The World's Greatest Peace Treaty - Colossians 1:19-23 - Skip Heitzig
Peace, celebrities demand it. Pop culture makes it a catchy tune. Activists protest for it. Still peace seems out of reach. True peace can't be found in or understood by this world.
All we are saying is give peace a chance. All we are saying is give peace a chance.
Give peace a chance.
OK, break out those Bibles. Let's open those things up. Colossians chapter 1. Let's turn to Colossians chapter 1. I just want to apologize to you that the government stole an hour of your sleep today, but they'll make it up in the spring, or in the fall.
Colossians chapter 1. Whenever two nations who are at war finally stop their hostilities, they sign something called a peace treaty. A peace treaty has terms and conditions whereby the relationship between those two nations can continue. Included in a peace treaty are things like the designation of borders, because land may have been won or lost, depending on which nation is winning or has won. There will be the discussion of refugees or prisoners of war, even debts that one nation may owe to another monetarily.
A few months ago, I had a distinct privilege of being on the lawn of the White House to see a very historic event take place, called the Abraham Accords. It was a formal peace agreement between the state of Israel and the United Arab Emirates and the nation of Bahrain. It was just so good to see parties, who had been at odds with each other historically, decide let's live in peace in the future.
Now, probably the earliest recorded peace treaty, at least that we have on record, is from 1350 BC, the Hittite kingdom making peace with a confederacy of tribes who had fought against them. And the peace treaties back then weren't signed on paper. They were signed on clay tablets. And we happen to have some copies of tablets like that in museums, that speak of the treaty of peace between two warring nations.
In more modern times, some of the famous peace treaties would be the Treaty of Paris, when Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo. A little more recently than that, the Treaty of Versailles between Germany and the Allied Powers, which formally ended World War I. But my favorite is what took place on September 2nd, 1945 aboard the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. It was the formal end of World War II.
Because on the deck of that battleship-- and by the way, you can visit that battleship today in Pearl Harbor over in Hawaii. And they have a replica of what was called the "Instrument of Surrender." And the "Instrument of Surrender" was a document that was signed by the Japanese Imperial Forces and the Allied Powers, headed by the American General Douglas MacArthur. Let's just get a little snapshot of that.
General MacArthur speaks.
We are gathered here, representatives of the major warring powers, to conclude a solemn agreement whereby peace may be restored. The issues involving divergent ideals and ideologies have been determined on the battlefields of the world, and hence are not for our discussion or debate. The terms and conditions, upon which surrender of the Japanese Imperial Forces is here to be given and accepted, are contained in the "Instrument of Surrender" now before you.
So what I really love about that little speech-- and that's just a little part of it-- is he said "the differences that we have been settled on the battlegrounds of this world." So now we're going to put our names to it. We're going to sign the "Instrument of Surrender," but we fought this out and we have come to terms.
So I wanted to show you that because what we have before us is what could be called the "Instrument of Surrender" in Colossians chapter 1, that is, terms and conditions set before us to establish what Paul calls peace through the blood of His cross. Peace through the blood of His cross.
Because peace does not come by declaration. Peace does not come by documentation. Real peace comes from action. Somebody acted in real time to establish it. And in this case, it was Jesus Christ who stepped onto the battlefield, and by his singular action as the mediator of peace, brought two warring parties together.
Let's look at verse 19 of Colossians chapter 1 and read down through this paragraph. "For it please the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and above reproach in His sight-- if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister."
Now, in this series called Give Peace a Chance, we have looked, for several weeks, at the topic of peace. We considered in the very first message the personal promise Jesus made to His own followers, or His own particular brand of peace to be given to them.
In our second study, we looked to what it is to be a peacemaker, how people who are not getting along make peace with each other, and steps to do that. We are, in our last study, going to look at eventual peace, world peace. But what I want to do today is take you to the very reason that any of that peace is possible, what you might call the fountainhead of all peace, the source of all peace.
If you are really going to have peace in your heart-- and I just don't mean the cessation of hostility, where you stand next to each other and you fold your arms and give each other the look, like I'm really mad at you but I won't say anything because I want to "keep the peace." I'm talking about an almost overwhelming sense of well-being that you have with God because of something God has done for you. He has made peace with you, therefore He gives a certain kind of peace to you.
I'm calling this message The World's Greatest Peace Treaty. And I want to show you four aspects to this treaty-- the Mediator of Peace, the Method of Peace, the Magnitude of Peace, and the Maintenance of Peace. It was a guy by the name of Thomas a Kempis who said, "All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace."
I think that's true. I think if you asked any individual what is the most important thing they could wish for, they would say peace, world peace, peace on earth, or personal peace, peace of mind. And then if you were to say, OK, so are you willing to accept God's terms and conditions and receive Christ as your Savior? Well, no. So everybody says they want peace, but as Thomas a Kempis said, very few desire those things that make for peace. I want to show you four things that make for peace.
We begin with the Mediator of Peace, and that is the 19th verse. Paul said, "For it please the Father"-- that is, God the Father-- "that in Him"-- referring to Christ, that in Christ-- "all the fullness should dwell." Let's just stop there and let me fill in the gaps. Chapter 1, Paul is presenting to the Colombian church the person of Christ, Christ in His fullness, fully God, fully man. He wants them to know His nature, His character.
And so he says, back in like verse 15 and 16, that He is the firstborn of all creation. He created everything out of nothing. He sustains the universe. So Christ is the creator. Christ is the sustainer of the world. And He is the preeminent one. And then the summary verse of that glory of Christ is found in verse 19, "It pleased a Father that had Him all the fullness should dwell."
Let me tell you what's going on here. When Paul is writing this letter, he is writing to the church that is facing problems. It's a church that had some problems. You know what? Every church has problems. Can I just say every single church has them. But they really had some problems, and the problem they had was there was a group of weirdos in their church called Gnostics.
Ever heard of Gnosticism? Anybody Gnostics? So "gnosis" means to know and a Gnostic is somebody who's in the know, or claims to be in the know. So the Gnostic philosophy, or Gnostic heresy, was infiltrating the church at Colossi. And let me tell you a little bit about Gnosticsim.
So Gnostics believed in a dualistic universe, like a platonic worldview, that there was a material world. There was a spirit world. The spirit world was good. Material world is bad. Everything that is material is evil, and only that which is spiritual is good.
So what did they do with the idea that God created the world? Because if the world is evil, how could a good God create an evil world? So they're dealing with that question. And here's how they solved the riddle. God, who is Spirit, did not create the material physical world. Because God is spirit. Spirit is good. Material is evil. God didn't create it.
So what happened, they said, is several emanations went out from God, like subgods. Left the true God, and they went out. Eventually, there were so many of them, and one went out so far from God that he didn't even know the true God. It was that god that created the material world. That god, who could handle that which is evil, because he himself was evil and didn't even know the true God. See, a bunch of weirdos, right?
Then when it came to Jesus Christ, they had interesting ideas as well, because they said Jesus is the Son of God and he's walking on the earth, and he's saying things and doing things in a physical body. They have to deal with that. So they said Jesus didn't have a physical body, but he looked like he did.
So it was sort of all like a phantom. He was like a phantom. He looked like he was a real human, but he wasn't, so it was like a really good trick. And they had all sorts of fanciful stories that whenever Jesus walked on the beach, he never left footprints in the sand, and all sorts of nonsense like this.
Moreover, they taught that Jesus was sort of a halfway house to God. He was a link in the chain back to the true God, but that there were better links ahead. So the Gnostic would say to the Colossian Christian, hey, I'm glad that you're all into Jesus. Jesus is great. But you need to keep going past Jesus, and eventually you'll be like us. We're "in the know." Eventually, you will come to a place-- listen to this-- of "fullness." That's their word, fullness.
So in thinking of that, in verse 19, Paul said, "For it pleased the Father that in Him, in Christ, all the fullness should dwell." You guys are out looking for fullness, you just need to know Jesus is fullness. It's all in Him.
And by the way, the word fullness is the word pleroma. It means completeness, and it means full and complete deity dwells in Jesus permanently. Now, he's going to say as much when he gets to chapter 2, we just don't have time to chase it down. But chapter 2 verse 9, it says the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus permanently.
So he's painting the picture that Jesus Christ is fully God, as opposed to the Gnostic heresy. And this is interesting because I've had a lot of conversations over the years with people about Jesus, and sometimes I'll get a person who will say, well, Jesus never claimed personally to be God. The idea that he was God came later on, like by Paul, and people perverted what Jesus really said. But Jesus never claimed to be God.
Every time I hear that, I just want to ask them, what version of the Bible are you reading? Is it the new I Just Made It Up version? Because that's what you just did. That's just not in there. Jesus claiming to be God is like all over the place. You can't miss it.
Let me give you a few examples. Jesus rose from the dead. Thomas looked at Him and said, my Lord and my God. Now you said, well, Thomas said that to Him. Yeah, but did Jesus say, no, I'm not. Really, I'm not. Because if he wasn't, He would have said that, because He was an Orthodox Jew. He wouldn't have allowed somebody to worship Him as God, unless He was. Thomas said, my Lord and my God.
Here's another one. One time there was a man who was paralyzed. His friends let him down through the roof into a house. Jesus looks at the man on the cot in front of Him. First thing He says is, be of good cheer. Your sins are forgiven.
Your sins are forgiven? People who were in the crowd, the religious people, were right when they said, did you hear what He just said? He just said the guy's sins are forgiven. And then they said, nobody can forgive sins except God. Duh. That's sort of the whole point of what I just said. No one can forgive sins but God, and He just said, your sins are forgiven.
Jesus was the one who said, I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will never die. Jesus was the one who said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me. Jesus was the one who said, if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Jesus was the one who said, before Abraham was, I am.
And Jesus was the one who said, the Father and I are one. And you know what happened when he said that? When he said the Father and I are one, the Bible tells us the Jews picked up stones to kill Him. And Jesus said, I've done a lot of good works in front of you guys. For which good work are you going to stone me?
And they said, not for a good work do we stone You, but because You, being a man, are continually making yourself out to be God. Even they figured it out. So Jesus never claimed to be God. Well, everybody else thought He did, because they were going to kill Him for it. You, being a man, claim to be God.
So Paul wants the Colossians to know that Jesus is the perfect Mediator of Peace because, on one hand, he is fully God, but on the other hand, he is fully human. That's verse 21. "And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.
Now get this, verse 22, "in the body of His flesh through death." Notice how precise he is, how detailed he is. That doesn't just say Jesus died. He says in the body of his flesh through death. See, he's thinking of the Gnostics, who said Jesus didn't have a real physical body. It was a phantom.
No, he actually physically died. His body went through the process of physical death. So because Jesus was God, he can rescue and reconcile sinners. Because Jesus is man, human, he's able to suffer the consequences for our sin, which is death. The wages of sin is death.
So he's showing the need for Jesus to be both fully God and fully man, because it makes Him the perfect middle man, the perfect mediator. He's not just a good man. He's God-man.
So here's an example. Maybe a lame example, but it's an example nonetheless. I have a history of not being fond of ants. I don't particularly like ants. I don't look at them and go, they're God's creatures. I don't protect them. I don't do that. I'm going to kill them.
I have a long history with them. I think I had an ant farm when I was a kid, but I figured out that I could take ants outside and get a magnifying glass on a sunny day and burn ants. I was fallen. I was an unbeliever. Some of you ladies are looking at me shocked.
But how many guys have ever done that before? Raise your hand. Be honest. Right now be honest. The rest of you are not honest. OK, so I did that. I'm a Christian now, so I don't do that anymore.
But I do do this. So when I see ants-- and they in my kitchen like today. So here's what I'm going to do, right here. See that? I'm going to take those ants and I'm going to see them. With a smile on my face I'm going to spray this. I have no compassion at all. I'm just going to kill them.
OK, so the wrath of Skip is destined to fall on those creatures. Now, let's say I invite you over to my house for dinner. You're a very different sort than I am. You're much kinder, nobler. You have a very soft spot in your heart for ants.
And so you see ants over there, and you go, you got some ants over there. And I go, yeah, I'm going to take care of them. So I pull this out, and you go, [GASP]. Do that right now. Yeah, OK. That's what you do when you're at my house, because you don't want me to kill them.
So you go over to the ants and you do this. You bend down. You go, run away, little ants. The bad man is going to spray you. Go, go, go. Question, would that help? No, it wouldn't help at all, because you're you and they are them. You don't speak ant and they don't speak English.
OK, I know it's getting a little ridiculous here, but let's say you could shrink down to become an ant, get at their level. So now you're not only their size, but you speak ant. I don't even know what that sounds like. But you can do that.
And so you, at their level, can warn them, knowing what you know, because you also have human nature somehow. You can warn them of what is coming. The spray is coming. And so you can warn them to flee. Or better yet, while you warn them to flee-- because here I am. I'm going to do this. I'm going to spray it at them.
And you're going to stand in the line of the spray, and you're going to take the punishment while they're fleeing. OK, I'm going to end the analogy right there. Let me just say if you could do that, you'd be the ant savior. You would be the perfect mediator between Skip and ants.
So what Jesus did, Paul said, is He was God, but he came down to our level and He stood right in front of the stream of God's wrath on the cross to absorb it all, to take it all, while we could escape. That's what He did. Fully God, fully man. He's the mediator. He is the mediator of this peace treaty. It's His action that did that.
And that is why we preach Christ. That is why we preach Christ, not with a comma after His name, as though leading to something else, or a dash after His name, as though waiting for something else. We preach Christ period because there is nothing else. There is no one else. There's no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be safe.
So that's the first aspect to this peace treaty, the Mediator of Peace. Paul makes it very, very clear. Second is the Method of Peace. How is that peace achieved? Well, notice a couple of things in verse 20 and on down to verse 22.
"By Him"-- that is by Christ-- "to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and above reproach in His sight."
There's a couple of great truths here. Here's the first truth, truth number one in these verses. We have to be reconciled to God. If you remember, I brought this word up in our first study in this Give Peace a Chance series. Reconcile is a word that means to restore a relationship, to restore to a right relationship.
You have two warring parties, and when they are restored, that's a reconciliation. That's the idea of the word. The word here in Greek, katallasso-- actually here it's apokatallasso-- it means to change something thoroughly. So here's the idea. When you reconcile, you are changing the relationship completely.
You're changing it from hostility to friendship. You're taking enemies and making them friends. That's a reconciliation. So you and I need to be reconciled to God because we're estranged from God. We're alienated from Him. Look at verse 21. "And you, who once were alienated"-- there it is-- "and enemies in your mind by the wicked works, yet now he Has reconciled."
Now let me add a nuance to that. It's an important nuance. In the Scriptures, God is never said to be reconciled to man. Man is always said to be reconciled to God. You know why that is? It's because we left God. We ran from Him.
Somebody once said, if you feel far from God, guess who moved? Or in the words of Isaiah, all we like sheep have gone astray. We, like sheep, have turned our own way. In the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve had sinned, the Bible says God came into the garden in some form, and He called out.
Remember what He said? He said-- anybody know? You got it. You got it. Adam, where are you? You know what that is? That's God looking for man. There's no record of Adam going, God, where are you? Adam wasn't looking for God.
He was running from God. He was fleeing from God. God was looking and searching for him. Adam isn't looking for God. People aren't looking for God any more than a thief is looking for a policeman. They don't want to get caught. They want to run. They want to hide. So man needs to be reconciled to God. That's the first truth here.
The second truth here is that we need to be reconciled, but it's only done by blood. It's done by blood, for it says here, verse 20, "by Him reconcile all things to Himself, things on earth, things in heaven, having made peace through"-- here's the method, here's the means-- "through the blood of His cross." Hebrews 9 says without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.
His blood brings my peace. His blood brings my peace. Say that. His blood brings my peace. So several years ago, I had the opportunity to be in a movie called The Last Flight Out. And they called me and they wanted me to play a medical doctor.
And I said, look, I'm a pastor, I'm not an actor. They said, no, but you believe the message of the gospel and we want a doctor who, at the end of the movie, says the gospel. But we don't want it to be acting. We want somebody who really believes in it. I go, well, you got the guy then because I really believe it.
So in the film, one of the lead actors, he had played in Blackhawk Down. He was not a believer, but he had to act like a guy who gets converted in this film. So he's looking through the script. We're on the set. We're filming.
And this guy finally is reading the script, and there's a lot of things about the blood, the blood of Christ, the blood shed for us, because it's a bloody battle scene that had been taken place in the movie, so he has to talk about the blood of Jesus. And I just remember this look of frustration over his face, and he just slammed the thing down, the script down on the desk.
And he goes, what's the big deal about the blood? Could have heard a pin drop. He goes, the Christians always talk about blood, blood, Jesus' blood. Why is that a big deal? So I just remember, because all the actors and producer and him all shifted their heads and looked directly at me when he asked that question.
It's like, OK, preacher, the actor has spoken. Deal with that. So it was a very lively theological discussion as I explained no blood, no power. No blood, no message. You try to take the blood out, you've got no gospel at all. You are emptying it completely of its power without blood, and I explained why.
Here's what I've discovered. People hate Christianity because they resent seeing themselves as sinners. They resent that. So they would prefer a God helps those who help themselves kind of approach to God. They want their own works involved. I've earned this. I have a little bit of entitlement. I've done something on my part.
And so they will steer clear of the cross and build a bloodless religion of their own good works. I'm going to throw up what John Stott wrote because it's a great quote. Look what he said. "Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated ideas of ourselves, until we have visited a place called Calvary. There at the foot of the cross, we shrink to our true size."
Oh, that's good. We shrink to our true size because the cross tells me some very unpleasant truth. It tells me that I'm an unreconciled sinner. It tells me that I am in the stream of God's righteous wrath. And it tells me that I can't save myself.
And when I see Jesus dying on a cross, he seems to be saying, I'm here because of you. It's your sin that I am bearing. It's your death that I am dying. It's your curse that I am suffering. It's your debt that I am paying.
But I want you to know something. He did it gladly. I don't want you to think of Jesus standing here with his arms folded. Yup, what he just said. I did that for you because you're really crummy. No, I want you to know He did it willingly and gladly.
He said, nobody takes my life from me. I lay it down of myself. That's willingness. And the Bible says for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross. He did it willingly.
Now, listen, if peace with God could be made any other way than that, you know what that would mean eventually? It would mean that heaven would be the most boring place ever. If we could get to heaven by good works, you would have to listen to people every day in heaven brag about how they got there.
Let me tell you what I did to get here. He'd say it and everybody would go, yeah, you're so awesome. Give it up for him. And then she'd stand up and go, well, let me tell you what I did to get here. And it would be a bragimony. In heaven there will be no bragimonies, only testimonies. We're going to be in heaven saying, I don't deserve to be here. The only reason I'm here is because of Him, what He did for me.
Here's the third aspect to this peace treaty, the Magnitude of Peace. Now, this is interesting, and I'm only going to touch on it, really expand on it, in our last study together. But there are two reconciliations I want you to notice that are in this chapter. The first one is mentioned in verse 20. Notice it says "by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, things on earth or things in heaven."
Wow, what does that mean? Well, hold that thought, because that's just one reconciliation. Here's the second one, verse 21. "And you He has reconciled." Notice that's past tense. It's already done. He has done it. "You He has reconciled."
So we have one reconciliation that is yet future, all things in heaven and earth. You have one reconciliation that has passed. One, the first, that is eschatological, in the future, is going to happen. The second is historical and personal. I've been reconciled to Him.
So what does this mean? Here's what it means. When sin entered the world, it did not just affect people. It infected and affected everything in the universe. Everything in the universe. Did you know that the animal kingdom was affected? In Romans 8 verse 20, we are told the creation was subjected to futility. That is placed under the curse.
So it's not just people, but animals also suffer pain. Animals also get sick. Animals also die. That is part of the curse. Romans 8:22, all of creation groans and labors with birth pains together until now. So the animal kingdom was also infected because sin entered.
Not only that, but the very ground itself, the very earth itself, was cursed, was affected. Genesis 3:17, God said, cursed is the ground. In turmoil you shall eat the fruit thereof. The ground is cursed. The earth is cursed. That's evidenced by things like thorns and briars and nettles and thistles and weeds and the labor that is required to get produce out of the ground, especially around these parts, where you have to really prepare the soil to get something to grow.
So not only that, but it would seem the solar system was even affected. In Job 25, Bildad indicated, and I'm quoting, "The stars are not pure in God's sight." It seems to have affected the entire physical world, things in the heavens and things on earth.
Oh, and there's one more thing. Heaven itself. Heaven itself. In Hebrews 9:23 we are told that things in heaven need to be purified. It's a very interesting phrase, things in heaven that have needed to be purified. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I can venture a guess, that perhaps heaven has, in a very real sense, been defiled, because Satan has had, the Bible tells us, access still into the presence of God.
Job chapter 1, Job chapter 2, Revelation chapter 12, verse 10. Satan's called the accuser of the brethren, who accuses them before God day and night. And it could be that just that alone defiles heaven enough that it affected heaven.
And by the way, did you notice that in the end times-- we already studied this-- that when God recreates everything, He's not going to just make a new earth. The Bible says he's going to make a new what? Heaven and earth. Do you ever wonder why? Why would He need to make a new heaven? I think he's probably got a good one. Can't He be happy with the heaven He's got?
Because heaven has been defiled, friends. And so He will create a new heavens, and it's used in the plural, and a new earth. I'm going to talk more about that in our last study when we talk about Jesus as the Prince of Peace.
But let me take it back down now. Let's go back to the personal level. Notice in verse 22, it says "in the body of His flesh through death"-- look at this. Talk about the Magnitude of Peace-- "to present you"-- put your name there. I'll do it, "to present Skip holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight."
It's not that you are that way, holy. Are you blameless? Even on your best day, come on. Holy, blameless, and with what reproach? Without reproach. It's not that you are that way. It's not that I am that way. It's that He sees you that way. Notice how it's put, that He might present you holy, blameless, above reproach in His sight.
God views you differently now that the reconciliation has taken place. This is called, in another portion of Scripture, justification. Remember that word justification? It means God declares you are righteous, even though you're not all that. He declares you are, and based on the declaration, treats you that way. That's justification.
So he presents you faultless. He presents you blameless. This is reconciliation. This is peace. This is the great exchange. You see, God treated Jesus Christ like you and I deserve to be treated-- on the cross, death on the cross, suffering on the cross.
That's how you and I deserve to be treated. Jesus was treated like you and I deserve to be treated so that God could treat you like Jesus deserves to be treated. He can treat you now as holy, blameless, above reproach because of this great exchange.
Oh, and by the way, it doesn't just stop with that justification. One day you will actually be in God's presence in a glorified body, a new body. So there's not just justification. There's glorification, where you will stand perfected in his presence.
Every time I bring up the idea of a new body, people get all stoked about that and excited about that. Usually people say, really? What will I look like? And here's my short answer, better. I'll just leave it at that. You might look really good now, but you will look much better than that.
That's when reconciliation will be complete. I'll add a little color to that. No failing eyesight. No diminished hearing. No wrinkles. Do I get an amen? No sags. Another amen?
No gray hair. Of course, you can fix that with a bottle. No stiffness, no sunspots, no skin tags. I'm going to stop right there. That's graphic enough.
So three aspects to this peace treaty, the Mediator, the Method, and the Magnitude of Peace. I want to close with this, the last one, the Maintenance of Peace. OK, that's verse 23.
Now so far, so great. Here's Jesus, fully God. Became a man. Stand in front of the stream of God's spray can so that we can escape and we can be treated like royalty when we don't deserve to be treated. One day he's going to give us a glorified body. Wow, awesome, awesome, awesome.
Until we get to verse 23. Because what's the first word in verse 23? Yeah, go ahead. This is church. Say it out loud. "If." That doesn't sound too promising. That sounds like a condition. "If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister."
That makes me nervous. That sounds a little threatening. It almost sounds like this salvation is on me a little bit. OK, this is what Jesus did for you, but you better continue or it's off. Like you have to keep yourself saved it sort of sounds like.
So this is why people, every few years, make new translations of the Bible, because language is fluid and they want to help you understand the intent of the original language. Here's the best way to see this. Is the proof of your salvation, not the production of your salvation. That is, continuing is what proves the reality.
In other words, if you really believe, if Jesus is real to you, if salvation has really taken place, you know what's going to happen? You're going to continue. You're going to continue in it. You're not going to fall away. Oh, you might fall down. You might backslide. You're going to come back. You're going to stand up again. You're going to keep moving forward in the faith.
That happens to be a position widely held in the New Testament. Here's a summary verse of that, 1 John chapter 2 verse 19. John said, "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But their going out showed that none of them belonged to us."
So they're in fellowship together. They left the church. They walked away from God. John said they really never were of us, because if they were, they would continue. So the idea here is that it proves the validity by the continuation. Oh by the way, notice the language here in these verses. He says grounded.
In verse 23, grounded, steadfast, and not moved away from the hope. Here's what you wouldn't pick up on in just reading that. Paul is using architectural language. You see, the city of Colossi was built on earthquake land. It moved a lot. The ground shook a lot, and it was known for earthquakes. So the words "moved away" can mean earthquake-stricken, or prone to earthquakes. So you could even translate that, if you are grounded, steadfast, and not prone to earthquakes.
Now, here's the truth behind that. If you're truly saved, if you are building your life and resting fully on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ, nothing will shake you. You will not be moved away. He'll keep you. You will be kept by Him.
So we're not saved by continuing in the faith. We continue in the faith to show that we're saved. That's the idea behind this. Now, having said that, if this verse still makes you a little bit nervous, don't let that go. Because it could be that you have just made a profession of faith, and that's all it is, a profession of faith, that you haven't really built your life on Jesus authentically yet.
You haven't really surrendered your life to Him. Now you want to sing all the peace songs, but you don't want to really make peace with God and surrender your life. So if you're still a little bit nervous, let me just put it this way. This is the one answer on the test you want to get right.
How do I get to heaven? Question, how do I get to heaven? I hope I got the answer right. No, you get it right. And if there's any kind of doubt about it, make a decision today, like now, to surrender, to come to terms and conditions in the "Instrument of Surrender."
It was French philosopher Blaise Pascal who said-- he's the one who came up with this-- "There's a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing but only by God the creator, made known through Jesus Christ." I love that quote. God put a hole in your soul, and nothing can fill it but Christ.
So are you ready to accept the "Instrument of Surrender?" Are you willing to say, I'm coming to you, Jesus, on your terms and your conditions, because only you can mediate this peace agreement between heaven and earth. It can't be by my good works, my background, my parents, my grandparents, my religion. It has to be only by You.
I made an interesting read the other day. In the War of 1812, one of the famous battles in our country-- there was a battle in the War of 1812 called the Battle of New Orleans, which historians say was a needless battle. And that's because a peace treaty between Britain and America had already been signed 15 days before the battle took place, but they didn't hear news of the peace agreement being signed until it was too late.
15 days went by. They fought. Every day, about 100 people died. 1,500 people died needlessly, when there was a peace agreement already intact and in place. Here's what God wants you to know. The war is over. You best surrender. You put up your arms. You put up the white flag.
You quit fighting the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and you say, I surrender to Your terms and conditions. God did all the heavy lifting. He's just saying, sign on the dotted line. Put your name here. Receive this. Good deal?
Father, thank you. Thank you for this incredible "Instrument of Surrender," this peace treaty, this document, signed in blood 2,000 years ago at a place called Calvary, the action taken by the perfect mediator, fully God, fully human, making us right with God, changing thoroughly the relationship of hostility because of His blood that was shed, so that we can have peace with You and reconciliation with You, and one day will even eventuate into things in heaven and earth being reconciled.
Lord, I pray that, though we fall and though we fail, though we make mistakes, that you'll pick us back up and get us on the road and keep us by your Spirit. Keep us encouraged. Keep us refreshed, built up in the faith, grounded, as we rest our lives upon the solid foundation that cannot be shaken, cannot be moved, and that is Jesus. I pray for anybody here who doesn't know You. I pray they come to know You.
Before we close the service, if you have not-- and only you know in your heart if you have not really-- or if you've come really close, but short of a full surrender to Him. Why not raise the white flag of surrender and take His terms and conditions?
Say this to Him right now. Right where you are, just say this. If you mean it, say this. Lord, I give you my life. I know I'm a sinner. Please forgive me.
I believe in Jesus. I believe He came, that He died on a cross. I believe He shed his blood for me. And I believe He rose again from the dead. I believe He's alive right now.
And Lord, I turn from my past. I repent of my sin. I want to leave it behind. I want a lot of distance between that and where I'm going. And I turn completely to Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to live for you. In Jesus' name, Amen. Amen.
Would you stand your feet, please? I led you in that prayer. And if you did pray that, if it was something that became your own, that you said that in your heart, maybe you whispered it or said it out loud, we want to know about it, because we want to rejoice with you.
So if you prayed that prayer, we would love the opportunity, if you wouldn't mind just going up to one of our Decision Team members. They have a little badge, and guess what it says on it? Yeah, it says Decision Team, so that's good. I just found that out.
Sometimes they'll have a little thing that says Pastor. But walk up to them and just say, hey, I prayed that prayer. I don't want you to, if you did it, just walk out, because we want to go, yeah, we're stoked. Welcome to God's family, and tell you next steps and rejoice with you in the future.
We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church. We'd love to know how this message impacted you. Email us at email@example.com. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.