Our Father Moves His Family

July 10, 2022; Rev. Kurt A. Lantz, Pastor
Proper 10 C. good samaritan van gogh.jfif

The Father Moves His Family

 

Rev. Kurt Lantz Proper 10 C Colossians 1:1-14

July 10, 2022 Resurrection Lutheran Church St. Catharines, ON

 

 

Dear saints and faithful brothers in Christ,

 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father (Colossians 1:2).

 

How important to you is your bedroom? Does it show what kind of a person you are by the colour of the walls, the blanket on your bed, or the things on the shelves? Does the state of order or disorder in your bedroom reflect the rest of your life? What about your house? What does your house reflect about your family? Or, perhaps now we could ask how is your family life affected by the house that you live in? Is it inviting to others or closed off? What about the neighbourhood that you live in, your city or town, and the country you live in? How do these impact your life?

 

This Sunday we begin a series of Epistle Readings from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians which will take us through the rest of the month of July. It is not a very long letter, so I would recommend that you read it all the way through at least once a week this month. For Christ comes to us in His Word, including His Word given through the Apostle Paul, and if the letter to the Colossians emphasizes anything from beginning to end, it is that we live in Christ, and that happens through the power of His almighty Word.

 

As the country and neighbourhood that you live in has an effect on your life, so does living in Christ. And as the house or bedroom where you dwell reflect your life, so is your life in Him reflected in how you live outwardly. St. Paul began his letter to the Colossians by thanking God for what He has done for them in bringing them into His beloved Son; and what they have done in reflection to their life in Christ Jesus.

 

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,... just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant” (Colossians 1:3-5, 7).

 

Thank God that He has brought your life into Christ through faith. By hearing the promises of God from His Word preached to you by servants of the Gospel, like the Colossians heard from their pastor, Epaphras, your heavenly Father has caused you to believe the wonderful things that are yours as you live your life in Christ by faith. Living in Christ has its effect on you, just as the neighbourhood where you live and the state of your bedroom have their effect.

 

Think of this nation in which you live. Think of its vast landscape, its relative peace and freedom. Think also of its social morality and structure. Some of this gives us confidence in our life as Canadians. Some of it causes us to worry. Some of it makes us optimistic for how things will play out in the long run, even if we are experiencing difficult times right now. St. Paul noted for the Colossians that because of their life of faith in Christ, they have hope for the things laid up for them in heaven. Your life in Christ gives you hope for better things to come, which allows you to stand firm in times of trial.

 

Think now of your home and its different rooms, the decor and atmosphere inside your house. It might be cheery or drab. It may show things re-purposed with a determination to make the most out of everything; or a bunch of tired old stuff that is there because there is a lack of energy to make things better. It may be ready with room for visitors or full of things to give out as soon as you hear someone is in need. Can you see how your life is reflected in your home outwardly and inwardly?

 

So it is with your life in Christ. You are shaped outwardly and inwardly by the fact that you live in Him. St. Paul noted for the Colossians the love that they have for all the saints. That is shown both outwardly and inwardly, as demonstrated in the Gospel lesson about the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35). Because we live in Christ, who lovingly came to save us all, we love others both inwardly and outwardly, with acts of care and with heartfelt compassion.

 

The state of your life in Christ through faith is seen in the love that you have for the saints. And the security of your life in Christ rests in the hope that you have for the things laid up for you in heaven. This love and hope are not things that come from within you. If they are, you know that they can quickly disappear (both your love for others and your hope), and they both tend to disappear together, leaving you rather empty. But if you are in Christ, then these things are yours flowing from Him, and He has these things in inexhaustible supply.

 

Living in Christ through faith, Christians have love for all the saints and hope for things laid up in heaven. As St. Paul expounds on these things through his letter to the Colossians, we will take them up over the next few Sundays. Today it is enough that we see that this life we have in Christ is an undeserved gift from God our loving heavenly Father. That is why Paul begins by thanking Him for all of this.

 

Life comes from our parents, even in regard to where we live and how we live there. We inherit from them not only homes but also abilities and work ethic. So our life in Christ is due to our heavenly Father making us His children through faith in Christ Jesus. Not only does Paul thank Him, as should we all, but he declares in no uncertain terms that the Father has qualified us to share in the hope of the saints (v. 12). “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (v. 13). He has moved us into a new home.

 

We like to take credit and responsibility for the places where we live. We like to take pride in our house and home, for they do take effort to maintain and improve. It is no small task. There are improvements and upgrades happening at the parsonage right now. Some of them are done by trained tradesmen, other things are being done with a little skill and sweat by the tenants. It would be wrong for any party to take all the credit just because they supplied some money to pay the trades or some time for voluntary work. It is all truly supplied by our heavenly Father as He works in the lives of those whom He has made His children to accomplish these things.

 

When it comes to our life in Christ, we are neither trained nor skilled workers. In fact, we are quite ignorant, blind, and helpless. Like infants we are dependent upon receiving shelter from the one who has given us life. We have no spiritual knowledge or acumen, yet the Father has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints of light. He has supplied us with the papers that show we are qualified for our life in Christ.

 

Those papers are the Holy Scriptures, the paper upon which is written the very Word of God which shows that we have been redeemed for this life in Christ. He has given us all of the spiritual gifts necessary to live a life of love and hope. He has put it in writing that no one can question, not even us. We can only thank our Father that He has qualified us to live in Christ where we can truly love inwardly and outwardly.

 

This life that we have in Christ is a move up. It is not that we have found a better neighbourhood or been able to afford a bigger house. Rather, the heavenly Father has moved us. He has packed us up and delivered us from a domicile of darkness and transported us to the stately mansion of His beloved Son. We possessed no collateral that would get us any kind of loan or mortgage. We had nothing to make a down payment. On the contrary, we were heavily in debt with sin, well over our heads and utterly unable to make a move.

 

But our heavenly Father was willing to pay the price for the entire debt, not only making the down payment but producing the full purchase price. He gave His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (v. 14). This is what it cost to move us from one place to another, from a place of dark depravity in selfish sin to a neighbourhood that we love, because it is full of neighbours to be loved and we have been given a bountiful supply of heavenly love.

 

We thank the Father who has given us life, life in Christ, full of love and hope. We thank the Father by whose will Paul was sent out with Timothy to convey this good news of the Gospel truth. We thank the Father for all the fellow servants, like Epaphras, and our own pastors, who as faithful ministers have taught us the grace of God in truth and administered the love He gives in the Sacraments which keep our life in Christ.

 

The heavenly Father not only gave the life of His only-begotten Son to redeem us from sin and death, even that was not enough to convey His unfathomable love for you, He has also brought your life into the life of His Son. We don’t just live forgiven by Christ. We live in Christ, and that is a home filled with nothing but love for us and a never-failing hope for those things laid up for us in heaven, our eternal home with the Father.

 

 

Grace be with you.