Live Blog by Chipper Flaniken
Welcome to the live blog for the Henry Center’s Timothy Series message at the 11AM TEDS chapel service. This event will begin shortly (approximately 11:10).
Today’s speaker is Dave Johnson, pastor of the Church of the Open Door, Maple Grove, MN
David Johnson has been the senior pastor at Church of the Open Door in Maple Grove, Minnesota, since 1980. During this time, the church has grown from a congregation of 160 to 3,000 people. A much sought-after speaker, he is a graduate of Bethel College and received his theological training at Bethel Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His Growing in Grace radio broadcast is syndicated internationally. David and his family live in Minnesota.
Scripture reading: Colossians 1:3-8
We are going to talk this morning about hope – what we put our hope in – and what it’s like to lose hope.
Many of the people living in Colossi had lost their hope – they were living in the shadow of the Romans. Many had lost their lives or their land.
But still, Paul gives thanks at the opening of this passage! Paul has heard of the Colossian church and their faithfulness and love.
Faith and love are coming from the hope that the Colossians have. But where does the hope come from? The Word of Truth.
The war is over! The victory is won! Victory gives birth to hope.
The Central Question: What is this Word of Truth that stirred such faith and love in Colossi and beyond? This hope was being spawned in places where the circumstances seemed hopeless.
The human spirit is dependent on hope! We can suffer through almost anything – except the loss of hope.
We are all “hopers”. We hope we get jobs, we hope it’s not cancer, we hope our spouses come back.
But what if what you are hoping in doesn’t actually come to fruition? Paul was in a Roman prison – he certainly hoped to get out. But what if he didn’t?
So the people in Colossi are probably hoping the Caesar doesn’t notice their refusal to worship him. But what if he does notice?
So what is this Word of Truth that provides such hope?
See Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 15 – Paul condenses the gospel into just a few verses about Christ’s resurrection! This is where the hope comes from! Roman crosses and Caesars can kill you – but they can’t keep you because Christ has been raised.
So the Colossians apparently had this type of hope! Because their external circumstances would suggest otherwise
But the truth is – we don’t have death in our face everyday. So sometimes, the reality of heaven may not help us out much. It may not feel like a significant source of hope.
So what did Paul see that we have such a hard time seeing?
The faith and hope we are talking about is not born of pretending things are fine if they are not fine. It is not fairy dust that makes our problems go away!
- Paul saw his problems clearly. He even despaired of his life! He saw things and didn’t deny what he felt.
- The key is – he saw MORE! See 2 Cor.4:18
So the question for us is, what do we see?
In our personal battle to find hope in whatever circumstances we might be in, what do we see?
People full of faith – on a practical level – they live their lives with a conviction that there is more going on in life that what we can see with physical eyes. They don’t deny what is real.
Again, Paul didn’t pretend! He just saw more.
But it is so easy to forget this “more”. This is why we need community! We need to remind each other of these things.
- The people in Colossi saw the horrors of Rome and didn’t deny it. The felt the pain, but they saw more! This gave birth to faith and hope.
- Same example with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they were threatened with the furnace! They didn’t write off the furnace as if it wasn’t hot! Instead, they looked to God to rescue them from this furnace and refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar.
- Example of Caleb and Joshua – they saw more when the others around them wanted to give up.
- Example of Nehemiah – those living and working around him were losing hope. All they could see was rubble!
Does this happen to you? Does it often happen that you can’t see past the rubble? For example, can you see past the rubble in your marriage?
- When you make mistakes, what do you see? Everyone has made these types of mistakes. But in him we have redemption in the blood of Christ.
- Do you see this?
What is the rubble for you that has convinced you that you can’t rebuild?
- Sometimes our ability to see more is really a choice. We have to look at something else! And often we need someone in our life to help us stop moping! We have to be reminded of Heb. 12:2
- But sometimes when we try to see more, we can’t! And in cases like this we need a gift from God. To help us see what we can’t see. Recall 2 Kings 6! Sometimes God has to open our eyes!
- And remember – God is for us! See Romans 8:31-35!
- Nothing is able to separate us from the love of God! This is the ultimate Good News! This is Word of Truth that inspired love and faithfulness in the Colossians.
Thanks for joining us! Dave Johnson will be giving a second message on Thursday, April 22nd at 11AM. See you then!