FCQ. 116 – What do we pray fourth? "Give us today our daily bread."
FCQ. 117 – What does it mean to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread"? We are asking God to provide us with all that we really need.
Shorter Catechism Questions:
SCQ. 100 – What does the preface of the Lord's Prayer teach us? The preface of the Lord's Prayer, which is, Our Father in heaven, teaches us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father, able and ready to help us; and that we should pray with and for others.
There is no greater description of Christ than the majestic picture Paul paints in verses 15-18.It is not only a majestic picture, but also a full and complete picture: Jesus Christ fully God and fully man.Paul had to proclaim the whole Christ to the Colossians because it takes the whole Christ to reconcile man to God and God to man.
Last week we saw that Christ created all things for his own glory so that he may be preeminent.Something happened that attempted to dethrone Christ.Sin entered the world.In the argument of Colossians, that happened between verses 18 and 19.In verses 19-20 all creation is reconciled to God.In verses 21-23, the sinner is reconciled to God.
I.The Cosmos Reconciled to God through Christ, 19-20.
A.God created everything perfect.
Gen. 1:31 – Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it wasvery good.
B.And the material creation is not morally good or bad; therefore, creation doesn't have to be delivered from the guilt of sin and be reconciled to God.
C.Yet creation is in bondage to sin because it was cursed as a consequence of Adam's sin.
Gen. 3:17-19 – Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return."
D.In this sense creation is in need of reconciliation with God and in need of peace.
E.Here is God's plan, 19.
1.It pleased the Father that the Son take upon himself a human nature.
2.It pleased the Father that in the man Jesus Christ the fullness of deity should dwell, that is, should be present, 2:9.
a.In Jesus Christ, humanity meets God.
b.Being God and being man at the same time and bringing these two natures together in harmony makes Jesus the perfect Savior.
1 Jn. 4:12-16 – No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
3.It pleased the Father to reconcile everything to himself through the blood of Christ, 20.
a.Here all things stand for all things that were cursed as a result of sin of Adam.
b.Angels are not part of that group; therefore, fallen angels are not reconciled to God through Christ.
4.At the center of the plan is the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, on the cross – through the blood of his cross.
5.These two verses describe the redemption of the universe, including us – reconciliation = restoration of fellowship between man and God.
F.The cross of Christ has already secured that cosmic peace and sovereign rule that hasn't yet fully manifested.
1.The blood of Christ guarantees that the curse over creation is taken care of even though it hasn't yet been lifted in practice.
a.We still labor by the sweat of our brow.
b.So, elsewhere Paul speaks of the creation groaning as it waits for that day when what Christ secured for it on the cross is applied to it.
Rom. 8:18-23 – For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.Not only that,but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
2.But the day is coming when this reconciliation will be clearly manifested.
Rev. 22:1-3 – And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.
Phil 2:10-11 – … that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ isLord, to the glory of God the Father.
3.The point that Paul is preparing to make is this: there is really only one way o be reconciled in the entire universe, the God-Man Jesus Christ, so Colossians, don't add anything to him.
a.You see, the false teachers that had infiltrated the church weren't telling the church to turn away from Jesus.
b.They were encouraging them to add to Jesus because the Jesus of the apostolic Gospel wasn't quite sufficient for them.
c.Chapter 2 lists at least two things the false teachers were encouraging the Colossians to add to the Gospel of Christ:
1)A philosophical system that only they could teach, 2:8-10.
2)A list of DO's and DON'T's, 2:16-18, 20-22.
4.The adding to Jesus is a much more subtle, prevalent, and common error that afflicts the church – more on this later.
II.The Sinner Reconciled to God through Christ, 21-23.
A.Paul wants to drive the point home – yes, there is a sense in which the visible universe has been guaranteed reconciliation, but the main point of Christ's reconciling work is to reconcile sinners to God and God to sinners.
B.Here we find one of Paul's favorite literary constructions: "You once were … but now you are…."
1.The reconciled sinner was alienated from God, that is, the God of the Bible was far from him and he was far from the God of the Bible, 21.
2.The reconciled sinner was an enemy of God.
a.He wasn't neutral toward God.
b.Notice that the enmity of the sinner toward God is a mindful one as evidenced by their wicked works.
C.The manner of the reconciliation: the death of Christ, 22.
1.Paul uses an awkward expression to talk about the death of Christ – the body of the flesh – two reasons for this expression:
a.To avoid confusion with the last time he used the word body, 1:18.
b.To cement even more the reality of the full humanity of Jesus, something the false teachers may have been denying.
2.Christ reconciles sinners in order to present them holy to the Father.
Eph. 5:27 – … that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Jude 24 – Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy….
3.Christ does all that!
4.At the same time the reconciled sinner must continue in the faith, that is, the hope that in the content of the Gospel that Paul preached to them, 23.
a.Christ will present us holy by means of our being firmly established in the truth of the Gospel.
b.Again, Paul is laying the foundation in order to address the seriousness of not keeping the Gospel pure and biblical.
c.He is saying to the Colossians in a much nicer way what he said to the Galatians.
Gal. 3:1-3 – O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?—Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
D.In Christ, we are reconciled with God, that is, we have peace with God.
Rom. 5:1-5 – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
E.Paul calls himself a minister (servant) of this Gospel of hope and reconciliation, 23.
1.A quick note about this difficult clause – "… which was preached to every creature under heaven…."
a.A better translation of the same words is "… which was preached to all creation."
b.It is a fact that the Gospel had not been preached by the apostles all over the world, so what does Paul mean by this?
1)Perhaps in a Ps. 19 and Rom. 1 way where creation itself proclaims God, but that is not the Gospel.
2)Perhaps creation stands for the whole known world – by this time Christians had gone to all the corners of the Roman Empire.
3)Perhaps a hyperbole as a figure of speech to drive a point home.
2.Whatever that clause means, Paul's life calling was to serve this Gospel and he says that it is our calling as well.
2 Cor. 5:18-21 – Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
III.How Shall We then Live?
A.Douglas Moo helps us understand how the truth that God reconciles us to himself through the cross of Christ should direct our living.
"The 'peace' that God seeks is a peace that not only applies to humans in their relationship to God but also to humans in their relationship with one another (hence the mandate for social justice) and to humans in their relationship with the natural world (hence the mandate for a biblically oriented environmentalism)."Douglas Moo
B.Be reconciled with God in his terms.
1.This is not a bargaining process where God proposes something and you come back with a counter-proposal till you both can arrive at a negotiated agreement.
2.We are either reconciled to God through Christ and Christ alone or we are not.
3.So don't add anything to Christ.
C.Be reconciled to one another.
1.Paul says that we were made ministers of reconciliation through Jesus.
2.As ministers of reconciliation, we can't be striving against each other.
Rom. 6:5 – For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection….
a.God has brought you together into a common body.
b.He has freed you from sin.
c.Why stay in voluntary bondage to strife?
D.Be reconciled to the natural world – "This is my Father's world"
1.God created this world and Christ died for this world.
2.We are his managers.
3.Therefore, we must be responsible caretakers of it.
E.Be ministers of reconciliation
1.Proclaim the Gospel of reconciliation.
2.Be careful not to play a part in bringing sinful strife between people.
a.Things you say.
b.Things you do.
Let me end today with a quote by the prince of preachers, Charles Spurgeon.
"There has been a long-standing quarrel between God and man. It commenced in that day when our first parents hearkened to the serpent's voice and believed the devil rather than their Maker. Yet God is not willing for that quarrel to continue. According to the goodness of His nature, He delights in love. He is the God of Peace and He has, on His part, prepared everything that is necessary for a perfect reconciliation. His glorious wisdom has devised a plan whereby, with- out violating His Justice as the Judge of all the earth and without tarnishing His perfect holiness, He can meet man upon the ground of mercy and man can again become the Friend of God. That blessed work was done long ago and now all that remains is that man should be reconciled to God, that he should be willing to end the dispute and that his heart should turn towards his Maker again in love, peace and perfect reconciliation."
God has declared peace through Jesus Christ.In him, mortal enemies become friends.