Will Work for Jesus

An Exposition of Colossians 3:22-4:1

I don’t have to tell you that sin corrupts work. Our sin destroys what was created by God to be good. But when Jesus saves us, he gives us a new perspective on work and a new incentive and makes work meaningful. 

Work not as our god, and work not as something to be avoided, but rather embraced in our worship of God.

2 Instructions for Sanctifying Work Relationships

  1. An instruction to slaves under authority

  2. An instruction to masters possessing authority

Colossians 3:22–4:1—22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality. 1 Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.

Protecting Parents from Discouragement

An Exposition of Colossians 3:21

4-Part Warning to Prevent a Failure in Christian Parenting

By saying failure, I don’t mean that we are merely outcome based by looking for successful children. But rather that on the part of the Christian parent, you missed the mark in terms of what God called you to and what you aspired to accomplish. Our assessment is based upon faithfulness to Scripture.

We serve a God who powerfully controls all things and awakens dead hearts. That is his job. So, then the failure is in unintentionally impeding what we were setting out to accomplish.

  1. The crisp precaution against exasperation (3:21a)

  2. The common pathway to exasperation (selected)

  3. The crushing penalty for exasperation (3:21b)

  4. The chief protection from exasperation (Eph. 6:4b)

The Calling of a Husband

An Exposition of Colossians 3:19

Grab your Bibles and turn with me to Colossians 3. We will make it through one verse again today. I heard last week that it provided some entertainment value for some of you that we are moving so slowly. Don’t get too used to a verse per week. But these are important topics.

As we said last week instead of looking at an entire paragraph of Scripture, which is our normal practice, we are doing here topical expositions. So we are explaining one verse, one main truth, and examining that topic in detail from multiple texts in their context.

Last week we examined the role of a wife and her biblical priority. We saw that a wife worships Christ in her marriage through her joyful, willing submission to her husband. A godly woman finds freedom and liberty in trusting the Lord and not herself, being willing to let God bring about his plan in her life through her husband. We discussed what submission is and what it is not.

Heard comments from many non-wives in the body about how a message not specifically addressing them was convicting. Joyful submission challenges each of us. For husbands it raises the bar on our leadership to be godly.

I’m praising God at how his word works as we seek to strengthen and shore up our body in the fundamentals of the Christian life as he is rooting out wrong thinking and replacing it with truth and conviction.

Now this week we will see that a husband worships Christ in his biblical leadership within the marriage relationship.

4-Part Overview of a Husband’s Leadership

  1. The husband’s burden of biblical leadership

  2. The husband’s blueprint for biblical leadership

  3. The husband’s barriers to biblical leadership

  4. The husband’s blessing through biblical leadership

The Privileged Position of a Wife

An Exposition of Colossians 3:18

Take your Bible and turn with me to Colossians 3. We are going to continue our series this morning entitled, “Christ in the Common.” This study is a practical look at how Jesus intersects with everyday living. The goal of this study is to shore up our Christian living by going back to the fundamentals of how we are to live the Christ life.

Our passage today is one verse, Colossians 3:18 and it is written to wives about the privileged duty of submission in marriage.

My sisters, I know that you want to honor Jesus and I want you to leave this morning greatly encouraged with clarity and conviction and joy as you embrace your God-given calling. There is so much working against your ability to trust God in this area.

And so, we need to be fortified in embracing God’s wisdom on this matter. So, in our time together we are going to reorient our thinking about a wife’s role back to the simple truth contained in Scripture. We will be washed together in the Word.

This week we start off with wives. Husbands, parents and children… you will get yours next, but for now its “ladies first.”

Today’s message will be slightly different in that we are really doing a topical exposition. This entire sermon is about one short topic from one verse. My goal is to bring the components you need to understand how to live for Christ in the area of submission.

5 Truths for Understanding a Wife’s Privilege of Submission (Colossians 3:18)

  1. The unfashionable principle of submission

  2. The unmistakable priority of submission

  3. The universal problem with submission

  4. The unnatural power for submission

  5. The unexpected payoff from submission

Putting on Christ

An Exposition of Colossians 3:12-17

We are called to serve the body with our spiritual gifts. We are called to give generously to the Lord in our offerings. We are called to disciple and witness to unbelievers and many other responsibilities.

But a passage like this is so essential because it is possible to do all the things I listed and be immature in the faith. Certainly they will all be present in the life of a believer, but even unbelievers do those things. Unbelievers serve and give and study.

So, the mere presence of spiritual activity and sacrifice in your life isn’t an evidence of maturity. What is an evidence of maturity is Christlike character. The evidence that you are mature is godliness that comes from the Lord.

Paul calls it the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. By that he means the product of the Spirit being at work in the life of a person. And so, this week as we move from

  1. One who treasures Christ above all else (1-4)

  2. One who mortifies sin upon seeing it for what it is (5-11)

  3. One who models Christ magnifying him on earth (12-17)

When you belong to Christ and know him, it shapes your attitude and then your behavior. 

4 Critical Areas We Must Model the Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Let the character of Christ define your demeanor (12-14)

  2. Let the peace of Christ be the umpire in your strife (15)

  3. Let the word of Christ permeate your life (16)

  4. Let the person of Christ impact all that you do (17)

It's Time to Part with Your Sin

An Exposition of Colossians 3:5-11

If you want to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ to have influence and impact in the kingdom, then this is where it’s all at. Fundamentals. The basics. Christianity 101. Treasure Christ. Kill sin. Model Christ.

Romans 8:13—if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body you will live. That means that this is not an optional pursuit.

Whatever you have heard about a Spirit-filled, Spirit-led life, this is a Spirit-empowered life. It isn’t in your ability to hear from God special messages, or heal people, or sense special things in prayer. A person who is full of the Spirit is a person who experiences the victory over sin that God has promised. That is a Spirit-filled person.

You must be willing to make a violent divorce with your old life.

3 Characteristics of a Thriving Christian (Be Who You Are)

  1. One who treasures Christ above all else (1-4)

  2. One who mortifies sin upon seeing it for what it is (5-11)

  3. One who models Christ magnifying him on earth (12-17)

Colossians 3:1-11 (ESV)—1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 

(5) Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Treasure Christ Above All Else

An Exposition of Colossians 3:1-4

Our obedience flows out of the relationship we have with God, which is based upon his grace alone. But we can live below our calling. That’s why we titled this Be who you are… it is a call to live in light of who the Bible says you are, namely a saint, a child, a friend, an heir, a dearly beloved one of God.

3 Characteristics of a Thriving Christian (Be Who You Are)

  1. One who treasures Christ above all else (1-4)

  2. One who mortifies sin upon seeing it for what it is (5-11)

  3. One who models Christ magnifying him on earth (12-17)

    Colossians 3:1–4 (ESV)—1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Lagging Behind the Servant Savior, Round 3

An Exposition of Mark 10:32-45

Allow me to set before today the paradigm that is to govern your thinking: humble sacrifice is the path to glory. Not some cheap version of servant-leadership, but a personal lowliness that serves eagerly, cheerfully, and without personal expectations.

The disciples disregard Jesus as he promotes servanthood and they promote themselves.

Three Scenes As The DisciplesDisregard Jesus’ Plan of Suffering (Again)

  1. Jesus reviews how his earthly mission will end (32-34)

  2. Jesus regulates the disciples’ desire for prominence (35-41)

  3. Jesus repeats a vision of true greatness through service (42-45)

The Man Who Needs Nothing, Not Even Jesus

An Exposition of Mark 10:17-31

Today in our passage, Jesus is going to break common misconceptions about salvation. Namely, that God helps those who help themselves, or God saves good people. God only saves bad people. Period.

Salvation is by God’s power and grace to those who embrace Jesus as their only hope, not to those feel good about their own achievements. And to be saved means submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord of all.

Mark 10:17–31—17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 “You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’ ” 20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

Let's Pretend Jesus Isn't Raised

An Exposition of 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

Paul is going to use a specific type of conditional statement throughout this section where what he does is says, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that it is true that Christ isn’t raised. I want to demonstrate your bad thinking by taking it to its logical conclusion. Let’s play this thing out together.

Jesus of Nazareth was God and man united in one person. That one person died. The body stopped breathing, no pulse, no brainwaves, no circulation. The soul lived on, as is the cause when we die. Then the body of Jesus was raised in newness of life, in resurrection power, and his soul was reunited to his body. 

If you deny the bodily resurrection, then you deny this reality. We don’t have enough details to know how the Corinthians who were struggling with this doctrine reconciled these things. It is suggested that perhaps they denied the humanity of Jesus. The challenge I see is that Paul doesn’t ever correct them for disbelieving in a resurrected Christ. It seems to me that they were believing that Jesus was raised. The problem then is that there other position is inconsistent.

What Paul does next is not an argument for the resurrection. He doesn’t appeal to their faith and say, “think of how sad and hopeless you would be without the resurrection… it must be true.” It isn’t emotional reasoning. It isn’t working backwards from faith. It isn’t a proof. Paul gives the evidence before and after this paragraph. Here he is playing out the fact that all of Christianity hangs on whether or not Jesus actually rose bodily from the grave or not.

If you are playing Jenga, theology-edition, the crucifixion block is the one block that will always knock the entire stack over. It is a lynchpin, it is a keystone, it is the essential ingredient. You takeaway Jesus conquering the grave and you lose Christianity.

So, Paul now adopts that line of thinking. Let’s play this thing out to its logical end. I’m going to take up this new premise: Jesus did not rise from the dead. With that new premise in mind here are six necessary conclusions that will result.

6 Tragic Consequences if Christ Isn’t Raised (1 Cor. 15:12-19)

Paul’s argument is established in vv. 12-13, repeated in v. 16

  1. Preaching is pointless (14a)
  2. Believing is worthless (14b)
  3. Apostles are misleading (15)
  4. Salvation is nonexistent (17)
  5. Death is decisive (18)
  6. Christians are pathetic (19)

1 Corinthians 15:12–19—12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

Mission Accomplished

An Exposition of John 19:28-30

Friends, in our passage this morning today we are going to see that Jesus is bringing his earthly mission to a close today. He is reaching the final point of the work he came to do. He has been preparing for this moment for thousands of years and now it’s finally here.

The work needed to save sinners is finally complete. For Jesus, this moment marks, mission accomplished. Jesus Christ came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:12) and so here it is.

Turn with me in your Bibles to the Gospel of John:

John 19:28-30—28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. 30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

Learning from the Little Ones

An Exposition of Mark 10:13-16

Today Jesus is going to challenge the status quo as it pertains to children. I titled this Learning Lessons from Little Ones because there are multiple lessons going on here. This isn’t just a lesson on loving little people. That’s part of the text. God loves children as we will see today.

But this passage is also very clearly about discipleship. There’s teaching about becoming a Christian and what it means to relate to the Lord Jesus Christ as a disciple. There’s teaching broadly about the value and worth of others, that when it comes to other humans you can’t value a book by the dust jacket.

So today Jesus is absolutely going to teach us about how much he loves children, and beyond that how children demonstrate principles of God’s kingdom. These were important lessons for the disciples to learn, and now you and I as well.

4 Activities as Jesus Captures a Teachable Moment with Youngsters

  1. Jesus chastises the disciples for dismissing them (13-14a)
  2. Jesus clarifies his perspective concerning them (14b)
  3. Jesus capitalizes on them for an object lesson (15)
  4. Jesus cares for them personally and spiritually (16)

Mark 10:13–16—13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.

Marriage, By God's Design - Part 2

An Exposition of Mark 10:1-12 - Part Two

Today the text before us involves Jesus getting pulled right into the middle of a public controversy over the heated issue of divorce. Specifically, the question relates to when divorce is sanctioned by God and when it’s not. 

But Jesus has spent his time so far building a biblical theology of marriage. That’s what we looked at last week. Now this week, after reestablishing God’s perspective, Jesus gets to the matter of divorce. 

4 Points as Jesus Corrects a Corrupt View of Marriage (10:1-12)

  1. The critical setting for the lesson (1-2)
  2. The common abuse of Scripture (3-4)
  3. The careful affirmation of God’s design (5-9) 
  4. The concluding application (10-12) developing the doctrine

Marriage, By God's Design - Part 1

An Exposition of Mark 10:1-12 - Part One 

Today we will return to the record of the life and ministry of Jesus as told by Mark. We will be in Mark 10:1-12. And this passage of Scripture is Mark’s version of a lengthy discussion by Jesus on the issue of divorce. Divorce is an important topic, and one which God’s people need to understand the mind of God concerning.

And although divorce is the central, presenting issue, Jesus will actually spend most of his time reaffirming God’s original design for marriage. A proper understanding of divorce begins with a proper view of marriage. 

4 Points as Jesus Corrects a Corrupt View of Marriage (10:1-12)

  1. The critical setting for the lesson (1-2)
  2. The common abuse of Scripture (3-4)
  3. The careful affirmation of God’s design (5-9)
  4. The concluding application (10-12) developing the doctrine

The Distinctiveness of Christian Love

An Exposition of 1 John 4:7-12

God’s people love one another. It is a truism. It isn’t an aspiration or something that we hope is true. Rather, when someone encounters the life-transforming power of God in the Gospel they are given a new identity and brought into the family of God, and they are compelled to have a love for the brethren.

In fact, this is one of the ways that you know you are saved. One marker of your assurance of salvation is a supernatural love for God’s people. John makes that clear throughout this little letter.

By way of implication then, when you encounter someone who says, “I love Jesus, I just don’t love his people or the church.” That person has no biblical grounds for assurance that they in fact know Jesus in a saving way. I’m not making a personal judgment when I say that, I’m just applying the words of John to a practical situation:

1 John 4:20–21—20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

John Provides 4 God-Centered Encouragements for Self-Sacrificing Love 

  1. Your Mandate (7a, 11) God commands love
  2. Your Motivation (7b-8) God causes love
  3. Your Model (9-10) God characterizes love
  4. Your Mark (12) God completes love

Gripped by the Greatness of God

An Exposition of Psalm 90:1-17

Today we are going to head back to the Old Testament and spend the morning in the Psalter. The Psalms are essentially songs that were penned in a variety of settings. Some were personal prayers, others were designed for corporate worship. Some Psalms were laments (crying out to God about suffering and pain) others were psalms of praise (extoling the greatness of God), psalms of imprecation (calling down judgment on God’s enemies).

We sing them, pray them, meditate upon them. And we are instructed by them. But the Psalms instruct us in a different manner than other parts of Scripture because they are poetic expressions of the heart.

It is different than the letters written to the churches, it is different than the narrative (story) portions of the Bible, and it is different from prophecy or doctrinal portions of the Bible. It is deeply experiential.

And so, when we encounter Psalms it is a window into rich expressions of theology. We see what it looks like for God’s people to relate to their God.

This morning we will be in Psalm 90. Psalm 90 or at least portions of it are well known. And the theme of this psalm is the greatness of God contrasted with human limitations. Psalm 90 is the only psalm we have that was written by Moses, making it the oldest psalm.

The psalm breaks down into two main sections—a consider of God’s character compared with man in vv. 1-11, and then a prayer in vv. 12-17. I made one more subsection and broke this into three sections.

Moses Offers a Precious, Three-Part Psalm to God

  1. Praises God’s eternality compared to our limitations (1-6)
  2. Ponders God’s wrath in light of our unworthiness (7-11)
  3. Prays for God’s favor because of our neediness (12-17)

Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine

An Exposition of Romans 5:1-11

Salvation isn’t gained by anything you have, but rather it is personally given as a gift. What guarantees your salvation? What guarantees your entrance into heaven? What gives you confidence that you will endure to glory? Your personal steadfastness? Your personal grit? Keeping your life free from sin?

As believers we hope not in ourselves, but in God. We hope that He who started a good work will be faithful to complete it in us (Philippians 1:6).

We are to think of God’s love for us, not in general sentiment, but in concrete and detailed reality. God doesn’t love you because He is generally good, or you aren’t too bad, or He recognizes that compared to the worst of the worst, you may not be the best of the best, but you aren’t that bad… instead, our confident assurance is rooted and grounded in the distinct expression of God’s love for us in the death of Christ. He killed His son to uphold His perfect justice for punishing sin, and simultaneously reconcile you to Himself.

4 Realities of the Cross that Result in Joy and Confidence

  1. The cross reverses your hopeless condition (1-2)
  2. The cross redeems your earthly suffering (3-5a)
  3. The cross reveals your Father’s love (5b-8)
  4. The cross reassures your glorious future (9-11)

The Price of Personal Ambition

An Exposition of Mark 9:38-50

Jesus continues to define discipleship for his men. He is graciously showing them that it is impossible to live their lives for the sake of personal significance and simultaneously follow Him. The paths are exclusive. 

At this point they have left this life behind to follow Jesus. They are believers. They counted the cost and gave up business interests, family comforts, reputation, and their own sin to follow Jesus. And yet they are still struggling to let go of the remaining self-love.

Jesus is going to train them by showing them the price of their sin. We are given many incentives in the Christian life. God reminds us of our new identity in Christ, He uses the testimony of those who have gone before us, He reminds us of our spiritual privileges, He promises rewards, and then at times, He motivates us by showing us the price of our sin.

Sin is expensive. Of course, it doesn’t seem that costly up front. Like sitting down with a trustworthy-looking loan officer who assures you that you are getting the deal of a lifetime, but doesn’t explain your interest rate or payment until after the paperwork is signed, the true cost of your sin isn’t immediately obvious. 

Oftentimes we see it in hindsight. But rather than wait to learn through hard knocks, Jesus gives the price tag up front this week. Selfishness is destructive and expensive. It costs you and it costs others.

3 Costs of Un-mortified Ambition

  1. The welfare of your siblings (38-42)
  2. The destiny of your soul (43-48)
  3. The usefulness of your service (49-50)