Real Faith - Colossians 1:3-10
Today is a day of celebration - when Paityn and Grace demonstrate their faith in Jesus Christ by their baptisms. What do they need to know going forward? Also for everyone who has been baptized in Christ. Remember Colossians 1:3-10. Paul's prayer. Also my prayer for you today!
#1 - Do I have others ______________________ ?
"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you." / “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.” Colossians 1:3&9a NIV
Begins and ends with a prayer. Never be afraid or embarrassed about other people praying for you. You need those prayers. We all do. When someone tells me they are praying for me, I always say thank you. I need your prayers. How many here will commit to praying for Paityn & Grace?
#2 - Is my faith in Christ Jesus ________________ ?
“... because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus...” Col. 1:4a NIV
This is another question that will come up a lot in your lives. Expect it. Especially now. Your spiritual enemy, the devil, will battle you the hardest in the days to come because of your stand for Christ this day. One of his oldest ploys is to use our doubt against us. "Are you sure?" "How can you know?" "Oh you just sinned, and you call yourself a Christian?"
Here is a truth from your old pastor. You never ever stop asking yourself that question. Yes, you can grow more confident in your faith, but faith itself requires the seeds of doubt. If you didn't doubt, you couldn't have faith!
Today let's turn this question on its end and ask 6 indicators that will give us the answer to the "real deal" question of authentic faith.
#3 - My real faith gives me a ______________ for God's people.
“... and of the love you have for all God's people - ” Colossians 1:4b NIV
Real deal Christians love to hang out with other real deal Christians. There is a magnetic pull of togetherness. That doesn't mean that you won't have personality conflicts or prefer some friends over others. That's natural. But if you are a real deal Christian, you will want to spend time with other real deal Christians. That magnetic pull is Christ, the Holy Spirit within you. Others who have the same Spirit will also love you and want to be with you. Christianity is a together kind of faith. You'll want to pray together, learn together, serve together, love together.
There are 100 "one another" verses in the NT!
#4 - My real faith gives me a _____________ for my future.
“The faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you.” Colossians 1:5 NIV
Your future does not have a life expectancy of 70 years. As a Christ follower you have the eternal Spirit of Christ within you, Who will keep your real you alive long past when these bodies are old and worn out. In fact your hope is as eternal as your new Christian lives. Notice that hope for you is not earthly - dependent on the ups and downs of this life. It is stored in Heaven, where it will never decay. This doesn't mean that you'll not become discouraged or even depressed in this life. But if you choose it, you can always find hope because that is your Christian inheritance.
#5 - My real faith gives me a ______________ in what God is doing.
“In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world - just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God's grace.” Colossians 1:6 NIV
Just like you'll love to hang out with other Christians, you'll also love to hang out with God. And that means you'll love knowing what He's up to. You'll love learning about His movements and His grace showing up in surprising places.
Here's the struggle - this will require a little effort on your part. You certainly won't hear about God's grace in the media or news of our day. You'll need to choose your channels of information. You'll need to do a little digging. But it will be so rewarding and affirming, because it will affirm your faith in the risen, living Lord Jesus Christ!
#6 - My real faith leads me to _________________ to encourage me.
“You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.” Colossians 1:7-8 NIV
Paityn and Grace, I am so fortunate to be your pastor and to have the honor of baptizing you today. But I'm also very much aware that in just a few short years, you'll be heading out on your own. When you go to a new place, make finding a church home with a real pastor a priority.
What is a real pastor? One who preaches the real gospel, who prays with you, who encourages your faith, who seeks encouragement for his congregation from the Word of God and not just a popular speaker. Sadly, this will take a little work on your part. But so worth it!
#7 - My real faith leads me to ______________ to apply my faith.
“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives...” Col. 1:9 NIV
While we are on the subject of growing up and being out on your own soon, the next few years will be full of choices and decisions that will impact you for the rest of your lives. Over the next five years you'll choose your education, your career and possibly even your life mate!
You can't wait for the wisdom of your senior years because you need that wisdom in your Senior year!
You may not have all the knowledge and understanding that you'll have later in life right now, but you do have two things going for you in the guidance / wisdom department - if you'll choose to take advantage of it.
(1) The Holy Spirit within you.
(2) Your Christian community surrounding you - see #3! Make your priority to seek the will of God. Seek first His kingdom and you'll have all the rest!
#8 - My real faith leads me to _____________ worthy of our Lord.
“... so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work.” Colossians 1:10 NIV
I'm reminded this morning that Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that He came into this world so that you might have life to the full... to the max... to the most abundant! That's real life! It's totally the opposite of what our culture would have you believe. When they say "go for the gusto." Inherent in that philosophy is to do your own thing. To seek out what makes you most happy. If it feels good, do it. If it doesn't hurt anyone else and you want to do it, why not?
The really interesting thing about that verse where Jesus says He came that we might live life to the full (the go for the gusto part), is that right before it Jesus says the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
Today's cultural "go for the gusto" leaves out the most important part: to live a life worthy of the Lord and to please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work. That is the secret to real happiness and to a real life. All the rest leads to death and destruction. Don't fall for it. Keep your real faith. Live a real life worthy of our Lord! Live life to please Him!