Chapel with Garet Halbert

Posted April 23, 2019 by Andrew Joyce

Automated Transcript

Please turn your bibles to Colossians chapter one.

As you turn there, I’d like to thank Doctor Aubrey for the honor to preach this morning. I’d like to tell all the faculty thank you so much for how you’ve impacted my life. I’ve pretty much taken all of you and a, you guys have been just an incredible impact on my life. I’m so thankful for Midwestern. Uh, when my family moved here, I did not. I had zero intention of working at campus operations, but God is sovereign and he knows that there are some things that only maintenance can teach you about patients. And so I think you campus ops for all that you guys have done in my life. Colossians chapter one and we’ll start in verse nine. This is the word of the Lord. And so from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy giving thanks to the father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his beloved son and whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Would you pray with me, father, be glorified through the Exaltation of your son this morning. Your word says that we can do nothing apart from Christ. And this hour of worship and preaching is an expression of our acknowledgement of that dependence on Christ. Even on a Tuesday at 10:00 AM father, we need your word, enable me, father, to serve your people this morning through the preaching of your word. Amen.

Have you guys ever asked someone how are you doing? And they stop, sigh and give you a 10 minute rundown of their problems. If you’ve heard the sigh, you know exactly what’s coming your way. When you ask someone how are you doing and they go, well, let me tell you now. It is perfectly fine to share our struggles with other brothers and sisters and to let out our pains before another, but many of us know someone or are that someone who takes advantage of a how you are doing kind of conversation and they let out a bunch of words that essentially express that they are not content with God’s provisions in their life.

The problem with this is that Discontentment is actually the manifestation of a covetous heart, a heart that wants life to be different. A heart that covets the life of another and helpful illustration for this is in Colossians or I’m sorry in First Corinthians chapter 10 when Paul is talking about the problem there, he uses Israel as an illustration in in the, in the wilderness. Israel complained and grumbled about their circumstances. It says that as they went through the, uh, through the wilderness, they grumbled at the provisions of the Lord. They got tired of the quail meat. They got tired of the Manna.

And in that moment it says that the Lord was not pleased with them. And it says that they turned to idolatry. They, they worshiped the calf, they ate, drank and rose up to play. If you guys remember the account, and God strikes down thousands of them in this account of, uh, at the, at the bottom of Mount Sinai, we see a discontent. People, uh, people who’s tired of Moses being up on the hill or on the mountain, I’m sorry, they’re tired of what they’re being given later on. Uh, people constantly showing ungratefulness to the Lord. And this is very unpleasing to our father in heaven. And for us, it’s often in a, how are you doing conversation that we manifest our ungrateful hearts. I share this because I am the chief of sinners. Seminary has been hard. It has been good, but it has been hard trying to provide for my family, go to school full time.

And all of the, the, the stresses of this law of the season. And I have found myself so often ungrateful for God’s provision, sin in my life, wanting more, wanting something else. And so I share this topic with you today because it is the thing I struggled with most in seminary. Being thankful for all that the father gives me often. I spent so much time when someone would ask me, how are you doing? I remember talking to Phil or in the Spurgeon library one night, uh, when I was a Spurgeon’s, a scholar. He asked me, how are you doing? And I took advantage of that conversation with Phil work. I spent 35 minutes, I think are probably more just complaining about my life circumstance. And that has haunted me ever since. Why was I not thankful for the Lord even in the hard times and to add more fuel to my misery.

I have learned that you can not be thankful in one area of life and be ungrateful in another. Ungratefulness is like leaven. It’s leavens the whole lump. A pastor once said, you will never really enjoy other people. You will never have stable emotions. You will never lead a life of godliness, contentment, and you will never conquer jealousy and love others as you should until you thank God for the way he made you and for all of the things he brings into your life. Ungratefulness is the source of so many sins in our life. We cannot love others because on gratefulness leads to jealousy and jealousy is the antithesis of love. And so I, I bring up this before you to, to build up the topic of Thanksgiving because it is truly, um, something that is so important for seminarians in school. On gratefulness is like 11. It will leaven the whole lump. And so I preach on this because it’s so serious to our Lord and so relevant for today’s world.

God does not have ungratefulness for us. This is not what he wants for his people. He calls us to thanksgiving. He calls us to live a life grateful for what he has given. John Calvin said that the chief sacrifice of man is to give thanks for all that the father has given us. This is the chief expression of worship that the father wants from his children. And as we think about thankfulness, Collagen’s one is a word in due season, the Collagen’s were messing around with new forms of worship. They were pursuing hyperspirituality. And Paul writes to this church calling out their sins in chapter two. But what I find so fascinating is in addressing this problem in Colassians chapter two of hyperspirituality, which, uh, pursuing forms of worship that are unbefitting of the church, he brings thankfulness into the conversation. He uses thankfulness to address their circumstance.

He writes to the church trying to help them see their error. And he writes that to them saying that the reason they are so focused on hyper-spiritual experiences is because they have lost sight of the Gospel and deed. They have lost their appreciation of the Gospel. And so Paul’s practical step forward to getting back to the Gospel and leaving this hyper-spirituality is to pursue thankfulness that comes from the Gospel and get this never moves on from, it never moves on for thankfulness of the cross. But before we jump into our text, I think it is very helpful to see Paul’s thoughts here strung together. Starting in verse 10 to our text today that’s in 12 – 14 Paul is describing four marks of a life that pleases God. The main verb in this section is found in verse 10 Paul is praying for the cautions that they might walk, that they might walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him.

Then he unpacks this concept with four participles or four “Ing” Verbs for dispositions. We are to have that display what it means to walk fully pleasing to him. So if you have your Bible, look with me in verse 10 it says, we are to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work. Look at that word bearing. It’s an ing. That’s the first part is simple. That’s the first way he unpacks a life pleasing to God, bearing fruit in every good work, increasing in the knowledge of God. That’s the second one being strengthened with all power. That’s the third one and right before verse 12 with joy giving thanks to the father. And so if you want to know if you’re living a life pleasing to the Lord, you will look for these four things in your life. These four dispositions of bearing fruit, of increasing in the knowledge of God, of being strengthened by his spirit and giving things for all that the father has done in the sun. But today we are going to camp out on verses 12 through 14 this is the part where Paul describes what is pleasing to the Lord through thankfulness. And as we look at this, we’ll see two elements of giving thanks to elements of giving. Thanks. I preached this sermon today desiring to press upon you the importance of Thanksgiving to call you to the level life that is marked by Thanksgiving and a culture that does not take this serious enough. We in the church, I’m not thankful enough in my mind, me being the chief of sinners, I’m not calling you guys out. I’m saying we, we are not thankful enough for all that the father brings our way and for everything that comes to us. So let’s look at Collagen’s where we will see Paul described two elements of giving thanks. The first element of thankfulness is an ongoing reality marked by joy. Thankfulness is an ongoing reality marked by joy. This is the how we are to give thanks. It is to be an ongoing reality marked by joy. And notice with me this first one marked by joy. If you’re looking with me at verse 12 you’ll see right before it says with joy giving thanks to the father. This first phrase here is that we’re to give thanks with joy. And now my argument for this is that it in the original language you have this pattern of a preposition phrase followed by a verb. So if you’re looking in verse 10 where it says bearing fruit, it starts with in every good work bearing fruit with all power being strengthened with joy giving thanks to the father. And so I’d like to keep that pattern as I go into our text today. We are to give thanks with joy. Many of us have been at a Christmas get together and we’ve seen a child ungrateful for the gifts they’ve been given. I don’t know what you guys have experienced, but I’ve been at a family get together where the little kid throws an absolute fit because they did not get the exact set of Legos that they wanted. They were so ungrateful for their gift and their parent embarrassed obviously says, you go till that person, thank you for that gift, and so the child goes, they walk up to their uncle who they haven’t seen since last Christmas, obviously doesn’t know what they actually like to get them and they go, thank you for my gift. Now this thing, thankfulness is really not. Thankfulness isn’t it’s forced appreciation and forced appreciation is not thankfulness. Thankfulness can only be done in the disposition of joy to turn this scenario around. Have you ever seen someone receive a gift that they are overwhelmed with the giving of it? My mind goes to a story of a little girl who was in foster care and she was obviously without parents and a family took her in and as they took her in, they cared for her. They loved her, they brought them into the fold of their life. And one day they have this little get together and she doesn’t know what’s coming her way and they have this little celebration saying we’re going to adopt you. And that little girl cries the ugliest tears I’ve ever seen. But it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She was so thankful to be brought into a family that my friends is true thankfulness. That is true thankfulness. We have been adopted by the Father in heaven and we too should share in that kind of expression of joy before our father. In these two scenarios, we realize joyful things. Giving is the only kind that there really is. When you give thanks to God for all that he’s doing through all of your circumstances, which child are you like? Do you end your day with a father? Thank you for all that you’re doing. Are you so thankful that the father would take someone like you and me and mold them into the image of his beloved son, that you’d be thankful for every circumstance even though they hurt because you know what God is doing through them. That’s the kind of thankfulness we are to have only joyful. Thanksgiving is truly thanksgiving. But notice with me it’s not only Thanksgiving with joy. Secondly, it is to be an ongoing reality. The verse says, giving thanks. This is that ing verb I was talking about and it conveys the continual aspect of thanksgiving. It’s not just a onetime, thank you. Thanksgiving is to be a part of our entire life, a continual disposition. We all know tragic stories of divorce. Perhaps we’ve lived one, perhaps we’ve been the child of one. Well, we’ve also seen weddings where people were so happy on their wedding day, so thankful that God had given them a bride.

And then as the years go on, the the, the, the expressions of joy begins to wane. And tragically they commit adultery and they get divorced. And the reason why I bring this up is because what you see here is so often we see at weddings, people so thankful for what God has given them and then they just cascade down into ungratefulness for the spouse that they were once thankful for, only to commit adultery and ruin their marriage. What I’m trying to argue is one time thankfulness means nothing if actions that follow it, um, do not proceed from that thankfulness actions that, that are against that one, that initial thankfulness nullifies it in the eyes of God. You cannot be thankful one time for something only to pick up grumbling and complaint. That is the picture of Israel in the wilderness praising God one moment, protesting his lordship over them.

The next Thanksgiving is to be an ongoing reality that marks our life, but to flip it around and my heart soars when I see couples married 40, 50, 60 years and the delight that’s on their face as they walk together through the grocery store or as they go to their grandkids game. I love to see these older couples that God has formed into one and the doodle, the delight that they have each other. It is remarkable so to our hearts must yearn for this kind of relationship with the father through Christ, that we would have this kind of continual Thanksgiving to God for all that he has given to us and our relationship with him. It is to be an ongoing reality marked by joy. That’s true. Thankfulness, brothers and sisters. Secondly, I want to look at the reasons for thankfulness, the reasons for thankfulness. This is the second element that I want to discuss here.

We see x Christians. Thanks. Thankfulness flows from all that the father has done for us. Remember the fourth mark within our bigger picture is that we’re to give things to the father in this pleases the Lord. Look with me at verse 12 it’s, it has some unique verbs here that I want to pull out and so that we can see what’s going on in this passage. It says in verse 12 giving thanks to the father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints. In light. That word qualified, verse 13 he has delivered us from the domain of darkness and he has transferred us into the Kingdom of his beloved son. These verbs are all past tense and it is the father who is doing these actions. We please God by giving things for what he has all ready done for us. But notice the last verb in verse 14 in whom we have redemption.

This verb is present tense. We have redemption. This is the the the ongoing reality that we now have because of his past actions. And so I want to show those to you as, as a way of an overview to for us to realize that our thankfulness is in the past actions of the father through his son, and it leads to an ongoing reality of forgiveness that produces thankfulness. We are to give things always for the father, for all that he has done in the son on the cross. Our life is to be thankful because of where our life truly began 2000 years ago on a cross where Christ suffered for our many sins. You have experienced that forgiveness. Now when you believe, but it was yours when he nailed it to the cross when he died for us. And so with that overview, I want to now unpack the three reasons here, why we give thanks to the father.

The first reason is we give thanks because we’ve been made worthy. Look with me at verse 12 it says, who has qualified you? He has made you worthy of something that you did not have before. He has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light, we were unworthy of heaven and it’s treasures, but now god has qualified us to come in and share it with each other. Now when I think of the word qualifying, I don’t know about you. Some of you guys are not as high challenged as me, but growing up you want to know what the one of the most frustrating things going to six flags was. Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about, right? When I say others, you have, you have no idea. It’s the high requirement for rollercoasters. Most of you that didn’t bother you when you were in second and third grade and you went on that summer school trip to six flags or here worlds of fun.

There was a summer when my class went to six flags cause that’s where I grew up near and I was too short to ride all the big boy rides. And so I was stuck riding the little apple train with the little kids. Do you guys know what the height requirement is for roller coasters? I do. It’s 48 inches. I was 47 inches that summer and I remember sitting there or standing there actually trying to like low lift up my heels just enough to hit the requirement without the, the the person in charge of seeing me do it. And of course I got caught and they said, sorry son, you’re too short for this ride. You are not qualified to ride this yet. But when it comes to qualifying in the Bible, there’s a little bit better picture. It’s, it’s the, the qualifying or that rather the disqualifying that comes from having leprosy.

Leprosy would disqualify you from being with the people. Those in the a with skin diseases in the old testament were to leave the camp until either the disease went away or showed that it wasn’t spreading or had certain circumstances. Now this of course helped the prevent of spreading diseases but also served as a picture to the people that no unclean thing can come into the presence of God. They that if you have leprosy, you are unqualified to be near God or near his people. And we in a similar way, we’re lepers having leprosy of the heart disqualified from being with God and his people, but he has brought us near through the blood of Christ. We have fellowship with him and now fellowship with each other that leprosy has been removed and now we are qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints and Light.

And this glorious inheritance is as Peter Describes, imperishable, undefiled, and unfading and it is kept for us in heaven. Brothers and sisters are you thankful to God that you have been qualified to share in the inheritance of heaven? This texts calls us to be thankful for our qualification. In light of our disqualification before brothers and sisters, he has looked at us like he did the leper in Luke five when Jesus came, the leper comes up to him and he says, be clean, be clean. We all who are in Christ have received this same command from the, from the sun. We are clean and we are now his enabled to share in the inheritance of the saints. Secondly, we give thanks because we’ve been made, uh, made worthy, um, to be rescued. I’m sorry we have been rescued. That is our second one. First one is that we’ve been made worthy.

Our second reason for giving thanks is because we’ve been rescued. Look at verse 13. It says, he has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his beloved son. We were once slaves to sin and darkness. We were unqualified and we needed rescuing and the father has been so gracious to save us. But what exactly is this rescuing? What does this, this language of rescue turn with me to Collagen’s chapter two, just a page over, uh, in your Bible it says in Colossians chapter two, verse 13 and you were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, but God made you alive together with him. We were dead in our sins, but God made us alive in Christ. But how, look at the next phrase, it says, having forgiven us. There are those participles again, Paul’s way of unpacking his ideas.

Paul says, here, having forgiven us of all our trust passes, that’s how we were made alive. How was this forgiveness made possible? By canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demand. And so we see here, forgiveness requires a debt being removed from our record. How was this accomplished? Look at the next part of the verse. This he set aside nailing it to the cross at the cross. God rescued you and me from our debt of sin. And not only this, look at that last part of verse or the look. Look at verse 15 he disarmed the rulers and authorities and he put them to open shame by triumphing over them in the cross. These rulers are over the domain of darkness that we once belonged to the domain that we needed rescue from. It is at the cross that God not only rescues us from our sin, but he delivers us from the domain of darkness by publicly humiliating them, by triumphing over them in the cross brothers and sisters.

The Cross is our great rescue from the domain of darkness and the transfer into the sun’s kingdom. This is what verse 13 of Chapter One is talking about salvation was applied when you believed, but it was a competition on the cross. The Cross is our overt swat team rescue from a terrorist layer and our slavery to our sinful desires. Whether you you root for the Navy seals or the Delta Force, I’m not playing favorites, but that is exactly what your salvation was like. Just like that officer running into the enemy territory, taking you, throwing you over their shoulders, gunning down the enemy and taking you to safety in the cross. Christ saved you and he disarmed the rulers and authorities that had power over you.

The Cross is your great rescue mission and we are to give thanks for it. All the days of our life. It is the apex of history and it is to be, is to be the ongoing source of our thanksgiving. You can never get over the cross if you have, you have not come to understand it like you should. The Cross is everything to the believer. The angels sing worthy is the lamb who was slain for us and they never stop worshiping. They never stop singing. We too are never to get bored with the cross. Thirdly, we’ve seen that you’ve been made where we’ve been made worthy. We’ve been rescued to that mighty victory on the cross. And lastly here we give thanks because we have redemption. This is our third reason for giving thanks to the father. Look with me at verse 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Now remember the first three verbs are the past tense actions of the father for us. This is the present tense disposition we have, or um, circumstance that we live in. But what exactly is redemption? Paul unpacks it here with the last phrase, the forgiveness of sins. Redemption is debt language and it refers to the freedom obtained by payment. We have our sin debt’s paid in full through the cross, remembered chapter two verse 14 and we are to live and walk in forgiveness every day of the Christian life. We don’t walk around with guilt weighing us down. We walk in the forgiveness secured for us. Forgiveness is truly liberating. It is the most liberating thing any one of us could ever experience. I have learned that forgiveness, that the forgiveness Jesus offers moves people to do the most incredible acts of thanksgiving. I’m reminded of the sinful woman who comes to Jesus in Luke seven if you guys remember the story, it’s Jesus is at a dinner that was put on by the Pharisees.

He’s eating dinner with them and a sinful woman comes in, she’s crying, and she starts to wet the feet of Jesus with her tears and wipe her feet with her hair. She takes out a jar of ointment and she starts to anoint his feet. And in the midst of this, the Pharisee, Stan is thinking in his mind, Jesus wouldn’t let this go on if he knew what kind of woman she is. Four she is a sinner, no doubt a reference to her being a prostitute. But she comes in and she starts this and Jesus says, Simon, uh, I have a, I have something to ask you. And the guy says, okay, what? And he says, there were two men that owed a debt to a master. One owed 500 Denarii, which is a little over a year’s wage, years worth of wages. And a man who owed 50 which is just under two months of debt.

Neither man could pay their debt. And he says, which one after forgiving them do you think will love them more? And the fairs, he says, I suppose the one who was forgiven of the greater debt. And Jesus says, you have judged rightly, look at you. And he says, here, something so incredible. He who is forgiven, little loves little, but he who is forgiven much loves much. What I’m trying to say is forgiveness is the most liberating thing that you could ever experience from Christ and it will motivate you to do the most incredible acts of worship. Just like this woman she knew and her soul had found the one in whom she could receive forgiveness of her many, many sentence. She was so thankful for the redemption that she had received and so I’d like to close with for application points just briefly, what’s it gonna take for us to live a life marked by thankfulness?

First, it’s going to take a realization of our sin and the cross ungratefulness happens when we do not know how much we’ve been forgiven of. When you look little upon the cross, you will love little in your life. Secondly, it’s going to take a daily dependence on the cross. I heard a preacher once say, people ain’t worried about no blood on the cross. They’re just trying to make it through the day. This is the most putrid yet pervasive thought in America today that life is more important than that. My present circumstance is bigger than the cross, but this is wretched. Paul is saying here in the book of collections, it’s only the cross that can actually get you through the day, the Glorious Gospel, the forgiveness of the father, and the sacrifice of the son is the bigger picture of reality that actually helps you do your present circumstances.

Paul says in Second Corinthians four that in the midst of all of his suffering, these are Ma, uh, our light and momentary afflictions that will give way to glory. And so I look at them as momentary as light because I look forward to what I have in Christ. The bigger picture makes our present circumstances smaller. So yes, brothers and sisters, it will take you the crop, take the cross to get you through your day. Thirdly, it’s going to take contentment. Many of us, our seminarians, we have high ambitions for ministry and those may be fine, well and good, but God has put you in a place of preparation. The season and ambition can get you into a lot of trouble. Ambition can breed Discontentment in your life. And so I urge you to be content in your ministry preparation by staying captivated with Christ. And his cross guard your hearts when it comes to ambition because it can lead to that Discontentment that loses sight of Jesus. This season is about preparation. Being useful is our priority. Being used is his prerogative. So focus on where he has you and and be thankful for Christ in the midst of what you’re in. Fourthly, simplicity. The challenge before us is to live in a world so full of knowledge and wisdom. Well, culture is so full of information, but to be like Paul and say, I have decided to know nothing among you except Christ and him crucified, to live a life of simplicity in the midst of all of this, to say that the Cross and Christ is my everything.

And so I think that these four points, brothers and sisters are very helpful in applying this text to our lives.


and so as I close, I want to impress upon you that picture one more time of Simon the Pharisee in the sinful woman, which one are you? Do you walk and live in such a way and love and in such a way that you have been forgiven little, or at least think you’ve been forgiven little? Or are you like the sinful woman who’s willing to look embarrassing to show Jesus how thankful you are for his love and forgiveness? He who has been forgiven little loves little, but he who has been forgiven much, loves much and you all end me included, have been loved much. Let’s live a life that gives, think, gives thanks much as well. Let’s pray. Father, you are far too kind to your children and I thank you for all the gifts that you’ve given me and my brothers and sisters this day. Father, I pray that you would produce in us a desire to be thankful above all things because that is what you are pleased with and we want to hear from you. Well done, my good and faithful servant. May We produce delight in you by our thankfulness today. Amen.

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