Forgiven & Debt-Free

Forgiven & Debt-Free

Home Church Service 7/17/2021

These sermons began as devotionals for my family as we met during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. We have now begun to include our friends and the devotional has now become a full sermon. We are also recording our service and will begin posting those videos in the near future.

When my family and I meet for worship, we like to discuss what we are learning, in the moment. Sometimes that happens right after the message and at other tines we will address something during the message. Tis message was designed to be interactive, discussing what we are learning right after I have addressed the points Paul was making. You will find the questions at the end of each section. In most formats they will appear in bold. Use these questions as a guide to meditate on the points Paul is making. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and above all, be honest with yourself and the Holy Spirit. After all, He knows any way!

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.                                                                    Colossians 2:6-15 (NASB)

Debt. We all have it, and we would all like to be rid of it! Debt comes in all shapes and sizes and is no respecter of persons. House payments. Car payments. Healthcare payments. Credit card payments. Home insurance. Car insurance. Utility bills. Student loan debt. The list goes and seems to neve come to an end. For the most part, these bills all have one thing in common – if we pay on them consistently, we can eventually pay them off.

There is one debt, however, we can never repay. No amount of money or effort on our part, no amount of worry or suffering can ever pay this debt. The debt we can never pay has, in fact, already been paid in full. Now we need to do the hard work of trusting and obeying, believing in faith and offering our praise to the One who has paid our debt making us Forgiven & Debt-Free.

We are firmly rooted in Christ, established in faith and overflowing in gratitude. We are not taken captive but made complete in Christ, who is the head of all rulers and authorities. We were buried with Him in baptism, raised up to be alive with Him; having our transgressions moved out of the way, we are now Forgiven & Debt-Free, our certificate of debt nailed to the cross, through the triumph of Christ Jesus.

We are firmly rooted in Christ, established in faith and overflowing in gratitude. We are not taken captive but made complete in Christ, who is the head of all rulers and authorities. We were buried with Him in baptism, raised up to be alive with Him; having our transgressions moved out of the way, we are now Forgiven & Debt-Free, our certificate of debt nailed to the cross, through the triumph of Christ Jesus.

Our faith is firmly rooted in Christ Jesus. We re filed with thanks, unmoved by schemes and empty promises, but rather, we are complete in Christ, the Lord of all. We identify with His death and resurrection, being alive in Christ, our sins washed away, our debt paid – we are now Forgiven & Debt-Free, victorious in Christ!

In this message we seek to answer the question, “How does the believer know they are Forgiven & Debt-Free?”

The believer will know they are Forgiven & Debt-Free when they are overflowing with gratitude, walking according to Christ and standing in the victory of Christ.

1). The believer will know they are Forgiven & Debt-Free when they are walking in overflowing gratitude.

The voice of gratitude speaks, without ceasing, of the goodness of God.

Paul opens this passage with three reminders: you have, you are, you were. You have received so walk or live; you are rooted so be built up, and you were instructed so be established in faith or truth.

Specifically, we have received the Lord Jesus, so we are to walk or live in Him. This means we are called to live out the Christian life in a lifestyle that is worthy of the Lord. The walk or the life of a Christian should be consistent with our spiritual beginning – the time when we fist received Christ. We received Christ by faith and thus we are to walk the same way we received Him – in faith! In receiving Jesus, we have received Him as Lord – His unquestioned authority and power over the powers of evil. We have also received His death to remove our sins.

Do you remember how you felt when you first received Christ? Do you remember the excitement, the relief, the utter joy you felt?

Are you walking in a lifestyle that is worthy of the Lord? Where do you need improvement? Are you walking in faith, daily, fully dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ?

Having received Jesus, is He in full authority and power in your life? Are you living in His authority and power over the forces of evil?

Have you received Jesus as Lord and Savior? There is no time like the present. Time is short and there is much to be done. Repent and confess you are a sinner and find rest in Christ today.

We are rooted in Christ Jesus, so we are to be built up in Him. We are intended to grow to maturity in Christ. Because we are rooted in Christ so our growing must also be in Christ. Rooted is an agricultural term, plants and trees gather their nourishment from the soil by growing roots DOWNWARD – growing deeper into the soil; we too are to grow deeper in Christ, drawing from Him all we need to grow to maturity.

The picture of being built up brings to mind a building under construction. The foundation must first be laid – Jesus is our foundation for life – the only sure foundation. As each floor is added to the building support is needed to strengthen the building. Extra studs are added at the corners, headers are added above windows and doors, plywood is applied to the exterior walls – all to add strength and support. Christ is the only place we can find nourishment, strength and support.

Are you firmly rooted in Jesus today? How? Where do you need to grow deeper roots? Are you growing to maturity in Christ? How?

Do you turn to Jesus first for nourishment, strength and support? How has Jesus given you strength this week? Where do you need strength today?

Finally, you were instructed in Christ, in the truth so you are to be established in faith or truth. We must remember the truth of the Scriptures in which we have been instructed or taught, since we first came to faith. Our faith is based on the truth found in the Scriptures and Christ Jesus. To be established in faith is to be firm, stable, holding fast and not letting go. We become established in faith through reading, studying and meditating on the Word of God, through a prayer life that keeps us connected with our source of strength and support and by walking or living a lifestyle that is worthy of the Lord.

Are you still trusting and believing the truth you learned when you first came to faith in Christ?

Are you holding fast and not letting go of your faith in Christ? Do you read, studying and meditate on the Word to keep you connected to the source of your support and strength?

Where do you need the truth of Christ today?

All of these things, receiving and waking in Him, firmly rooted and being built up and instructed and established in faith are all continuous actions. They are ongoing as we grow to maturity on Christ and will not be completed until He returns to establish His eternal kingdom. Do not lose hope, for only God can complete the work He has started in you. The action of walking in overflowing gratitude is in the active voice in the Greek. This means the action of God in the believer’s life should cause overwhelming gratitude – thankfulness – in the believer.

Are you walking in overflowing gratitude today? What has God done this week to fill you to overflowing with thankfulness?

The believer will know they are Forgiven & Debt-Free when they are overflowing with gratitude, walking according to Christ and standing in the victory of Christ.

2). The believer will know they are Forgiven & Debt-Free when they are walking in fellowship with Christ?

We are baptized into Christ – meaning we share the benefits of His death and resurrection.

Paul ends this passage with three more reminders of who we are in Christ. Three reasons we should be walking in the victory of Christ. We are complete, circumcised and raised up in Christ.

In Christ we are complete – once we were empty but now, we are full. The fullness of God resides in Christ, He is not just another God alongside God, instead all of God lives uniquely and supremely in Christ. Christ is the fullness of God – that fullness lives, continuously and permanently in Christ bodily. Remember this is pleroma – the sum total of all that God is; all of His being and attributes.

The amazing thing is we believers have come into this fullness – we are complete in Christ. We have all the fullness a human could possibly possess. We have FULL access to the Father. We are granted FULL privileges in the family of God. We are FULLY forgiven – forgiven and redemption are the gifts of fullness.

Are you walking in the fullness of Christ? Where do you need the fullness of Christ today? Where do you need Jesus to do the work of completeness in your life?

In Christ we are circumcised – we were once separated but now we are devoted and set apart for God. When we submit to Christ we submit to circumcision – an act of dedication and consecration. The Old Testament covenant of circumcision was a physical operation with spiritual significance. This act had to be performed by human hands.

The circumcision we receive is not done by any human means – this is strictly an act of God! For Jews it was an external operation – for believers it is an internal operation. For Jews it was only part of the body – for believers it is the entire “body of sin.” For Jews it was performed by human hands – for believers it is done without hands, performed by God Himself. For Jews it offered no help in overcoming sin – for believers it enables them to overcome sin.

Physical circumcision of the Jewish male was a covenant with God setting the Jews apart as God’s chosen people. This kept them close to God, enabling them to share in the promises and blessings of God. Their obedience to this and the commandments of God were key to their closeness and chosen status as God’s people. As Gentiles we were once separated from God and His promises and blessings, now we are devoted and set apart to God.

Have you received the circumcision of Christ? Where do you need the circumcision of Christ today? The circumcision of Christ means you have repented of your sins and confessed your need for a Lord and Savior. Thus, you come by faith to Christ, and He performs the work of cleansing and renewing your heart – performing the circumcision of Christ.

In Christ we are raised up – we were dead in our sin, now we are buried in baptism with Christ. As believers we are identified as having already dies with Christ. Our baptism gives us a clean slate – accusations against us have been wiped away and we have freedom from the power of sin and death, powers already defeated by Christ.

Being identified with Christ means whatever happened to Christ has also happened to us, to you and to me. When He died – we died. When He was buried – we were buried. When He was raised – we were raised. This also means we have left the old life we once lived. This same power that raised Jesus from the grave is alive, active and living in us! It is our faith in God that allows us to experience this power when we are raised to new live in Christ.

Are you living in the power that raised Jesus from the dead? Where do you need this power today?

The believer will know they are Forgiven & Debt-Free when they are overflowing with gratitude, walking according to Christ and standing in the victory of Christ.

3). The believer will know they are Forgiven & Debt-Free when they are walking in the victory of Christ.

Christ has nailed the incriminating evidence against you – the certificate of debt – to the cross.

Paul begins this final section by reminding us Christ has triumphed over the evil powers of this world. We are alive in Christ and thus we walk in His victory! What is our victory in Christ? Once we were dead in our sins and uncircumcised. This means we had no spiritual life – our work was sinful and the wage we received was death. Our sinful nature p being uncircumcised – led to our spiritual death. But we have victory in Christ because we have been made alive in Him through our faith. He has defeated death and we are no longer subject to the wages paid by sin.

Christ is completing a work in us – beginning on the inside – to make us a new creation. The circumcision of the heart – internal operation – leads to new attitudes and actions – external operations. Our sins have been forgiven – nailed to the cross. In the ancient Near East, there was a literal certificate of debt – a hand-written account of debt owed by a person – a list of charges against them. It comes from the Greek word cheirographon – meaning handwritten document. It is where we get our words choreography (body movement) and chorography (map making).

In this case, Christ has removed our sin debt, erased all the charges against us by the enemy and stopped the hostile actions against us – meaning death caused by sin. We are delivered from the powers of evil. The powers of evil have been soundly defeated on the cross. As sinners we were in deep trouble because of our sin. We are and were unable to pay the debt we owe. The Law demands our death.

But Christ has defeated the powers that demand our death – evil powers that only seek to destroy. What’s more – Christ defeated them publicly and on His cross and now He makes our victory known publicly as well.

Are you walking in the victory of Christ? Where do you need victory in Christ today?

Have you repented and come to Christ for your circumcision to begin the process of becoming a new creation?

Are you ready to have your debt certificate removed and to start over with a clean slate?

The believer will know they are Forgiven & Debt-Free when they are overflowing with gratitude, walking according to Christ and standing in the victory of Christ.

Debt. We all have it, and we all want to be rid of it. Debt is no respecter of persons, so we all face some sort of debt. House payments. Car payments. Student loans. Utility bills. Home insurance. Car insurance. The list goes on and on. If we work hard enough and pay on our debt consistently, we might just one day, pay them off!

There is one debt, however, we will never be able to pay off. No amount of money, hard work, suffering, begging or pleading will ever pay off the debt we owe Christ Jesus. But here’s the thing, the debt we owe Christ has already been paid. We now have the work of being obedient and trusting, living in faith and offering our praise to the One who has made us Forgiven & Debt-Free.

How do we move forward? How can we make certain we are walking in the victory of Christ? First, remember the truth of the Scriptures that led you to Christ. We are created in the image of God, giving us value on earth; humanity failed God and we fell from grace; God sent His Son to bring peace between sinful humans and a holy God’ Jesus died on the cross to remove your sins and bring peace with God.

Do not believe all the teachings you hear. Test everything to see if they come from God. If they do not line up with Scripture or teach something contrary to Scriptures, they are false and come from the gates of hell.

Remember your baptism. You were baptized into Christ. You buried, died when He died. You were raised up when He was raised up. You have the full benefits of His death and resurrection. Full access to the Father, full privileges as a member of the family of God; you are fully forgiven!

Christ has defeated the powers of evil on His cross – a very public defeat! In this defeat, death and the grave no longer have a hold on you. Christ defeated the evil powers of this world that seek only to destroy you and send you to death.

Finally, remember you are a work in progress. God alone will complete the work He has started in you. You re firmly rooted in Christ Jesus and in Christ Jesus you are being built up and established in faith.

We do all things for the glory of God through Christ our Lord.

Amen and Amen.

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