Colossians 2:11-15

Yesterday, Paul encouraged his readers to continue basing their worldview and way of life on Jesus as Lord, and not be deceived into looking elsewhere – to the human philosophies of this age – to experience “fulfilment.” (We’ll look at those in more depth next week.) The reason he gave is that in Christ we already have the fullness of God – so why look elsewhere? And we are being brought into that fullness. How? That’s what he talks about in today’s passage.

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Colossians 1:15-20 (Part Three)

Having looked at what this hymn said against the background of the competing philosophies of the first century – and against the rhetoric of empire – what might it say in our time and culture?

I think the key to reading it today lies in the overwhelming message given to everyone in Paul’s diverse first-century audience: don’t settle for an inferior, derivative copy when we have the real thing. We’ve got Jesus: accept no substitutes. Accept no pale imitations.

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Titus 1:1-4

Today, we begin a new series in the short epistle of Paul to Titus. (Why? I’m teaching Titus this semester, so it’ll be helpful to me in refreshing my memory. And, since it’s inspired Scripture, I know it’ll be helpful to you as well – most obviously in its reminder about godly living in a world that is anything but godly.)

We’ll find out why Paul writes to Titus tomorrow, since he gives an explanation in verse 5. Today, we’ll look at the first four verses. They form what are traditionally called the ”epistolary greeting” – the sender and addressee – but also function as a bit of a preview of what the letter will be about. Let’s read:

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1 Peter 1:1-12

We’re reading the first epistle of Peter over two weeks, with brief explanations and applications. The Bible text (NIV 2011) is in blue, so you can tell what bits are Scripture and what bits are my explanations.

1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect—that’s you; exiles—a minority mocked and excluded by the rest of society—scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, of Sydney, of Australia, of Asia, the Americas, Africa and Europe,

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Overcoming the Beast – Part Three (Rev 14-15)

Last week, we looked at the mark of the beast – going along with the rest of the empire in worshipping the emperor as a god, in place of the one true God. And we saw how we, too, often go along with our world and its idolatry. This week, we’re looking at how Revelation encourages its readers not to go along with the world, by appealing to the four cardinal virtues of advantage, justice, courage, and self-control – how Revelation helps us to resist the mark of the beast.

The three angels

Revelation 14:6-7 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

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Back next week…

Coffee with the King returns next week, looking at the second half of the book of Revelation. We studied the first half last year, so if you missed it, some good preparation would be to read this post on how we interpret Revelation.

You can also order my recent book, Catching the Wave: Preaching the New Testament as Rhetoric, from the Book Depository and other online stores. Or if you’re in Australia, directly from me – – for $20 including postage. It’s a great Christmas idea for that special pastor in your life.  Full details here.

Catch-up Friday

Use today (and the weekend) to catch up on any readings you’ve missed.

If you’re up-to-date, here’s some more thoughts on our current passage (John 16:16-33) introducing a story told by Philip Yancey. It’s a reminder that Jesus has already won the victory. He says to his disciples at the end of his farewell speech:

John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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Jesus says farewell – Part Sixteen (John 16)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. 

Yesterday, we saw how Jesus comforted his disciples ahead of what would be a long, dark weekend. He pointed forward to his resurrection – when they would see him again – as a time of joy in their future. Not just because they’d see him (briefly) again, because it would change everything. And we were reminded that for us, that joy doesn’t lie in our future, but in our present. The resurrection is the source of our present joy.

The resurrection is the basis of our future hope

But we still have a future hope, because we haven’t yet received the full measure of our salvation. There’s a tension between the already and the not-yet – precisely because we are not yet face to face with Jesus, in the age to come.

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