Category Archives: Sermons

Colossians: Shadows

Sweet sunset 6Public Reading: Colossians 2:16-3:17

Author note: While teaching from this passage I felt led to go off my notes so the actual sermon is very, very different than these notes.

Sermon Notes
•    Paul is continuing on with the theme that he introduced a few verses beforehand
•    We are to walk after Jesus

o    Not to get caught up in human wisdom or philosophies

•    Jesus disarmed all the rulers and authorities of the world, spiritual and physical

o    Let us embrace Him
o    Let us walk forward, knowing that we died with Him though baptism
o    We are new creations – the beginning of something totally different

•    It may sound fanciful

o    A pipe dream
o    But it is a reality

•    The moment we stop believing and living that Jesus changed us, at that moment, we lose

o    We have too – if we really, really, believe Jesus
o    If we really, really believe the scriptures
o    We have too life as if we have been changed

•    We have to allow Jesus to change us

o    We have to give up the things of old
o    And embrace the new

•    This can be hard

o    It can be scary

•    The devil that we know can seem better than the devil we don’t know
•    We might have tried to change before – to embrace the newness of Jesus – only to get shot down

o    We might have gotten hurt by circumstances
o    We might have gotten hurt by people who didn’t allow us to walk forward

•    I understand this…

o    However, I’m not the one telling you to walk forward
o    Paul and Jesus is

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses. –Col 2:13

•    And once you know that you have been set free

o    Once you know that things are different

•    Well, once you have not rooted deep down in your heart and life
•    Then you can move forward without fear of judgment and ridicule

Continue reading Colossians: Shadows

Colossians: Alive in Christ

berries and leavesPublic Reading: Colossians 2:6-15

An audio file of sermon can be found on the PRV website.

Background Review

  • Before we jump into today’s passage, we need to remember the context for the passage
  • It is easy to simply read a passage within the Scriptures
    • There are great things there
    • A lot of times they can stand alone
    • Yet each verse is built upon another
    • They are also built upon the history of who wrote them, to who they were written too, etc.
    • Colossians, if we recall, was written by Paul and Timothy
      • Paul penned the book, but Timothy was there with him as seen by verse 1:1
      • They are writing to a church group they have never met
        • But has heard about
        • One of their friends started the church
        • Outline so far
          • 1:1-14 – Paul and Timothy telling the church what they had heard about them
            • Offer their prayers
            • The passage underscores how we are to rejoice with what God is going around the world
  • 1:15-23 – this was a great poetic piece outline the supremacy of Christ
    • Paul and Timothy are stating the basics
    • Reminding us that the basics are really where it is!
  • 1:24-2:5 – In fact, Paul goes go after this poetic piece to tell the church that it all about Jesus
    • Suffering on behalf of the church
    • Suffering to see the message of Jesus spread throughout the world
    • This brings us right up to our passage for the week

Alive in Christ

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

  • As the saying goes, if you see the word “therefore”, ask yourself what is it “there for”
  • Therefore, because it is in Jesus that “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are hidden (vs 3)
    • Continue to live in him, rooted and build up on him
    • The EVS and the Kingdom NT ways to “walk in him” or “continue your journey in him”
    • Following Jesus is not a Sunday morning thing
      • It is not a rules, a do this or don’t do this thing
      • It is a heart change
      • It is a way of life
      • A way of living
      • This is why Paul goes on in vs 12  saying that we were buried with Jesus and raised with Him again
      • We are new creatures!
        • We are no longer the same person we once were
        • Yes, we have the same memories
        • Our heart is different
        • Our motivations are different
        • Yet a lot of times we don’t live that way
        • We allow the philosophy – the teachings of this world to govern our lives
          • This is why Paul says

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

  • There is a battle going on right now for your mind
    • You may be a child of God
    • You may be ‘saved’ and will go to heaven
    • But are you going to be effective for God’s Kingdom right now in 2014
    • A lot of us have bought into the empty philosophy of the stories around us
    • We come up with different reasons why we are still breathing
      • We say that we are here to be good parents, grand-parents
      • We have to help our kids
      • We are here to work and have a good life
        • Everything is going to burn in the end, so why don’t enjoy live now?
        • You can’t take anything with you, so let’s have some fun now?
        • Oh, I believe in Jesus, I go to church…. I’m a child of the Lord
        • But are you changing the world?
          • Are you actively asking Jesus what he is doing around you?
          • Are you actively pursuing His mission to bring His Kingdom into this area?
          • This is more than forcing everyone to go to church?
            • This is more than having guilt that you didn’t do xyz?
            • I’m taking about the journey of joining Jesus, you know, the guy who Paul talks about in vs 9 and 10?

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

Colossians: Suffering and Mystery

Cross on wallPassage: Colossians 1:24-2:5

Audio file of sermon can be found at the PRV website.


  • There are two themes or concepts within this passage
    • Suffering for the sake of others
    • God’s Mystery


  • The first point is Paul’s suffering
    • He is a servant of the church
    • His suffering is to their benefit

The Kingdom NT Right now I’m having a celebration – a celebration of my sufferings, which are for your benefit! And I’m steadily completing, in my own flesh, what is presently lacking in the king’s afflictions on behalf of his body, which is the church. I became the church’s servant, according to the terms laid down by God when he gave me my commission on your behalf, the commission to fulfill God’s word. –Colossians 1:24-25

The Messsage:  I want you to know how glad I am that it’s me sitting here in this jail and not you. There’s a lot of suffering to be entered into in this world—the kind of suffering Christ takes on. I welcome the chance to take my share in the church’s part of that suffering. When I became a servant in this church, I experienced this suffering as a sheer gift, God’s way of helping me serve you, laying out the whole truth. –Colossians 1:24-25

  • St. Paul’s conversion
    • Commissioned to “carry my (God’s) name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
    • Acts 9:15b
    • Yes, St. Paul’s commission is not for everyone… I understand that
    • But each of us has a commission from Jesus to preach the Gospel and to love others as ourselves
    • This means that there will be times when we will have to celebrate, as Paul did, our sufferings on behalf of the church
      • Meaning, that there are times when we must set aside our own passions and dreams
      • Set aside our wants
      • For that which benefits and blesses the whole body
      • This is called humility

For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith. For just as in one body we have many members, and not all the members serve the same function, so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another. –Romans 12:3-5

Colossians: The Preeminence of Christ

preeeminence of christSermon Series Intro

  • Last week we started a study on the book of Colossians
  • We looked at how Paul did not start the church there
    • Instead he rejoiced to hear that someone else took the message there
    • Starting new churches and spreading the gospel is not just for superstars, but for all believers
    • Today we are looking at the preeminence of Jesus

Public Reading: Colossians 1:15-23

An audio recording of this sermon can be found here.

A Hymn

  • Some Bible’s indent these verses
  • They are poetic – as in it is thought that Paul is quoting an early hymn or creed of Jesus followers
  • Others think that the hymn came into being through Paul
  • Either way, verses 15 through 20 provided us with an amazing look at who Jesus is
    • As well as the nature of God Himself

The Image

He is the image of the invisible God,  

  • Jesus is the “image” of God
  • Jesus said in John 14
    • Verse 7

If you had known me, you would have known my Father also”

  • Verse 9b-11

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”

  • To take this seriously, is to read the entire Bible through the lens of Jesus
  • Jesus is God; if you want to know God, know and follow Jesus
    • You want to know how God would act, look at Jesus
    • You want to know what God said, look at Jesus

Continue reading Colossians: The Preeminence of Christ

Colossians: Introduction


Sermon notes for PRV’s new study through Colossians. Audio file can be found here.


  • Today (originally taught on January 5, 2014) we are starting a new series
  • Working through the book of Colossians
  • This book has popped up several times over the past month or so,
  • Looks to be in line where God is taken us


  • The theme, or overall message, of the book is
    • “Christ is Lord over all creation, including the invisible realm. He has secured redemption for his people, enabling them to participate with him in his death, resurrection, and fullness.”
    • Colossians is one of the most Jesus centered books of Paul’s
    • Focused on teaching the believers at Colossae that Jesus is the King and ruler of every area of their lives
    • Paul was also encouraging them to participate with Jesus
      • Embracing the good news that we have died with Jesus and been resurrected into a new life through Him
      • Now we can join with Jesus in changing the world for His sake
      • This, to me, fits with us in our journey with  Jesus
      • It is easy to forget that we are new beings through the power of Jesus’  blood
        • When we  bowed our knees to Jesus and gave our lives to  Him, the old stuff of the past was wiped away
        •  We are now new
        • With a new mind, heart, passion and mission
        • With a new year upon us, we need to stand  strong in this reality
        • We also need to embrace the part in Jesus’ mission that each of us have
        • We were not saved – set free from the evil one’s chains simply to live a good life
        • We were called – are called – to work with Jesus in changing the world
          • Setting things right
          • Crying with people, rejoicing with others
          •  Telling folks about the good news of God’s active and dynamic rule and reign.

Public Reading

  • Colossians 1:1-14

Continue reading Colossians: Introduction

Challenged by Jesus

thechallengingwordsofjesusLuke 20:20-47


•    Last week we talked about the authority of Jesus
•    The religious and social leaders of the day confronted Jesus to find out who gave Him permission to speak

o    Was it from man or God

•    Jesus responded with a story shaming them and highlighting Himself as the Son of God
•    Today we continue with this debate in a slightly different manner

Being Challenged by Jesus

•    This time instead of confronting Jesus straight on, the Chief Priests and Sadducees (social leaders) tried to trap Jesus through cleverly crafted questions
•    Jesus not only escapes these traps, he challenges them right back!

o    This is something Jesus has done to me multiple times
o    I go to Jesus with a certain viewpoint on a scripture thinking I know what it means only to be challenged by Jesus in seeing another part of God

•    Have you ever had this happen to you?

o    Yes?

•    God is SO HUGE and MYSTERIOUS that each of us can live a lifetime and still not know Him fully

o    St. Paul at the end of his life – after he had planted multiple churches, successful debated multiple enemies, changed the face of history and written some of the most read letters in all of human history – says that he is among foremost sinners (chief sinner in some versions).
o    St. Paul was, of course, one who experienced one of the biggest challenges of Jesus ever recorded.

*    He was passionately against Jesus – thinking that he was right on every verse in the OT
*    Jesus challenged him on the road to Damascus and changed his entire life

•    The Gospel of John records Jesus telling his followers that he was going to send the Holy Spirit to guide and teach them as he was unable to teach them everything at that time

o    In other words, there was to be this ongoing process of learning and being challenged by the Holy Spirit

  12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.  (John 16:12-15)

Continue reading Challenged by Jesus


sorrowLuke 19:28-48

Entry into Jerusalem

•    Jesus has finally reached Jerusalem

o    He has been walking towards the capital since Luke 9:51 – when a Samaritan village refused to let him path through because he was going to Jerusalem
o    Luke 18:31-34 Jesus told his followers that he was going to Jerusalem to die

•    It was an emotional day
•    Jesus sent two of this followers into Bethphage to get a colt

o    A great example of faith and following the words of Jesus!

•    As Jesus rides into Jerusalem the crowds starts singing praises

o    A blessings from Psalms 118:26

•    They also lay down their cloaks and wave palm branches

o    A sign of respect for the coming of a king

•    Zechariah 9:9

o    God will judge the nations around Israel
o    Jerusalem will shout in triumph for her King will come
o    The people of Judah and Israel (the northern tribes) will be delivered because of the blood of the convent with God

•    Some of the Pharisees told Jesus to stop the crowds

o    Jesus said that if he did, the stones would cry out
o    Reminds me of Romans 8 in which Paul says that creation itself awaits the coming King
o    Psalms 19 also talks about creation declaring the glories of God

Cries over the City

•    As Jesus drew near the city, he stops and begins to weep
•    As he cries, he gives a prophecy about Jerusalem and the nation

o    If they would have recognized Him, they would have had peace
o    But now peace is hidden from them
o    War and pain would be their lot and the city would be destroyed

•    This happened in 70 AD when the people of Israel revolted against the Roman Empire

o    They were catching another Messiah
o    They thought that they could send up God’s Kingdom by themselves

Continue reading Sorrow

Doubt and Uncertainty When The King Is Gone…

the king is gonePassage: Luke 19:11-28

When a choice becomes a “Choice”

•    Decisions are a funny thing

o    We make them all the time; most of them we don’t even thing about
o    Yet, there comes a time when a decision becomes a “Choice”

•    A choice becomes a “Choice” when it is made in spite of the situation surrounding it

o    Take a dating couple, the choice to get married is really not that big of a decision as it is made in the heat of passion

*    The real Choice to be married comes when the cards are down; when the pressures of life is pushing and pulling the couple apart

o    This is true for most any thing

*    When something is simply the next logical step on a journey, then it really isn’t a choice
*    It is when a decision is made against all odds, when nothing is known for sure, that is when a Choice is made.

•    The day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is a perfect example of this
•    Holy Saturday was a dark day during which the followers of Jesus knew nothing but despair, fear and pain.

o    Yes, they had the Prophets and Jesus’ own words predicting his resurrection…
o    But they weren’t sure if these words were just empty rhetoric thrown out to give false hope to their desires of a promised Messiah.

•    It was at this time – in the darkness of life – when the Disciples made their real Choice to follow Jesus…

King is Away

•    Luke 19:11-28 is a passage foreshadowing Holy Saturday.
•    In verse 11 we see that the people thought that Jesus was getting close to ushering in the Kingdom of God

o    After all He had just healed a blind man, converted a tax collector and was headed to Jerusalem…

While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. (Luke 19:11)

•     In response to this mindset, Jesus tells a story about a nobleman who goes on a journey to receive His royal authority

o    This is a story about both Holy Saturday when he was in the tomb and the time between his Ascension and Second Return
o    You see, we currently live during a paradoxical time – a time between the now and not yet, as it is commonly called
o    This is a time during which God’s reign and rule is here – but not in its fullness
o    Just like the during between the election of a president and their inauguration
o    This is a story about the time during which we live

Continue reading Doubt and Uncertainty When The King Is Gone…

Giving It All Up

covered-in-the-dust-of-the-rabbiPublic Reading: Luke 18:15-34

•    Pairs

o    Little children and rich grownups (verses 15-22)
o    Lose everything to get everything (verses 23-30)

Little Children

•    People where bring their little kids for Jesus to bless

o    Think about that…getting blessed by God Himself!! Wow
o    It should be noted that this was a common practice back then
o    Still is a practice today…to a certain extent…we bless babies in church

•    The 12 disciples tied to stop this from happening

o    They figured Jesus was too busy and important to worry about children
o    Children, after all, are messy, noisy, get in the way a lot, ask too many questions…etc.
o    Like the old comment about kids been seen and not heard and rarely seen at that

•    Jesus saw things differently

o    He wanted the kids to come up to Him
o    In fact, Mark 10:14 says that Jesus was “indignant” that the kids were being kept from Him

*    Indignant means “feeling or showing anger because of something unjust or unworthy”
*    That is pretty powerful!!!

o    Jesus was angry at his followers – the guys he handed picked – because they tried to keep a bunch of little kids away….
o    Think about that for a bit…

*    If Jesus is that passionate for children, should we be too?
*    Shouldn’t we be doing everything in our power to make sure the folks that Jesus wants to hold and bless get to the chance to meet His?
*    Yet, How often do we, in our own way, try to keep the church clean by not invite those people?

•    Receiving the Kingdom of God

o    Jesus told his followers that the Kingdom of God belongs to the little children

*    That whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it…

o    That should get our attention!!!

•    What is Jesus talking about?

o    The phrase “Kingdom of God” is an odd one that basically means “the dynamic rule and reign of God”
o    It is a term that the Jewish people started using between the Old and New Testament to refer to the time when God would fulfill His promises to rule over the land and destroy evil
o    There are verses that talk about enter into the kingdom; other which say that the kingdom is coming; still others that it is in our midst; and is still a long ways off

•    Receiving and entering into…

o    In a nutshell, Jesus is saying that if we want to see the rule and reign of God, we are too humble ourselves and become like a small child…. Like the ones who crawled up into Jesus lap and was blessed by him
o    This doesn’t mean that we can’t ask questions – kids ask ALL kinds of questions!

*    It just means that we trust Jesus even when we don’t like His answers
*    We just grab his hand and follow him…

Continue reading Giving It All Up

Faith and Risk

faithPublic Reading: Luke 17:11-19


•    Jesus was headed to Jerusalem when ten men with leprosy stopped him

o    Jesus told them to go shows themselves to the priest
o    In accordance to Lev 13:2-14:32

•    The men left

o    They could have went home and continue along as normal
o    They could have walked away laughing at Jesus
o    But they didn’t – instead they started toward the priests just as Jesus said
o    As the went they were healed

•    We know all of them were healed because one of them returned

o    A Samaritan, who took a huge risk going towards the priests
o    He thanked Jesus and let him know what had happened

•    Jesus replied,

o    “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” – Luke 17:19

•    Faith

o    We use this word a lot but do we really understand what it means?

o    Dictionary (Merriam-Webster)

1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty, b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion, b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust

3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>

o    Bible

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1, KJV

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1, ESV

•    I would defined it like this

o    Faith = Risk and Action
o    Faith – (Risk and Action) = Unbelief

Continue reading Faith and Risk