Monday, June 05, 2006

Free in God's Kingdom

This may be the very last Release Time lesson, but at any rate, it's among the last. I love the Cosmic Christ of Colossians! In some texts indisputably by him, Paul of Tarsus is so into the Servant Jesus, while this deutero-Paul guy(?) presents us with the Pantocratur. Talk about phenomenally evocative imagery! In some ways this lesson is almost trivial, but again the longish scripture passage became an opportunity for words and Word to resonate.


• Strong

• Power

• Rescue

• darkness

• free

• Death

• redemption

• forgiven

• kingdom

• image

• created

• visible

• dwell

• reconcile

• peace

Colossians 1:11-20

11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers--all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

What does it mean to be free? Can you think of a time you couldn't do what you wanted? Couldn't go where you wanted? Couldn't dress the way you wanted to dress? In some ways you weren't free at those times.

God tells all of us in his Word, the Bible, that we need to know him in his Son, Jesus Christ, if we really want to be really free!!! The Bible tells us that as long as we do, say, or think unkind and unloving things we are not living like people who know Jesus and are followers of Jesus. The Bible tells us that when we act unloving and unkind we are unfree because we're not acting in the way that God says is best for us and for those around us. If we don't try our very best to treat each other with kindness and love, people will be afraid and unsure of what's going to happen to them. They'll want to protect and defend themselves, which will give them little time for caring about others. Can we live together and trust one another in that kind of world?
  • How do followers of Jesus act?
  • Are we following Jesus?
  • How do we act in different situations? Give some examples.
Jesus showed us how to live in this world so everyone is free because they've learned to live together in kindness and love. Jesus also gave us another very important kind of freedom; he gave us forgiveness of all our sin. Because we are forgiven, everything we've ever done wrong in the past is completely wiped out. It's as if we'd never done it, so we can live our lives right here and right now without even thinking about those parts of the past we'd just as soon forget.

Jesus gave us forgiveness by dying on the cross for us on Good Friday and by being raised from the dead to new life for us on Easter Sunday. In Jesus Christ's birth, life, death and resurrection God's plan for us to live close to him and to each other was fulfilled, or completed. Because of Jesus' death and resurrection we are free from the past mistakes and sins that separate us from one another.

When God forgives us and makes us free, we also become part of God's family, or Kingdom, the Reign or Rule of God here on earth.
  • What is a Kingdom?
  • Who is the Ruler or King in God's Kingdom?

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