27 Jun Colossians #1 – 4 Things You Gotta Know If You Wanna Grow (Colossians 1:1-2)
– I’m Pastor Mark Driscoll here at the Trinity Church in Scottsdale Arizona, really excited to provide for you the series of sermons based on the book of Colossians. It’s an amazing book of the New Testament where the Apostle Paul is writing from prison to newly planted church. And we took a few months here at the Trinity Church, to go verse by verse through this book of the Bible. I’ve had the honor of preaching and teaching perhaps a few dozen books of the Bible in my career, and this is the first time I’ve ever been through Colossians and I’m really excited that you can join me. All right, great day, we’re starting a brand new book of the Bible. If you’ve got your Bible, go to the book of Colossians, or find it on the fake Bible on your phone either way, go to Colossians 1:1. I’ll start with a little story. And we’re going to spend three months in this book of the Bible. So start studying yet reading it getting ready every Sunday. And let me start with a story. When I was a little boy, I was the oldest of five kids. My dad was a construction worker, and sometimes he’d work outside of town to make money and send it back to take care of myself and my mom. And then eventually the other kids join the family, and my mom would get a little bit bored and she’d want to go exploring and up in the mountains and off roading while we couldn’t afford, an off road vehicle. So my mom would load me up in the mid-1960s Chevy Chevelle, two wheel drive, and off we would go up into the mountains to go exploring and check out the back country. And I’ll never forget as a little boy, my mom would always be looking at me Marky. She still calls me Marky. She calls me Marky all the time. She calls me like “Hey, Marky, what are you doing?” “Like I’m 46 mom.” She’s like, “I know Marky.” Okay, so we’d be driving in the car and she looked over me she be like “Marky I wish I had a jeep we need a jeep.” “Would it be great if we had a jeep?” My mom was always telling me about a jeep. So as a little boy, I got this idea in my head. Someday I’m gonna grow up and get a jeep. How many of you’ve got a Jeep? Okay, all right. So we know all the people that are filled the spirit. I love Jeeps. Now that I’m a big boy. Marky went out got himself a Jeep 12 years ago. It’s a Wrangler, two door four wheel drive love it. I especially love it here in Scottsdale, Arizona, because all winter the sun’s out. Jesus could see how happy I am. I could talk to him. It’s just awesome. I drive around in the jeep. And recently it rained and there was mud all over our neighborhood by our house. And there’s these bumps and jumps and places to go off roading and mud bogging and my youngest daughter, she’s 13 she had a friend of her she said, “Hey dad could we go off roading?” “We can.” And we don’t even need to pray about this. I know that the Lord’s answer is yes and Amen. So, I thought this would be like when I was a little boy and I go with my mom except now we finally have the jeep and it stopped raining so the top was off the Jeep, but the mud was all out. And so my daughter and her friend threw their swimsuits on because they knew that the wall of mud would be coming up over the jeep. And so we’re out mud bog in mud fly and listening to the best two kinds of music country in western and we’re out just making a good time in the mud. Jeep is covered kids are covered, all covered in mud. We get home park the Jeep The next day, I get up and I come into work. And I’m driving in and about 40 to 50 miles an hour, the Jeep is just shaking like a toddler that drank a pot of coffee. Just shaking like crazy. Like, I’m on a rodeo gonna get thrown for my life and I well this is not good, something’s amiss. So I slammed on the brakes and it just totally veered to the left. I’m crossing The center line into head on coming traffic. And so I realize, okay, I’ve got a problem and I’m not a great mechanic and I need some help. So I take it into the mechanic and what they decided was that it needed an alignment and it says your alignments really off. Yeah, I kind of saw that I kind of I agree I second the motion, the alignment is off. And they fix the alignment you know? Professional knew what they were doing sort of reset everything. Next thing straight down the road, on target, no problem. And let me say that had I not got the alignment done, it would have ended badly for me right? Head on collision to the right to the left rather ditch to the right, it would have ended very badly. Here’s the big idea. Churches are like cars, they get out of alignment, they start to drift one way or another. We see this in the New Testament. Here’s a big way to see the New Testament. Churches get planted, and occasionally they need an alignment. So a guy gets called in, he’s like the master mechanic of the New Testament. His name is Paul. He writes these letters to the churches, and then he says, “You’re out of alignment, “here’s how to get in alignment “with God’s will you’re drifting.” Some churches veer too far to the right. Their goal is conservative is good, really conservative is better. And really, really, really conservative is the best of all. And then there to the right of God. And let me just submit to you if you’re to the right of God, scoot over, scoot over, you’re too conservative. You’re like, God made rules, good start, I’ll make more rules. Right, next thing you’re like, “I like Jesus, “but he’s got long hair and he wears sandals “and he looks like a hippie.” You should get cleaned up. All of a sudden, you’re more conservative than God, amen? And there’s a church called Galacia, in the New Testament, that’s more conservative than God. They’re veering way over to the right into the ditch. So Paul writes them a letter rebukes them to get the alignment straightened out and get the church in alignment with God’s purposes. There’s another church in the New Testament, called the Corinthians and they veer to the left. They’re not too conservative. They’re way too liberal, okay? They’re like, “Oh, we get drunk at communion.” And look at that guy, he married his mom. What? What, like, what don’t judge they have a rainbow on their camel. They came in together, like, and so it’s in the green. But what happens is they’re too liberal. They’re veering over to the left. So Paul writes a letter to them to reset the alignment. “Wait you guys are drifting.” “That’s not the correct.” “This is the correct.” And so Paul is like the master mechanic in the New Testament that aligns the churches and gets them back into God’s purposes. So where that brings us today is one of the letters that he writes to a church at church at Colossae. That’s a city, the name of the book is Colossians. Some of you’ve been through books of the Bible. Some of you this would be the first time you’ve been through book of the Bible. It’s gonna be awesome. I’m so excited. I’m yelling like an auctioneer so fast. I’m so excited about this. We really like the Bible here at the Trinity Church. Amen. And we’re gonna go through a whole book of the Bible together. And their church like our church was a new church. Our church is six months old. I don’t know if that. You look around, it’s off to a great start. We’re really encouraged their church was off to a great start. They were very encouraged. They had some wonderful people, we have some wonderful people, they weren’t in a crisis, we’re not in a crisis, there wasn’t an organized opposition with a singular leader who needs to be named and dealt with. We don’t have that kind of problem either. But there are a new church and Paul is basically giving them the driver’s manual. What he’s saying is “Look at this “and watch that and keep an eye on this gauge “and watch this Tyre pressure. And here’s your 30 60 90,000 mile maintenance. And here’s how the church can continue forward efficiently, effectively, in the purposes of God. And that’s why he writes the letter to the church at Colossae. So we’re gonna start by looking at four things you got to know if you wanna grow. And if you’re not a Christian, we want you to grow in your understanding of Jesus. If you are a newer Christian, we want you to grow and mature in that relationship with Jesus. And some of you have been Christians for a very, very, very long time. Some of you have been Christians for 50 or 60 years. Okay, we love you. Teach us and continue to learn. And no matter how old you are, there is always something more to learn. And there are four things that you gotta know if you wanna grow. And this is where he begins his introduction in this letter to this church at Colossae. So here we go chapter one verse one. First issue, you gotta know who you’re going to learn from. None of us are born in this world with any knowledge or understanding. Somebody taught you how to walk, somebody taught you how to talk, somebody taught you how to read and write. Everything we know we learned from someone else, amen? And you got to realize, okay, I need to decide who I will trust to learn from. And the most important thing about you this will be a controversial statement, but consider it. The most important thing about you is what you think about Jesus Christ. That’s the most important thing about you. And Jesus Christ is the most significant person who has ever lived in the history of the world. More books written regarding him, more songs written to him, more paintings painted off him than anyone who has lived in the history of the world. A few billion people on the earth today claim to worship Him as Lord God Savior, King and Christ from all the nations languages, tribes, cultures, peoples of the earth. In addition, we divide history around his life into BC Before Christ, AD Anno Domini, the year of our Lord. Christmas, Easter it’s all about Jesus, he towers above all of human history. And what you think about him is the most most important thing about you. Now the question is, who will you trust or believe to learn about Him? Who will you consider a credible source about the most important person who has ever lived? The one person who said he was God, which is a claim that no founder of any other major world religion has ever made. Jesus claims are in a category unto themselves. Jesus execution of his claims to deity by forgiving and healing and raising the dead and walking on water and suffering persecution and forgiving his enemies, puts him in a category that He alone is in. What will you conclude about Him who you listen to regarding Him? And Paul begins by introducing himself and trying to establish himself as a credible teacher for us to then submit ourselves to him as students. So Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God and Timothy our brother, he tells us he’s an apostle. There are two meanings of this word there is an office of Apostle for those who were the disciples and chosen by Jesus, there is a gift of Apostle and that is a gift of spiritual fathering where you pastor pastors and lead leaders. It is debated whether or not he had the former but it is certain that he had the latter. And a spiritual father is what churches need. Churches are families and families are led by a loving or should be led by a loving father, who brings life and provision and correction and instruction and direction to the family. And in a church, there is a pastor who is local leadership and then there is translocal non local leadership. So, if you read ahead and please read ahead. Colossians is awesome. I preached about two dozen books of the Bible in my career. I’ve never preached or talked this book. So we’ll learn it together. It’s an awesome book, be reading it. But as you read it, you’ll meet their pastor, his name is Epaphras. He was probably the founder of the church, the senior pastor, the preaching pastor, but then over him is another layer of leadership that is non local, this apostle named Paul. He’d never visited the church, he was not a member of the local church. And so what we understand is an issue of governance. That in a home a family is only healthy if it has healthy governance. In a nation a nation is only healthy, if it has healthy governance. In a church, a church can only be healthy if it has healthy governance. And we see here there’s local leadership, he’s going to name a path for us, as well as other local leaders, and then non local leaders like the Apostle Paul. And what Paul serves for as a Epaphras is the pastor for the pastor. I need to tell you this, I’m your pastor, I love you. And I get to pastor, the other pastors, and they help to pastor you. But I need a pastor too. I need somebody older than me, wiser than me more experienced than me. Not impressed by me not intimidated by me, who loves me and knows me, and will speak into my life. And when I get stuck, give me wise counsel, we’ll get to know Grayson the kids so that our family has a pasture as well. And that’s what Paul is doing for a path for us. And this is important for governance to have local leadership and leadership beyond that, so that if there is an issue or a question, or it gets stuck, then you can bring in somebody who’s a master mechanic like Paul and say, “well, you guys may not see this, “but I work with enough churches, “I have enough experience, “I can get the alignment right and get “this thing back on the road back into the purposes of God.” And so what Paul is saying is that he has unique and distinct authority, as a spiritual father who is not in the church, a pastor at the church, having ever attended the church or even been in the city. Not is he able to at that present time. Because where is Paul? How many of you read the book? It’s amazing. Where’s he at? He’s in jail. He’s in jail. Somebody like “I do prison ministry” not like that. He’s doing it from the inside, okay? He’s in jail. He’s in jail, but he still has spiritual authority, and he is an apostle. Now, let me tell you a little bit about this man, Paul, he is a towering figure in world history. Here is a reason that you should submit to his credibility. For those of you who are Christians are no other books in the Bible, like Acts, which is the history of the early church. Did he start off as a Christian or non Christian? Really not there’s Christian, non Christian and really, really non Christian that was Paul. So here’s where we first see him. He’s running with a pack of religious zealot committed devoted, angry man. Sometimes the most evil and vile things are under the name of God. But they’re not according to the will of God. They’re done in spite of God. Paul was a man like that. He is running with other men who are angry and violent and religious and devoted, and they are like a pack of wolves, and Paul is like the Alpha. How do we know this? They go from town to town and house to house and they are persecuting and opposing and imprisoning, and sometimes even murdering Christians. We see him early on in the book of Acts, the church history of the New Testament. There’s a young church leader, a servant, his name is Steven. And they show up and they encircle him, and they murder him by stoning, not the rocky mountain high but pick up the rock and throw it at the guy that’s what it is. This is public execution. The reason why there is death by stoning or beheading is when someone is trying to put fear into a group of people, they punish certain people publicly to discourage the rest of the people from believing what they believe or behaving how they behave. This is state sponsored terrorism is what it is. And it says that when they murdered Steven, Steven prayed for the salvation of Paul, he prayed as Jesus did from the cross for the forgiveness of his enemy, God eventually answered his prayer, he dies, and then the cloak is laid at the feet of Saul of Tarsus. What that shows is, he was the ringleader. He was the leader. He’s dangerous, he’s violent. You keep reading in the book of Acts. It’s not long Jesus had already lived without seeing died for our sin, rose from death proved it to crowds for 40 days to send it back into heaven. And Jesus is sitting on his throne and saw Paul of Tarsus, he has such an issue. The Jesus schedules a little appointment with him. Right gets off his throne and comes down knocks Paul to the ground, blind’s him and rebukes him for persecution. Okay, so Paul gets saved, radical conversion. But the early Christians, they were a little unconvinced, right? Hey, did you hear Paul got saved? Oh, really? Really? Oh, Mr. Bin Laden, he’s a pastor for sure. Like, he was Jihad now he’s Jesus, I don’t know about that. So, what happens is they ask him to come to a prayer they wanna bring him to a pastor’s per meeting. All right, everybody, close your eyes and bow you’re like, “No, no, no. Take that vest off, I want to see what’s underneath it. He was not a man who was easily trusted because he was so violent. Now when he transitions from hating Jesus to loving Jesus to persecuting Christians to being a persecuted Christian, to murdering Christians to officiating their funeral. That something radical has happened and it means makes him a credible authority because he is among the least likely to ever know love and serve Jesus. Some of you will suffer what from CS Lewis calls chronological snobbery. You would think, “Well, that was a long time ago and I’m a lot smarter than they are. I don’t know. Have you watched the news? I’m not sure we’re evolving, I think we’re devolving. I don’t think we came from monkeys, but we might be one soon the way it’s going. Now, that being said, when we look at Saul of Tarsus, we may think, “Well, that was a long time ago “and I’m a lot smarter than he.” Let me say this. He knew Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, possibly Latin. Right, that’s all I know. I know English and a little bit of Pig Latin. That’s all I got, right? He’s got dual citizenship, he is incredibly articulate, he is a man who studies under the leading Rabbi Galileo. So the way this works not Gamileo you smart fans, Emilio. So he studies under Galileo and Galileo was a rabbi who was well noted. Because in that day, he didn’t go to a school, he went to a teacher, and they were your mentor you studied from them. He has this incredible academic pedigree. He has this dual citizenship. And he writes 13, maybe 14 books of the New Testament. Your New Testaments got 27 books, he writes 13 of them. There’s a debate in one Hebrews, we’re not sure who wrote it something Paul did. If so, that’s 14 books of the New Testament. That’s a lot, right? That’s a lot. In addition, if you read the early church history book of Acts, from chapter 13, to chapter 28, the second half of the book, it is primarily the missionary journeys of Paul. So after Jesus, you could make the argument that Paul towers in early Christianity as one of the if not the leading figure after Jesus Christ. And I still remember when I was in college, I was a brand new Christian, and I had a philosophy professor who was a grad student, and they made a disparaging remark about the Apostle Paul. They’re like, well, that’s Paul’s opinion. You’re a grad student in 2000 years, we’re not going to be talking about you. In addition, whatever book you wrote your dissertation, it is not going to be translated into 3000 languages. You can’t just flick Paul off to the side of history and say, “Well, I went to community college “and have my own ideas.” You gotta really consider this guy Amen, all right? You got to consider this guy. Now when it comes to his impact and effect. He’s a guy who has an amazing life. He over the course of about a decade of ministry, he walks upwards of 20 miles a day. And when he gets there, is it like Santa? Is there milk and cookies waiting for him? Say no, no, no, it’s not like that. He shows up and there’s an angry mob wanting to kill him. They were following him from the previous town. So Paul gives us his resume. He says I’ve been stoned right, which is rocks thrown at him. Right we got spring training coming up. Imagine if some Christian were so hated that the mob drugged them over to the Salt River fields put them out at home plate and the entire bullpen emptied and every pitcher just took turns throwing baseballs at a guy until they murdered him and everybody’s in the stands cheering. That’s what happens to Paul. He is a controversial figure. He is a polarizing figure. Some people love him, some people hate him, but you can’t ignore him. He says that he bears the marks of Jesus on his body. That means he was lashed. He was flogged, it says that he’s adrift on the open sea. So the guys on a boat, he gets shipwrecked, and he’s swimming for it. This guy suffers unbelievably, and along the way he spends time in prison, and when he’s in prison, he has time to write books of the Bible. How many of you if you were in prison, you would not be writing a lot of theology? You’d be making a shank. Right that’s what you’d be doing. Instead, and I’ll tell you to the ancient Roman prisons, it’s no camp cupcake, it’s not. We lifted weights, we watched cable TV and then we ate hot dogs. It’s not like that. And through it all, he is writing books of the Bible. He quotes expressly in his writings about 100 verses of the Old Testament. Sometimes he even quotes verbatim from memory from the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. True or false he’s smart. He’s really smart. And he’s very passionate, and he’s very committed, and he’s very devoted, and he’s very polarizing. I’ll give you examples, the early church, Father Chrysostom. He likened history to scales, he said, “put the whole world on one side of the scale, “and you will see that the soul “of Paul outweighs it.” This is amazing. What he’s saying is, as far as influence in world history, there’s Paul and everyone else. And Paul is weightier. He has more gravitas. Martin Luther, the great protestant reformers said he was quote, the wisest man after Christ. That’s a big statement. Not everybody loves Paul, though the atheist block Philosopher who lost his mind, Frederick Nietzsche he said that Paul was, quote, so greatly troubled in mind, so worthy of pity, and also very disagreeable to himself and others. As if Nietzsche was, most huggable in high school. He said, you know what, he’s got a troubled mind. He thinks some crazy stuff. And I have pity on him because he’s a pathetic man. And his disposition in his belief structure makes him very disagreeable. I didn’t know how controversial Paul was. And here’s what I’m telling you, If you love Jesus, wholeheartedly expect a bit of resistance. Especially in a world that doesn’t know love or serve God. When I was a young pastor, some years ago, I had a church that met at night it was primarily college students, well, just starting out and we were in a building, we lost it with very short notice. So I’m in a hustle to try and find another place to meet. I’ll never forget I went to one of these big, ornate, beautiful churches. And I said, “Can I rent your building at night?” “We’re a little church plant “much college kids not much going on “and we need a place to meet.” “We only meet at night.” And I’ll never forget, I’m sitting down and the pastor looked at me. And they said, “Well, “I got a question for us like, “Okay, so what do you think about Paul?” And I was like, “like the guy in the Bible?” They’re like, yeah that Paul “I was like, he’s short, Jewish and resilient.” “I mean, that’s what I think about at least “that’s what it says.” I was like, “What do you mean?” they’re like, “do you think he should be in the Bible?” Is like a beagle that heard a whistle. I was like, what? I didn’t know this was an option. So like, what do you think about water? I think it’s what do you think it should be when. I didn’t know there was another kind of water. I didn’t know any options here. I said, Well, yeah, I think it should be in the Bible. They said now, he’s a homophobe. And he’s sexist, and he should have been kicked out of the Bible a long time ago. We can’t read through the building as a that’s okay. Because when the lightning comes, I I want to be somewhere else. This is unbelievable. And he’s in prison. Can you imagine if Paul lived in the day of social media? Can you even imagine this? Well, he’s in prison. Again, again. Yes. But the good news is he wrote a book of the Bible. Let’s all read it. What I mean, he is so controversial that like if Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were together on the same ticket, Paul would still receive more opposition than that. That’s how controversial Paul was. Just throwing it out there as an example, okay? So that’s Paul, he’s an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God and Timothy, our brother. And so what he’s saying is, Timothy learns for me, Timothy follows me. And Timothy then sets the precedent the pattern for the rest of us, you got to decide who you’re gonna learn from. And this young man Timothy has decided to follow and learn from Apostle Paul, let me give you his story briefly. It’s in the book of Acts. So Paul pulls into town preaches a sermon basically starts yet another riot, right? That’s a spiritual gift is riot starting in mob organizing? That’s what he does. And they take him outside of town and they stone him throw rocks at him and they leave him for dead. Oh, we killed him. They’ll go back into town. They didn’t kill Paul. They just knocked him out, right? So Paul wakes up. How many of you would not go into town? It’d be like, Lord, obviously, it’s your will that I go elsewhere, right? What Paul’s like, “Oh gosh, those people need Jesus.” So he goes back into town. He goes back into town and in that town, there was a young man named Timothy. We don’t know anything about his father. We know a little bit about his mom and his grandma. And then Paul comes back a while later he goes on another missionary journey returns back to that town. And it says at that point, Timothy is growing in his faith reading his Bible. So Paul picks him up as a disciple and then basically what is like a father son relationship pulses elsewhere that Timothy is his true son in the faith. That’s where the Apostolic gifting it’s a father’s heart. You father, pastors, you father churches, you lead leaders, and he looks at Timothy and Timothy is gonna be a leader. And Paul says, I’ll be like a Dad, I’m gonna love you and invest in you and raise you up. You can learn with me and journey with me. And is it an amazing? I mean, imagine Paul pulls into our town, then he starts a riot, it’s total chaos. We leave him for dead over at Salt River field, he gets up and preaches again, and Timothy’s like, I’m gonna follow that guy. I wanna learn from that guy. That’s how compelling and convicted Paul was. And so what Paul is saying, Timothy follows me and dear friends at Colossae, as well as friends at Trinity Church. We need to follow Paul as well and learn from him. So the first thing is you got to know who you’re going to learn from and what I would say to you is this. Who do you learn from regarding Jesus. Are they smarter than Paul. Are they better educated? Are they closer in history to the facts? Is there anyone that has more impeccable character? What did Paul get from it? Did he get rich? Now he’s broke and he’s got a part time job to make ends meet. Did he get famous? No, he was infamous. Did he get a comfortable life? No, he’s on the run shipwreck beaten homeless left for dead. The poor guy didn’t even get a wife. There certain days I’m like, “I just wanna get home to grace.” “Take my Shrek sized head, “put it on her shoulder, “have a rub my neck “and tell me it’s gonna be okay, “and give me a turkey sandwich.” That’s what I need. He didn’t even have a wife to go home to. And so if you’re looking at Paul, you’re like, well, he was in it for the money, no money. He was in it for the women, not a woman. When he was in it for the power. He didn’t have any. He was in it for the huge house? the guy sleeping outside. Who has clear motivation, better credibility than the Apostle Paul. And if you’re gonna listen to somebody my question to be put their resume up to his and ask yourself who you should learn from? So you gotta know who you’re gonna learn from. Number two, you got to know God’s will. Colossians 1:1, we’re still in the first verse. We’re still in the first verse. What God’s word is awesome. It’s God’s truth. It’s God’s revelation. It’s God’s instruction. I don’t care how long you’re a Christian, you can read the same verse over and over and over. And there’s new meaning, because the living word of God puts life in you. And I love you. And we’re excited about books of the Bible at the Trinity Church, amen, and then we’re going to just dig into it. We’re gonna go through it. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God. Did he put out his resume looking for an apostle job? No, he’s not on LinkedIn. Well, I was thinking maybe I deliver ice cream or be an apostle. I’ll just send out my resume and see what the options are. That’s not how this works. How many of you would not sign up to be an apostle? Nobody signs up for that. Here’s how I know somebody is not an apostle. They nominate themselves to be an apostle. I got a T shirt recently from a guy who told me he was an apostle and gave me as an apostle T shirt and an apostle hat. You know how I know he’s not an apostle? Because he has a T shirt and a hat. And he nominated himself for that job. Nobody signs up for this job. His his role is not a job, it’s a calling. There’s a big difference between a job and a calling. You can quit a job, can’t quit a calling. With a job you can be like, “well, if it doesn’t work out, “I’m just gonna move on with a calling “you’re like, I’m until the end.” Any of you who feels called to ministry, you need to be called. It’s not a job. Sometimes I see young guys are like, “I wanna be a pastor, “because people buy you lunch “and it’s an indoor job “that doesn’t require heavy lifting.” Okay, that’s a job. Ministry is a calling. It’s not a job. A job is something that you choose a calling is something that God chooses for you. A job is something you can quit. A calling is something you’re not supposed to quit. And for him ministry is a calling. He’s called by the will of God. He’s called by the will of God. He has certain of God’s calling on his life. How in the world could this guy keep preaching, and going to prison and getting beaten and hated and despised by mobs in his reputation ruin. How does that guy have the resilience to get up on, a morning and to say, I’m here, Jesus, let’s do it again. I’m a crash test dummy for you. Because he knew that was his calling. You will do things for a calling that you will never do for a job. Amen. If your boss came to you and said, “Okay, we’re gonna flog you today,” “and then we’re gonna throw rocks at you “and then we’re gonna drop you “in the middle of the ocean “and you got to swim for it, “and you’re gonna need to find your own income.” You be like “This is where I used to work, right?” “I quit.” That’s Paul’s job. Because he is cold. And when you’re cold and you know God’s will for your life, you become someone who cannot be stopped because you will not quit. You need to know God’s will for your life. A few will get something that is more supernatural, the majority will receive God’s will in a way that is more natural. For me when I was 19, God spoke to me I can’t even explain it. He said, preach the Bach, Mary Grace, as like, Yay. Yay, glad to do that. Preach the Bible. I was like, “I have no idea how to do that.” “I better start reading the Bible.” “Train men.” “I’m 19 I got a lot to learn.” “And plant churches” I was like “I don’t even know what that is “I’ve never even seen a church plan. Since 19 that’s what I’ve been doing by God’s grace. And there are times it’s difficult and it’s hard but even coming to Arizona felt God called us. So like, “Well, do anybody?” “Not really?” The only people know you have a job? No. Do you have a building? No. What do you have? A calling. Right? No money, no people, no building, no clue, but a calling. And so God called us so we came here and we love you and we love the boat we love. It’s amazing. It’s like, people ask like “what you do?” Watched, watched Gods show up. Because God is faithful to provide that what she calls you to that’s been my whole life story. So for me it is God’s calling is very clear for Grace. She knows God’s will for her life and God’s calling on her life. But God didn’t speak to her like that. God spoke to her in more ordinary, less extra ordinary ways. How does God speak to us? How do we know his will? Well, first of all, we know God’s Will from God’s word. So Grace is married to me. So she knows that God’s will for her is to love me and forgive me and put up with me because this is a lot, amen? This is a lot. This takes a calling, just as you know this takes a calling. I always say we’re a hot mess. And I’m the mess part. I always say we’re a drama queen, and I’m not the queen. I’m just the drama. That’s how we roll and my lovely wife, thank you, baby. You have hung in there because it’s a calling. If being married to me was a job. Yeah, she would have turned in her notice a long time ago. But it’s a calling and she gets that from the word of God from the word of God, my wife knows that children are a blessing and to be a parent is a high calling of God. And we’re to love and raise our children. So she’s very devoted to our children, not because the heavens opened or the cactus that was on fire spoke to her. But because that’s what the Word of God says. How many of you a lot of what you know about God’s will from your life comes from God’s word. You’re like I got this job. There’s the job the Lord has given me. It’s a hard job. But the Bible says to work wholeheartedly and honestly with earnestness and integrity, as unto the Lord. So what, that’s God’s will. That’s God’s will. God’s will is to love them. God’s will is to forgive them. God’s will is to serve them. That’s God’s will. Most of God’s will is found in God’s word. Also prayer, talking to the Lord, “Okay, Lord, “anything else I need to know anything you need “to reveal to me.” If you believe that God has spoken to you in prayer, then you take it to wise counsel. Godly, older people who know and love and serve the Lord and have the Holy Spirit and ask them, did I hear the voice of the Lord? Or was this my own inclinations and intentions? Or was this something demonic? What is the source of this? Because the Bible says to test every spirit because not every spirit is from the Lord. So, the word from God needs to be submitted to the Word of God and needs to be investigated by the people of God. And then you come to discern what God’s will is for your life and sometimes friends, I wanna tell you that God’s will starts with the deep burden. Some of you love children. That’s a burden that God has given you. Some of you love couples that have been, divorced, and they’re trying to heal up because that’s a painful experience in your history. And you wanna love and serve and minister to them. Some of you have a heart for single mothers, you have a heart for certain people, circumstances and situations. That’s a burden that God has given you that may be the beginning of the revealing of his will his calling for this season of your life, and something for you to do. These are the ways that we understand God’s will. But when we receive God’s will we then walk in God’s will. And what that allows us to be is persevering and resilient. Right. Persevering and resilient. If what God’s will is, then there is a fortitude in your soul that is God given. And we see this inexplicably demonstrated in the life of Paul. If it was a job, he would have quit but it was a calling and so they couldn’t stop him until they killed him. That’s the only way to stop a cold person is to take their life. You need to know who you’re gonna learn from. You got to know God’s will, what’s God’s will God’s calling for the season of your life. Point number three. You gotta know who you are. It starts with who’s God, who are you and who’s this person who wants to tell you about God, his name is Paul. When we talk about this, we’re talking about your identity. So congratulations, you’ve made it through the first verse of Colossians. Good job we’re now onto verse two the to saints and faithful brothers in Christ to Colossians. He’s talking about God’s people. This would include you this is your identity. And your identity determines your destiny. Your identity determines your destiny. In the culture, we use the language of identity with self help, self love, self esteem, self actualization, right? Self love, all of which holds in common what? Self. It is my identity, my understanding of my being, without any reference to God. Without any reference to God. What that means is, according to secular psychology that is not Bible based, the center is the self, not God and the reference point for identity begins and ends with a self and is not in reference to God. Not to be overly critical but to be observing, I took my son to his baseball game recently we’re passing a church and they said, “Come on in and enjoy our prayer labyrinth.” To be an example. Prayer Labyrinth is pagan, not Christian. Beautiful garden is made and it’s in a circle. And you start on the outside of the circle, and you pray and meditate and ponder and consider and you walk in the circle and deeper in the circle and deeper in the circle until you are in the center of the circle. Who’s at the center? You are. And the goal is to go into yourself to find meaning and value and dignity and purpose. The highest form of spirituality is the self turning in on the self exploring the self fixing the self healing the self identifying the self. That’s the problem, not the solution. Christian, if you’re a Christian and you ever go to a labyrinth, start at the center and walk out. “I need Jesus, I need to get out of the middle.” “I need Jesus at the center of my life.” “What the heck am I doing?” “Go faster, get out of the middle.” Okay? That’s Christianity. Jesus at the center me at the periphery, my relationship with him, gives me my identity in relationship to him. I did the one thing that changes everything because when who you are, you know what to do. So I wanna talk a little bit about your identity because that’s where he begins. If you don’t have your identity and reference to God, the only reference point you have is your identity in relationship to other people. So you look at somebody, they’re the smart one that makes you the. Good job. You knew it. Good job. Okay, you’re the dumb one. Okay? So they’re the pretty one that makes you the I didn’t say ugly you did. But yeah, that’s what it means. They’re the successful one. That means I’m not I’m the loser, that was harsh. That was very harsh and accurate, okay? And what happens then is, we compare and contrast ourselves to one another, and your identity ends up in one of two places, pride or despair. Pride, “I’m the smart one, “I’m the successful one.” “I’m the pretty one.” “And I’m the other one.” “I’m the ugly one.” “I’m the stupid one.” “I’m the loser.” Notice the temperature in the room changed, ’cause this is your life. And I love you. And I’m glad that I get to teach you God’s word. Because when the truth, the truth sets you free. At some of you are living in the bondage of an identity that was not given to you by God. I was dealing with a guy recently, he just keeps doing stupid stuff, just rebellious. I said, “Why do you do that?” He said, “I’m a rebel.” “Who told you that?” “Is on your birth certificate?” “Who told you that?” He said, “When I was little, “my parents just said you’re a rebel.” “So I’m a rebel.” Now, Jesus didn’t say that. That’s not true. But somebody handed you an identity and now you’re like an actor playing a role and your whole life is acting out of that identity. That’s not who you are. There was another girl she keeps dating a string of really bad guys. I asked her, I said, “Why do you keep picking these guys?” She said, “Well, I’m damaged goods, “I don’t deserve any better.” Sweetheart, who told you that? Jesus didn’t tell you that. The Bible didn’t tell you that. I said, No, no, no, no, no, no, that’s not who you are. But she has an identity, a damaged goods with low values, so I need to accept abusive relationships because that’s what I’m worth. You see where this issue of identity it determines your destiny. Your identity determines your activity. It sets a roll for you. It sets a script for you. It’s so incredibly important to know who you are because when who you are, then what to do. So how many of you grew up in more religious homes, okay? So if I were to ask you, I grew up in a fairly religious home. If you grew up in a religious home, or if your Bible believing, if you say okay, you’re anthropology or doctrine of humanity your view of human beings. If you had to pick one word, people are fill in the blank, pick the one word. Sinners. Sinners. Is that true? Yeah, it is. Let me be prepared for this. Let me throw out a needle here. The Bible says we’re sinners by nature and choice, all of sin falls short of the glory of God. What does all mean? Everybody, right, everybody? The Bible says, if we say we’re without sin, we’re calling God a liar, because God says we’re all sinners. We’re all sinners by nature and choice. More than 300 times the Bible refers to people overtly as sinners. Question, if you’re a Christian, is your identity, sinner? Your activity is different than your identity. Sin will explain some of what you do saint explains the totality of who you are. Sin will explain your occasional activity saint defines your constant identity. Let me do this for those of you that are, let me go deep into the pool for a moment. Let me go deep into the pool with some of you. There’s a theological system that I have an affinity toward. But the first point is that human beings are totally depraved. What that means your mind, body will and emotions are infected and affected by sin. I believe that the Bible teaches that. But it begins, not where the Bible begins. It begins in Genesis 3, not Genesis 1 and 2. The Bible begins with God, not man. The Bible begins with holiness, not sin. The Bible begins that God made us in His image and likeness and blessed us and bestowed upon us particular dignity, value and worth. And then the Bible says that we have sinned by nature and choice. But our identity was established before our rebellion. And here’s what I want you to know that if sin is your identity, then the Bible is wrong because if you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, if you have given your sin to the Lord Jesus Christ, if you have received the forgiveness, the salvation, the transformation of the Lord Jesus Christ, then there will true or false come a day, when you never sin again. That day is coming. That day is coming. And if sin was your identity, it would be constant through eternity. But it comes to an end upon your death, and you will see the Lord Jesus Christ face to face you will know him as you are fully known, and you will be like him in perfect holiness and obedience. That means that sin may explain a portion of your existence, but it is not your eternal destiny. And this word is incredibly important to the saints. These are the chosen ones, the holy ones, the righteous ones. Again, I need to be very careful threading this needle. Does Pastor Mark Driscoll think that we are sinners yes or no? Yes, sin explains what we do, but saint explains who we are and who we are will allow us to stop what we do. When God is finished with you, you will be like Jesus, you will be sinless, you will be holy, you will be obedient and you will be perfect. Now, in this life, there is progress, and at the end of this life, there is perfection. So, when it comes to these issue of saint and sinner, the Bible refers as I said to people overtly as sinners about 300 times. Only three of those occasions are possibly God speaking to Christians. Born again Bible believing Jesus loving people of God. Each of those three is debated by theologians. More than 200 times the Bible refers to God’s people as holy, righteous, and are saints. Are you a saint? How many of you don’t put that on your business card? It’s a little weird, right? I can fix your pool. And I’m saying. How many of you don’t put that on your LinkedIn page? I could type 40 words a minute, I could drive a stick shift. And I’m a saint. It sounds kind of weird to say it, doesn’t it? How many of you were raised Catholic like me. It sounds really weird to call yourself a saint, doesn’t it? Because if you’re raised Catholic and if you’re here. My name is Father Mark, welcome to our mass web community in a moment. I didn’t have a bad experience with the Catholic Church. I love Catholics, many Catholics know and love Jesus. I didn’t. It wasn’t the church’s fault, it was mine. But I grew up as a little Catholic boy hearing about the saints. We learned about the saints we prayed the prayers of the saints, we prayed prayers to the saints, we had metals for the saints. And to me, I thought these are mythical creatures that don’t really exist. I thought these are like superheroes. It’s like, Wonder Woman can fly and Tithe lady gives 10% of our gross income to the Lord, Those are crazy fairy tales. Superman can fly and forgiveness boy loves his enemies. That’s crazy. No, that’s not real, of course. That’s what I thought. I thought that the saints were mythical superheroes, not real people. Sainthood began, at least in the Catholic tradition with those who were martyred for their faith. They died for their love of Jesus, which is a good thing. But then over time it kind of developed into a religious institution. Here’s how you become a saint in Catholicism. Step one, would you like to be a saint? Step one, be Catholic. So you all got to leave, go home, okay? Step two, you got to die. So don’t go far okay? So you got to be Catholic who dies. Step three, local devotion grows up. So we put up a little memorial and people would remember you and candles and trinkets and would memorialize you. And then number four, your life would be investigated. So somebody with a big hat, a long beard, and a clipboard who looked very serious with a furrowed brow would show up and say, “We’re here to investigate on behalf “of the religious establishment.” And a case file would be opened. And then number five, your local Bishop would send the case to the Vatican. And then the people would pray for a miracle because if you were dead and a miracle could be done in your name then that would show that you are saint. And then if a miracle happened, then the guys that come up with big hats in the long beards in the clipboards, and they would investigate to see whether or not the miracle really happened. And point eight if that happened, then you’re called blessed. Your junior varsity, not varsity, but you’re in the game, okay? And then number nine, the people would pray for another miracle. And if it happened, you would be declared, you’re a saint. Now we can name a school after you a church after you a holiday. If you really do good, we’ll make a bubble head and we’ll put your face on a candle next to the fajitas at the grocery store. You’re in. How do you be a saint according to the Bible? One step. Jesus. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, that’s why it’s a little like, I belong to Jesus I’m a saint. I belong to Jesus I’m a saint. Yes, because to the. How many of you grew up in a religious home where the Bible was basically a bunch of ammunition that God loaded into a religious barrel? You’re a sinner, You’re just bleeding out of your soul. You’re like, okay, I am bad, I get it. I’m really really bad. And I feel really really bad. And it’s as if the worse you feel, the holier you are. And then God says, “You’re a saint.” “I’m a what?” “I’m a sinner.” “Yeah, I know, but Imma call you a saint.” “Why would you call me a saint?” “That’s not what I do.” “No, that’s what you’re gonna do.” “Well, that’s not who I am.” “No, but that’s who my son is.” “Well, that’s not what I’ve achieved.” “No, that’s what you’ve received.” “Well, that’s not what I deserve.” “No, but that’s what I give.” Really? How does this happen? How does a sinner become a saint? Two little words, big implications. What are they? In Christ. That phrase really appears outside of the writing of Paul, off the top of my head I think it appears about 216 times in the writings of Paul. Only about three times Christians are called Christians. 216 times ish if my memory is correct, our identity is in Christ. Let me explain to you how this works, there’s a difference between your residence and your citizenship. So when our daughter graduated from high school, and she was preparing for college, we prayed and talked and she said that “I wanna work on my Spanish get time with the Lord, “Get time in the word of God, “get ready for a good college run “I want to spend a semester “at a Bible College in Costa Rica, “working on my Spanish and studying my Bible “and being with the Lord.” That’s a great idea. So we sent her when she was there, her residence was in Costa Rica, but that wasn’t her citizenship. All Christians need to distinguish between your residence and your citizenship, where you are and where your home is. That’s why the Bible says that we’re pilgrims and so sojourners and aliens that were just passing through. Here’s what this means. For those of you who are Christians, this is as close to hell as you’ll ever be. For those of you who are Christians, this is as bad as it will ever get. For those of you who are non Christians, this is as close to heaven as you will ever be. And this is as good as it will ever get. That’s why you need Jesus. If your citizenship is in heaven, and the Bible uses that exact phraseology, and your residence is here, then your identity is not determined by your residents but your citizenship. Because they are their residences were at Colossae. Is that a godly town? Say no. Oh, it’s part of the Roman empire that was the biggest empire in the history of the world till its day. It was perverted. It was drunk. It was religiously confused. It was America, okay? It was America 1.0 and America is now Rome 2.0. That’s the path that we have tread upon tragically. And they have multiple gods and goddesses. They have the mother goddess who is the goddess of fertility, and they had tons of other deities that were worshiped, and they viewed Gods like we view Facebook friends, the more the merrier. So these Christians are in this new church, and they’re trying to discern their identity. Am I a sinner? Am I a Colossian, or am I a saint? Well, I’m a saint, who’s wrestling with sin in Colossae. Colossae is my residence sin is my struggle, and my activity but saint is my God given identity. Your citizenship is in Christ, not even just Heaven, because you may not know this many religions, the center of the religion is a place. For us, the center of our destiny is not just a place it’s a person whose name is Jesus. And so wherever Jesus is, that’s heaven for us. For us, it’s to know him to love Him to be with Him to be near Him to be like him. And so what he’s saying is, “Dear Christian, “don’t forget that your residents may be in Scottsdale, “your residents may be in Gilbert.” “Your residents may be in Mesa.” “Your residents may be in Tempe.” “But your citizenship is in Christ.” You belong to Christ, you were purchased by Christ, you’re the possession of Christ, your identity is in Christ. And what this means is that God has done something incredible and that is he is literally traded places with you in Christ. And so as you’re in Christ and Christ is in you what this literally means is that when God sees you, he chooses not to see you as your sin, but through His son, which makes you a saint. The great Protestant reformer Martin Luther called this the great exchange. Let me explain this to you. Some of you know this, some of you don’t. God is holy, righteous and all together and always an only good. We are sinners unholy and unrighteous by nature of choice. We stand before this holy and righteous God. And if you believe in and belong to Jesus Christ, there has been a great exchange. The Jesus has come and he has lived a sinless perfect life that you have not lived, that he died, the substitutionary death that you should die, and he gives the gift you cannot earn. And Jesus takes your place and here’s what’s even more amazing. Jesus puts you in his place. So Jesus takes all of your condemnation and gives you salvation. He takes your rebellion and he gives you his obedience. He takes your damnation and he gives you His revelation. He takes from your disobedience and he gives you His perfect obedience. It’s amazing. He takes your death and he gives you his life. He takes your unrighteousness he gives you His righteousness, he takes your sin, and he calls you his saint. And that’s what Jesus does. There is no one like Jesus. There’s no one who does what Jesus does. There’s no one like Jesus. There’s no one who makes enemy into family. And if you are in Christ, then he is your citizenship, you are his possession, and your allegiance from your new identity is to him. Now, this is such good news. This changes how we relate and how we parenting how we treat one another. Dear brother, dear sister, what you said, that’s not who you are in Christ. And one day, when we are with Christ, you’ll never say that again. So I love you and I forgive you. Let’s stop that. Because that’s not who you are. Dear brother or sister what you’re doing, that’s not who you are in Christ. That’s who you were before Christ. When you’re with Christ forever, you’ll never do that again. So dear brother, dear sister. Let’s not do that anymore. Because that’s not who you are. Here’s the key. We don’t live for our identity, we live from our identity in Christ. We don’t live for our identity, we live from our identity. God tells us who we are in Christ and who we will be with Christ. And that changes how we behave as we journey through progress toward perfection. So let me say this. Your identity is saint and any of you can give your life and send to Jesus today and become a saint right now. It is received from God not achieved by you. What’s wonderful about that, if you didn’t earn it, you can’t lose it. And if you didn’t receive it as an achievement, but as a gift, you can’t boast in it. What this provides for the child of God is a humble, confident, hope, amen. Your identity is not achieved by you, it’s received from Christ. I need you to know this, I need you to believe this. And I need you to live in the identity that Christ calls you to. And the future that He has for you. And then your whole life will change. You gotta know who to learn from you gotta know God’s will you got to know who you are. And lastly, my dear friends, you got to know the fatherhood of God. These are the four things you gotta know if you want to grow. This is where it starts. Two versus, amen. God’s word is a deep well, amen. Colossians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our. This is one thing that could change everything. God’s relationship with you is paternal not performance based. Most of your relationships are performance based. Okay, how many of you have a job? True or false it’s performance based. You don’t do your job, you don’t have that job, amen. Your like, “what is this a performance based job?” That’s the only kind of jobs we got here. You do your job or you lose your job, amen. How many of you are in school? School is it performance based? You got A’s . You got F’s goodbye. Welcome to the fourth grade for the 13th time, right? Is this performance based? Yes, school is performance based. That’s why we have grades and report cards. How many of you are athletes and jocks? True or false sports is performance based. We kept score and somebody won and somebody lost somebody got a trophy, and somebody got depressed. We are performance based. Many of our relationships are performance based our relationship with God is not performance, but it’s paternal. How many of you are a mom? Okay, what did your child do to earn the right to become your child? Nothing. What can they do to stop being your child? Nothing you’re like what if they run away from home and become awful? Then your child is your runaway awful child who’s still your child okay? But they’re always your child amen, because it’s paternal not a performance relationship. Well, let me say this, some even go a little bit stronger. All religion apart from the Bible, all spirituality apart from the Bible, all sort of cosmic ideology apart from the Bible, it is performance based. You gotta die and reincarnate and pay off your karmic debt, you gotta earn it. You gotta go to the sacred place, you gotta get down on the rug three times a day, to say the magic prayers, you got to have your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, you got to give a tithe off the top. You need to make sure that you perform that you produce that you’re keeping score, you’re never sure if God will love you, you’ll never sure if you’re gonna trip and fall just before you cross the finish line at your death. And your whole life race is undone, and you live under the stress and this pressure and this performance. And then you’re very cruel to other people and you’re competing with one another and criticizing one another and everybody’s anxious and everybody’s worried. Nobody sure how it’s gonna go in the end. It’s just a big cosmic coin flip and he’s not very good. He’s not very nice. I don’t know what he’s gonna say, I don’t know what he’s gonna do. I’m just hoping for the best. He doesn’t set me on fire. Okay? Take a deep breath. God loves you. Like a dad loves his kids. Just take a deep breath. That’s good news. God loves you as a father. This is the father heart of God. Some of you didn’t have a dad or you had a bad dad or you had a dad who didn’t give grace, and your relationship with him was not one of peace. God’s a father who gives grace and peace. The Greeks would open their letters talking about the grace of God the Hebrews would open their letters talking about the peace of God, the shalom of God. God’s heart is so big, he’s got room for both. He loves you, he forgives you. He endures with you. He’s patient with you. There’s grace for you. That means when you’re tempted to sin or you’ve already sinned, you can run to him not from him because there’s grace. And that means that there’s peace. He’s not angry. All his wrath was poured out on the cross of Jesus. It doesn’t mean that he’s not vengeful, spiteful cruel toward you, he will correct you and discipline you, as a parent does a child it’s wayward. But it’s all in love and in the context of peace. I’m sorry that some of you didn’t have a dad or you didn’t have a good dad or you didn’t have a godly dad. But don’t take that definition of father and then judge your heavenly father. Take the biblical definition of revelation of the Heavenly father and then evaluate your earthly father and we all fall short. How many of your parents, how many of your grandparents, how do you feel about your kids? How devoted are you to your kids? God’s love for you. God’s devotion to you. God’s commitment to you, is the father heart of God. And from him comes grace. And in his presence, there is peace. Your relationship with God, my dear friend, it is parental, not performance based. If you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ll close with a story, this really hit home for me some years ago. Our firstborn was a daughter, our second born was a son. We got three boys, two girls. And when I found out I was having a boy, I thought, this is gonna really teach me. ‘Cause God’s my father, I’m his son. Now, I’m gonna be a father, and I’m gonna have a son. How many of you men have had this moment? And I thought, “Okay, God’s gonna use this son “to teach me what it means to have the father’s heart “and what it’s like to be a son of the living God.” “And this would include your daughters as well.” So my son was born and here he is, he’s naked, he’s slimy he’s screaming he’s various right? First, my first meeting with my boy, I kiss on Mike Ogham. And I remember this sacred moment. Where I held him in my hands. And I consecrated into the Lord. I was like, “Lord, you’re my father, “and I’m your son “and I’m a father and this is my son.” “Father, please use this boy to teach me about your heart, “and to raise me up as your son.” And as I prayed, my son pooped on my foot. And God answered my prayer. It was that if you’re a parent, the first one that comes out that stuff isn’t even on the periodic chart. It’s road tar. And it’s summer I’m wearing shorts and sandals, he hit my foot. And now I’m just stuck to my flip flop. And I remember thinking “that’s the kind of son I am.” And I couldn’t stop laughing. I thought, “well, this is hilarious.” And I thought, “You know what “I got a dad like that.” I drop poop on his foot, and he laughs washes it off, kisses me and raises me, amen. All right, father, God, thank you for being a great loving, gracious, forgiving father, whose heart for your children is filled with grace and in your presence, we find tremendous, supernatural peace. Lord God, I pray for this beautiful church of people that you have great affection for and I have great affection for. I thank you that they give me the honor of opening your word and just taking an hour to go through two verses. Lord as they study Colossians as they read Colossians as they discuss Colossians I Pray that the Holy Spirit you will illuminate the scriptures which you have written, so that they might understand who you are and who they are, and what life is in relationship with their father. Lord Jesus, we don’t have words big enough, but we’ll just say thank you, that you took our place and put us in your place. That you take sinners and call them saints. We thank you that Lord Jesus upon your return or our death, our sin will be no more and the saints will just be all together, singing your praises. God you are very, very good, and we are very, very grateful. In the good name of Jesus, amen.