NOTE FROM PASTOR J.R. FOR SUNDAY, JULY 24, 2022
This Sunday is the 7th Sunday after Pentecost. A commitment to follow the assigned lectionary text each week for a 3-part sermon series on our Covenant Vision statements has led me into areas I didn’t expect to go, including this week. In revisiting the vision of “Sharing Joy,” has me addressing the claiming of the freedom we have in Christ.
Most often, we use “Joy” interchangeably with happiness. They are not the same. Happiness is dependent on circumstances, usually by outside stimuli. “Joy” is a fruit of the spirit given by God. It is meant to help the other fruits of the spirit (love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) sustain us in having hope despite our circumstances. Therefore, “Sharing Joy” is not trying to make people happy when facing difficult life situations. It’s helping others have the spiritual and emotional resources to have sustained peace of mind and hope through freedom God gives them in Christ.
The Colossians 2 text tells us this happens when we free ourselves from legalistic living, mystical experiences, or rigid self-denial. Legalism is measuring your own or someone else’s spirituality by the ability to keep human created rigid, confining and lifeless rules. But by “Claiming our Freedom in Christ” we allow that fullness, forgiveness, and freedom in Christ to strengthen us against “attractive” but empty deceptions that hinder us from experiencing the real “joy” God gives. It then helps us to live out the vision of “Sharing Joy” with others that they may know this freedom in Christ.
Join us Sunday in-person, by Zoom or Facebook Livestream, for the conclusion of the sermon series with Part 3: “The Vision is Still … Offering Hope + Showing Faithfulness + Sharing Joy.” It’s a sermon to help us in “Claiming our Freedom in Christ,” based on “Colossians 2:6-19.”