that today you will
humbly embrace him as the awesome Creator and Savior that he is and follow him
as best you can every day of your life.
Dane Davis is the Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville.
For more information, visit www.YourVictorvilleChurch.com and join us for worship Sundays at 10 am.
“We have not stopped
praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” – Colossians
lot of people treat their spirituals lives like dinner at the Golden Corral. We
grab a plate and step up to the religious smorgasbord, then pick and choose
what we like. We might say, “I’m going to take a big helping of Christianity.
But I’m also going to get a side of Buddhism and a little bit of Wicca and dash
of pop psychology and a big helping of me-centered mumbo jumbo on top.” It
might be tasty, and it sure is colorful. But is it anywhere close to the truth?
we sometimes call religious syncretism, where we try to merge all religions
together into one and pretend that the incompatible differences are actually
compatible. In this post-Christian culture, more and more people are wondering:
“Is Jesus really enough? Is He enough to give my life meaning? Is He enough to
help me rise above my problems? Is He enough to make me happy? Is Jesus Christ
enough?” And the Bible answers in a word: Yes. Jesus is enough.
Jesus Christ is all-sufficient. Jesus isn’t part
of the answer to your deepest needs. Jesus isn’t part of the answer to our world’s greatest problems. Jesus Christ is the answer—He is the whole package. In other words … Jesus plus
nothing equals EVERYTHING.
Paul had to teach the people of Colosse, where they had eagerly embraced the
good news of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, a lot of other teachings had begun to
seep in, resulting in a mixture of Judaism, Christianity and Eastern mysticism.
It was a Golden Corral of religions that didn’t completely ignore Jesus Christ,
but it pushed him to the back of the plate. Sound familiar? In this culture we
live where most people treat religion like the Golden Corral, the message Paul
gives them in the Book of Colossians may be more relevant that ever before.
So, how did
Paul address the people who had slid into this religious hodgepodge? With
faith, hope and love. In the first few verses of his letter to the church in
Colosse, he praises and encourages them in their new-found belief: “We always
thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because
we have heard of your FAITH in Christ Jesus and of the LOVE you have for all
the saints—the faith and love that spring from the HOPE that is stored up for
you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth the
gospel that has come to you” (Col. 1:3-6a).
Colossians needed to be set straight on a few things, but Paul opens by
revealing his heart for the church—and the church’s faith, hope and love. Then,
and only then, he goes on to pray for their spiritual wisdom and understanding:
“We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the
knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (v. 9).
a glorious prayer? It’s perfect for someone who’s stumbled into a trumped-up,
Golden-Corral-style version of God’s truth. The Colossians obviously were in
need of spiritual wisdom and understanding. But never forget: It applies to you
and me as well. Never underestimate how vitally important it is to keep growing
in your knowledge of God and His will. If you aren’t spending time in the word,
being filled with that knowledge, you will easily be duped by any
smooth-talking preacher or celebrity who doesn’t proclaim the truth. It happens
all the time. Every day across America,
Christians who don’t know God’s word
or understand God’s word get pulled
into Mormonism, or into the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or into the health-and-wealth
heresy that many churches preach.
for you to start praying a prayer like this, for yourself and any other
Christian you’re praying for: “Oh, Father God, don’t just give us SOME knowledge
of you. Won’t you fill us to the brim with the knowledge of You and Your will?
Won’t You give us, not just SOME spiritual wisdom and understanding, but ALL
spiritual wisdom and understanding?”
for his Christian readers to be filled to overflowing with spiritual wisdom and
understanding. And today I pray the same for you.
Dane Davis is the Pastor
of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information, visit www.YourVictorvilleChurch.com and join us for
worship Sundays at 10 am.
am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20
without a doubt one of the strangest prayers I’ve ever read. The year was 1540,
and Martin Luther was well underway leading the Protestant Reformation. One day
Luther received a letter from his good friend Frederick Myconius, who was
deathly ill. Frederick
had written Luther a farewell letter, thanking him for his friendship and
sharing his final goodbye.
Luther read the letter and immediately wrote his reply, which included these
shocking words: “I command thee in the name of God to live because I still have
need of thee in the work of reforming the church…The Lord will never let me
hear that thou are dead, but will permit thee to survive me. For this I am
praying, this is my will, and may my will be done, because I seek only to
glorify the name of God.”
the final ten words, Luther’s prayer sounds arrogant and self-absorbed. It’s as
if Luther believed prayer was for the purpose of bending God to his own selfish
will instead of bending his own will to God’s. But the final ten words
absolutely transform his prayer. Perhaps Luther understood something about
prayer that we don’t.
Let me ask
you: What is the point of prayer? What is its purpose? Some Christians might
answer, “Well, prayer gives me a chance to talk to God and share my needs with
Him.” Others might respond, “Prayer makes me feel better. It allows me to get
things off my chest, and it calms me down.” These answers reveal some of the benefits of prayer, but they don’t
reveal the purpose of prayer.
According to God’s word, what is the point of prayer?
Jesus’ prayer in John 17 gives us the answer. It’s the
longest prayer of Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus had just celebrated the
Last Supper with his twelve disciples, and he was just a few hours away from
being arrested, beaten and led to the cross. And he began his prayer in John
17:1 by saying, “Father, the time has come. Glorify Your Son that Your Son may
glorify You.” No less than eight times in this great prayer, Jesus mentions
God’s glory. So, what is the purpose of prayer? The main purpose of prayer is
to bring GLORY to God.
Glory—When it comes to prayer, this is a critically important word that you and I must
understand and embrace. Otherwise, we will most likely misuse and abuse prayer.
Far too many Christians hold on to the erroneous belief that prayer is about
changing God. But prayer isn’t about me changing God. Prayer is about God changing me. Prayer isn’t about bringing myself
glory. Prayer is about bringing God
Now, that’s easier said than done. Let’s get really
practical here. Sooner or later, we’re all going to get sick. So, when we are
ill, how should we pray? How about like this: “Dear Lord, if it will glorify
You, take away this illness. Heal me! But if it will glorify You more, then let
me remain sick. And while I am sick, give me the power to glorify You through
my illness.” Wow! Do you see how powerful prayer can be—on so many different
levels—when we understand and embrace the true purpose of prayer: to bring
glory to God?
a second vital word that you and I must also understand and embrace: ACCESS.
You see, prayer is the means by which Jesus is given access to our lives. It
has been said that God interferes in the
affairs of men by invitation only. In Revelation
3:20, Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone
hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with
Usually when this verse is quoted, it’s used to urge nonChristians to accept
Christ into their lives. But in Revelation 3, Jesus was speaking to Christians
who had, in some way or another, shut Jesus out of their lives. So, there Jesus
was, patiently knocking at their heart’s door asking them to let him come back
in. Why? Because these messed-up Christians had issues, and Jesus wanted to
help them with their issues. If only they would let him in!
is about giving Jesus an open invitation to come into our lives and have full
access to our issues. And—this is the hard part—we give him full permission to
deal with them in whatever way he sees fit. And that’s ALL of them: our
attitudes, our marriages, our children, our finances, our health, our church …
even our President. We can’t hold anything back. We need to invite Christ to
move in each and every one of our issues for his glory.
trembling hands Frederick Myconius read Martin Luther’s letter and prayer. And
surprise, surprise! His health was restored. Once again he was able to join
Luther in his work, and he even outlived him by two months. Luther’s strange
prayer had been miraculously answered. Is it surprising? It shouldn’t be. Amazing
answers to prayer become the norm when we give God full access to our lives,
lifting up each prayer for His glory.
Dane Davis is the Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville.
For more information,