Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin
[God the Father] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. – Colossians 1:13-20
Your body is made up of 100 trillion microscopic things called “cells.” Cells are the basic unit of life, the foundation of every living thing. And the glue that literally holds those 100 trillion cells together is called laminin. Laminins are cell adhesion molecules. They are what holds one cell of your body to the next cell. Without laminins, you would literally fall apart. The coolest thing about laminins is what they look like. The glue that holds you together, the foundation upon which your body is built, comes in the shape of a cross.
In speaking about Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul had this to say: “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Cross-shaped laminins literally hold your body together, and the eternal life that Jesus Christ purchased for you when he died on the cross in your place is the foundation of your faith, the glue that holds your entire life together. No longer do you need to worry about where you will spend eternity – has made things peaceful between you and God now and forever. Jesus has freed you from being a slave to sin and now empowers you to say “no” to its temptations. And when we fail to say “no” to sin, Jesus is ready with his forgiveness to lift us back up and empower us to live as his children.
There is no need to worry about your life now or ever because Jesus, both true God and true man, is not only your Savior, but also your King. He is in control of your life. He is going to hold you together in every way.
Prayer: Christ my King, I know you will never let me down. You will hold my life together in every way. When I forget about that, forgive me. And then lead me through the precious promises of your Word to trust that with you holding me together I can handle anything now and forever. Amen.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. – Romans 5:1-5
If you wanted to telephone the president of the United States, do you think you could get through to him? Oh, I doubt it greatly! You and I don’t have access.
How about your governor? Senator? Representative? Do you have access to them? Can you dial them up on the phone and have a chat? Probably not! In fact, we might not even have regular access to the people to whom we are the closest: our spouse, our children, our parents, our siblings.
But how about the Almighty Ruler of the universe? Do you have access to him? The amazing answer is a resounding, “YES!” You can talk to God anytime you want, about anything you want. And God – the Almighty Ruler of the universe – not only hears you, but he answers you! And, not only does he answer you, but he even answers you in the way that’s BEST for you, because that Almighty Ruler of the universe also loves you dearly. After all, he declared you to be innocent because of what Jesus did for you. He won peace for you. And because he won peace for you, you have access to God, all day, every day!
Prayer: Assure me, O God, that I’m at peace with you. Remind me that you will use all things to bless me. Encourage me to make use of the amazing access which you’ve given to me, access to YOU! In Jesus’ name I pray it, for it was Jesus who won access for me. Amen.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:31-32
The English language can be confusing. Take the words: freedom from the truth. They can be understood in two completely different ways. One is the freedom which presumably comes because absolute truths are rejected. The other understanding is the freedom which comes because truths are accepted. Today, many people have adopted the first understanding. They feel they are free because their lives are not limited by someone else’s idea of the truth.
When I examine what Jesus said to those who were gathered to listen to him, I begin to see what is really true. When I reject the truth, I am no longer free. In fact, I have enslaved myself to lies, half-truths and deceptions. This is why Jesus’ words are so precious: “If you hold to my teaching, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus couldn’t make it any clearer. Knowing the truth he offers and putting one’s complete confidence in it is liberating.
What Jesus offers is freedom from the devil’s domination and deception. He also offers freedom from the guilt and shame which accompany my sinful disobedience. He even offers freedom from death and the grave with his promise of life in heaven.
What makes Jesus’ truth reliable is his ministry dedicated to validating this truth. His life, his death, his resurrection all provide the guarantee I need to be certain his truth is valid. It is also liberating. Because of what Jesus has done, I am free to live knowing I am at peace with God. I am also free to live knowing what love and joy are mine through faith.
Today, it is easy to be confused by the appeal of a truth of one’s own making. Where will it lead? What confidence can it offer? The only result of this kind of truth is disappointment and despair when I stand before the Judgment Throne of God. This is why I need to hold on to the truth Jesus went to great lengths to establish and offer me through faith. It is also why I want to make every effort to know and experience the freedom which comes from believing Jesus’ truth.
Prayer: O blessed Savior, I thank you for establishing the truth which sets me free. Through your Holy Spirit help me grow in my knowledge of that truth, and my confidence in it. In the end, let me enjoy the true and lasting freedom you alone can offer in this life and in the life to come. Amen.