Our church vision statement is “Called Together for the Renewal of All Things through Jesus Christ.” I love this vision because it demonstrates the big-ness of the gospel, emphasizing that God is on a mission to change everything, even the material world that he made and we inhabit. I love being a part of a church that has a vision for the renewal of institutions, communities and cities. Yet we must never forget that God is absolutely committed to people more than anything else. The Father sent the Son in the power of the Spirit not just to open the way to eternal life for sinners, but also to change sinners that we might become more and more like the Son. God’s vision of renewal begins with people.
The book of Colossians is, among many things, a treatise on how people change. This book demonstrates that Paul longs to see that his friends are not only saved but that they are also actively involved in a process of personal change. “Christ we proclaim,” Paul writes, “warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present every person mature in Christ” (Col 1:28). Paul longs to see every single believer “grow up” to become the mature person that God intends them to be, cast in the beautiful image of Jesus, the perfect human. Paul says that his entire ministry is about this, as he works tirelessly toward this goal with the energy and power of Jesus (1:29).
This Sunday we’ll introduce what this process of personal change is all about by looking at Colossians 3:1-4. In this little section we’ll see that in Paul’s mind the key to personal change is our union with Jesus. Our new identity as people “in Christ” is the key to personal change. It is not that we begin with the hope that we will one day become the new person we want to be. According to Paul, we begin already as the new person we are “in Christ,” and then we work to become more and more of who God has already made us to be in Him. I know this sounds very confusing! But we will try to work out the implications of all this as we begin together this Sunday.
In preparation, I encourage you to read Colossians 1 and 2 to understand the context of the third chapter. Especially look for all the times that Paul mentions that we are “in Christ.”
Our weekly worship guide can be found here once finalized.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.