Sunday Message January 20th, 2002

It is in the Doing

Scripture: (Colossians 3:23 KJV) And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

It is said that Chief Crowfoot was the greatest of all the Blackfoot Chiefs. I was interested in this story having been told that I was 1/4 or 1/8 or at least had a little Blackfoot Indian in me. I always wondered how a blond haired, blue eyed man could have Indian blood in him, but now I look at the size and shape of my nose and I see where it could be. Crowfoot was not born a Blackfoot Indian. In fact he was born around 1821 a Blood Indian. After his father died, most likely in a conflict with the Crow Indians, Crowfoot moved north into Blackfoot territory with his mother's new husband. Blackfoot was actually given his name because of his many successful expeditions against the Crow Indian tribe. Around the 1870's the Canadian Pacific Railroad was laying track across Blackfoot land. After signing Treaty #7 Blackfoot brought peace to the Tribe. In return he received a lifetime pass on the railway. He wore that pass proudly around his neck. He made a nice leather pouch for it and splendidly displayed his pass like a great trophy. The interesting thing is, he never used that pass. He could have spent the rest of his life riding in first-class comfort on the railways of North America. Instead he died in poverty and alone in 1890. The greatest Chief of the Blackfoot tribe and no one remembers his name. Then in the midst of this story there is another name you should know. that is the name of Father Lacombe. This was the man that showed the Blackfoot nation the love of Christ. He did not wear purple flowing robes or fancy clothing but he wore the richness of the LORD and freely gave it to the people that God had sent him to serve. Before I go any further I want to have you read Chief Crawford's death bed speech. 

"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is a the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset." 

I actually took some time the other day and thought of some of the wonderful sunsets I have seen in my life. Then I drove to the shore and took in another one. It was amazing. Sometimes we all get so busy and wrapped up in the stuff of life that we forget to enjoy it. I think when that happens we forget what a gift it truly is. Let me quickly give you the preposition of today's message then I will continue just rambling on and maybe God will somehow use these seemingly random thoughts to bring a newness back to your life. Take a deep breath and let it out. --- That's life. Feel the blood flowing though your veins? That's life. Stretch your muscles and feel the life within them. Oh, if we only realized the wonder of it and the ultimate shortness of it, we would somehow make better use of it.   

If we read this third chapter of Paul's letter to the Colossians we can learn some wonderful fundamentals of the Christian faith mixed in with wisdom of the ages. I remember preaching from this passage in the past and I talked about how somehow in today's socialy it almost seems like the above passage should say whatever you do, give it your all as unto men and not as unto the LORD. The basic reason I said that is because of the lack of passion I see in the Church. Yet look in the work place people are putting in extra hours, working of the clock, going the extra mile, closing the deal, yada,yada, yada, yada. Not that that is a bad thing, what I am asking you today is to define your priorities. Even in the ministry, marriages are falling apart because ministers are putting their calling before their families. That is not what God intended. There is no peace in this world. There is no resting place.

God has a purpose and a plan for your life. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

So the first thing we need to do is to put our trust in Him. I have to remark about how we have gotten back to normal after the attack on the World Trade Centers on September 11th. Not only are we back to the same old dog-eat-dog, but I think we have even kicked up the road rage a notch or two. Unbelievable! Why are so many people so upset? They run this rat race called life and the wheel goes round and round yet they are never satisfied they are never set free. Proverbs 27:20 tells us that hell and destruction are never satisfied and neither are the eyes of man. What is it that you are striving for? There is so much more you could accomplish simply by resting in the LORD and seeking His will for your life. Jesus told us how the Father knows of all the things that we have need of, but if we would just seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, all the other things would be added onto us. And I know first hand that that is real hard to take by faith when you are living from paycheck to paycheck and there ends up being more month then money, But God has always made a way and He will continue to. The difference is going to be on the inside of you. Peace be still and know that God is still on the throne. Peace be still and listen to the heart of God. Peace be still and receive from the LORD the refreshing waters of life.

It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Me, I like to try to keep it simple. Let's look at some of the fundamentals that Paul is teaching in this one chapter then see how we can apply them to our lives to, I don't know, maybe, make our lives a little better. What a concept. But let's first back up to the second chapter and see why Paul is writing these instructions to us.

 (Colossians 2:2 NIV) My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

OK, let's get right down to it. You have got to stand for something or you are going to fall for anything. We have got to stop riding the fence and become the men and women of God that we have been called to be. It has become too easy for us to rationalize our sin, calling it a life style. It has become too easy for us to make up our own moral codes suggesting that there are no absolutes. And even in that, justifying our breaking of the commandments of God by telling ourselves Oh, well, we all fall short, I am only human, blah, blah, blah... Excuses for not standing up to our own commitments, letting other people with educated language sway us away from what the Word of God calls right. Until we end up calling that which is evil good and the good we call evil. It is time to bring all of that under control. It is time for us as Christians to take that lifetime pass from around our neck and ride that train bound for glory. Hear what Paul says in the third chapter of Colossians:

  (Colossians 3:1-5 NIV) (Col 3:1 NIV) Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

I am running out of time so let me quickly get this in. In the above passage Paul explains how we are dead and therefore need to mortify our bodies. In another passage Paul tells how he dies daily. Someone once said of this idea of dieing to ourselves that a dead man can not sin. A dead person can not lie or steal or commit any type of offence because they are dead. But we know that we are not physically dead but we need to put an end to. or bring about the death of our affection for the things of this world and set our renewed minds on the things above. So in this born again life of ours we die to the sinful nature of man and give birth to the new creation within us which is in the very likeness of Christ Jesus Himself. Here is how Paul put it: 

 (Colossians 3:12-17 NIV) Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The simple truth is that salvation is free. If you have never received Jesus Christ as your LORD and savior then now is the time. God Himself took on the flesh of a man in the person of Jesus and lived a sinless life on this earth. He was crucified and died as a pure sacrifice, payment for our sins. For the wages of sin is death. Without Him we are dead already but the good news is that He rose form the grave overcoming death itself. As we put our faith and trust and hope in Him and follow Him we too are renewed, revived and raised with Him. If you have never said yes to Jesus then I beg you right now to accept the free gift of forgiveness and eternal life by asking Jesus into your heart. Those of us who have known the joy of His salvation continue to be drawn closer to Him each and every day. May He be your comfort, your resting place, your strength in times of trouble, your joy in times of praise. Let all of us no longer seek vainly after the things of this world but let us do all things whether in the job, in the home, at school, with our friends, at church whereever, whatever let God be glorified in our lives.