I’m overwhelmed with anticipation about what God is going to do in the life of Grace Hills Church in the next nine weeks. This coming Sunday, we’re starting a new series of messages called ROOTS: It’s Time to Grow Deeper. It’s based on the New Testament book of Colossians, and as I waded into the study of this ancient text, I was pretty moved by the similarities between the church at Colosse and our own church family.
Paul writes the letter, but he didn’t plant or pastor the church. There’s no indication he’d ever visited with the church, but their reputation as a faithful body of believers was so strong that he had heard great things about them, even from a Roman prison.
Paul heard about their faith from a young man named Epaphras, who was apparently an early church planter and helped start the church in Colosse with help from Philemon (yep, the recipient of Paul’s letter to Philemon). Colosse was a somewhat small town, but an urban and trade center of its time, which reminds me a lot of Bentonville and Rogers, Arkansas, the home of Walmart and vendor offices from every major brand sold on Walmart’s shelves.
It’s a highly Christo-centric book, meaning that Jesus is the star of the show, the main character, and the chief subject. The Colossian church, as a younger body of believers, was a target for false teachers, which already existed in the ancient church. The Gnostics had swept through with a philosophical twist on Christianity that proclaimed that salvation was available only to those with special knowledge and that all matter was evil. Because of this, the Gnostics denied that Jesus was ever human and instead, gave Him a position as a kind of middle-level angel, created by God and bestowed with great authority, but not God in the flesh. Their errors were very similar to the teachings of Mormonism and the Jehovah’s Witnesses today, two movements whose existence is based entirely on belief in a Jesus who is less than the perfect and eternal God-man of Scripture.
So the ancient Apostle Paul wrote a letter to an ancient church that was much like ours, and his words are going to have deep meaning for us over the course of this nine-week message series. I’m praying for several things to happen and I’m asking you to pray with me.
- I’m praying that people would find Jesus and put roots down in a relationship with Him. In a culture where people are blown around by every kind of empty philosophy, may people find the Truth and the Grace of the Gospel as the ultimate answer!
- I’m praying for people to become more deeply rooted in the life of Grace Hills, particularly by starting and joining small groups and by finding a sweet spot to serve. Overwhelmingly, we find that people “stick” and grow when these two things happen.
- I’m praying for people to go deeper in their relationship with Jesus through prayer, worship, and by developing stronger personal Bible study habits.
- I’m praying that, as a church, we will go deeper into the mission of Jesus for northwest Arkansas. It’s time for us to put down deeper roots in our community. While we will never be defined by a building, we do want to have a stronger physical presence in northwest Arkansas.
Here’s an overview of the nine messages (which is always subject to adjustment along the way)…
WEEK ONE: Deeper Into the Gospel
Key Passage: Colossians 1:1-14
Big Truth: It doesn’t get any deeper than the good news of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection for sinners. As we go deeper into the good news, we bear fruit, gain wisdom, get closer to God, and our lives are filled with joy.
What’s Next? Commit to going “all in” in your commitment to the gospel. Decide to settle for nothing less than the full blessing of the joy and the wisdom God offers through His good news.
WEEK TWO: Deeper Into Jesus
Key Passage: Colossians 1:15-20
Big Truth: Jesus is way more than a mere man of history or legend. He was and is and always will be God, and He invites us to go deeper in our understanding and knowledge of Him and in our relationship with Him.
What’s Next? Evaluate your life and see how much Jesus “fills” every aspect of who you are. Decide to make Him the center and priority of your life.
WEEK THREE: Deeper Into God’s Power
Key Passage: Colossians 1:21-29
Big Truth: Not only can we grow deeper into Jesus, Jesus wants to be deeper in us. That is, He wants to fill every part of who we are and empower us with all the wisdom and knowledge we need in life.
What’s Next? Express gratitude and praise for Jesus, and live in God’s power, not your own.
WEEK FOUR: Deeper Into Truth
Key Passage: Colossians 2:1-10
Big Truth: There are things in this world that are more dangerous than physical threats. They are the false teachings and the “ism’s” that seek to lead our minds astray from truth. But in Christ, who IS the Truth, we can put down roots to stand strong.
What’s Next? Become a student of the Word. Commit to soaking in God’s truth on a daily basis.
WEEK FIVE: Deeper Into Grace
Key Passage: Colossians 2:11-23
Big Truth: Legalism and performance-based living is killing most of us. There’s a better way, and it’s the way of diving deep into God’s grace.
What’s Next? Root out legalism and leave it behind. Start living in God’s grace and showing it to others.
WEEK SIX: Deeper Into New Life
Key Passage: Colossians 3:1-11
Big Truth: Because of the gospel, and because God’s grace is at work within us, we can leave behind the destructive habits of our old life and begin, in God’s power, to live new lives with new values and new habits.
What’s Next? Adopt the values that God has for His children and decide to live them out by depending on God’s grace and power.
WEEK SEVEN: Deeper In Relationships
Key Passage: Colossians 3:18-4:1
Big Truth: When God’s truth, grace, and power are at work in us, we will be better husbands and wives, moms and dads, and employers and employees. God’s grace affects every relationship.
What’s Next? Go deeper with people and decide to let God’s grace work in your family and other relationships.
WEEK EIGHT: Deeper Into the Mission
Key Passage: Colossians 4:2-5
Big Truth: God has called His church to pray the world to Jesus and love the world to Jesus, which means getting outside our comfort zones to build genuine friendships with people who haven’t met Him yet.
What’s Next? Commit to loving the least, the last, and the lost around us and join God on mission with the gospel in your life.
WEEK NINE: Deeper In Thanksgiving
Key Passage: Colossians 4:6-18
Big Truth: We have so much to be thankful for!!
What’s Next? Say thanks to God!
Please join me in praying for God to draw people closer to Himself as we hear truth from His Word in the next few months!
The artwork for this series is adapted from a piece from Graceway Media.