Hello my friends. Today is our last day. Well done! You finished what you started - that's a real sign of character. Seriously. And you're probably wondering - what's next? So today we review what we learned, and plan your next steps.
There's a verse at the end of Colossians that fits well. Verse 17:
"Tell Archippus: 'See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.'"
Interesting. We don't know Archippus, and we don't know his ministry. But we know it mattered. One person matters immensely to God, and God's calling in one person's life matters to their world. So Paul tells him, "complete the ministry." Finish what you started.
And that's my message for you. I don't know you personally, but I know you matter to God, and I know your ministry will make a difference. You have a purpose and a calling - so finish the work. First, let's review.
Our journey began with two simple words: "Follow me." And that's been our story from beginning to end - following Jesus. Along the way, we saw Jesus heal the sick, calm the storm, forgive wretched sinners and truly restore people. And the disciples were part of the work, and so are you.
In Mark 8, Jesus called the disciples to commitment:
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me" (Mark 8:34).
And the disciples followed. With the rich young ruler, we learned that following Jesus means letting go of idols like money and pride. And we learned God's greatest commands: love God and love your neighbor. And above all, we learned just how much God loves us. Jesus gave his very life for to save us.
And remember - we don't earn it. We don't pay the price for our sins, and we don't make ourselves good. Jesus died to pay the full price, and he rose again to give us new life. Grace. Our job is to live a life worthy of His calling.
That brings us to Colossians. How do we live it? Two simple words: follow Jesus. Only now instead of following footsteps, you have Christ in you. Now the Holy Spirit guides you through life, as you take off the old self and put on the new.
And the Spirit gives you a new set of habits. Remember - these aren't got-to's, they're get-to's. And they’re a great place to start your next steps:
Start a Bible habit. Set a time each day to open the Bible and read. We have great reading plans here on the Bible app to keep you going, and I especially like the plans that walk through one Bible book at a time. Or you could start this plan over again. This time invite a friend to join you. And that brings me to…
Start a fellowship habit. Get connected with other believers. We are called to love, and that requires time together. That's what church is for. Remember, church is not a performance that you watch, it's a fellowship. So get involved. Get real and personal, share your heart, confess your sins, pray together and find healing. And it's a great place to…
Start a service habit. That's ministry. Look for opportunities to help others in simple ways. One great way to help is…
Start a prayer habit. Remember that prayer isn't about getting what you want, it's about getting closer to God. So open up, share your heart, your needs, and pray for others too.
And there will be more new habits: confession habit, making disciples habit. But if this starts to feel like a to-do list, slow down. Remember - it's not following rules, it's following Jesus. So keep it simple, focus on Him, and let the Spirit guide you.
And remember that you're not being conformed into a cookie-cutter Christian.You are being transformed from the inside out - remade into the image of God that you were meant for. For example: one of your new habits will be giving. But you don't give money to earn points with God. You give because God is a giver, and you’re learning to be generous like him.
So, time to get started. There's adventure ahead. There are journeys in life and journeys through the Bible. God has a work for you, so finish what you started. But it's not your work alone, it's His work, and:
"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion" (Philippians 1:6).
This isn't just about you finishing your work, it's about God finishing His work in you. So fix your eyes on Jesus, the "pioneer and perfecter" of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). He started this - He will finish it. And remember, you are never alone. He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus’ final words to the disciples in Matthew's gospel are:
"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).