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Proclaim the Goodness of God (Up)

Sermon Series:


Ryan Kimmel
Ryan Kimmel

Lead Pastor

Peace Church

Main Passage:
Colossians 1:1-2


Today is the day that the Lord has made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it, and everyone said with all their hearts. Amen.

So I want to start off this morning with a little game. It's a very simple game. It's called good or bad I'm going to show you something you tell me if it's good or bad. Ready? Walnuts and brownies. Wow, okay. So first service over overwhelmingly loved this idea I can see why you guys don't mix. Interesting. I agree. That's gross. All right. If you think that about walnuts and brownies, good or bad, fruit and jello. You had to see it, didn't you? You had to see it. Just like remind you how nasty it is. Who's going to be the brave dissenter in here that says, you know what, let's make Jell-O healthy again. Put fruit in it. Anybody? A few of you? All right, okay. Let's continue and just see what happens here. Good or bad? Christmas music before Thanksgiving. My people. Awesome. All right, let's go for the most divisive thing that is out there in our world today. Pineapple on pizza, good or bad? That felt mixed. I got to know. I have to know. So let's just go. I need to raise, raise your hands. Pineapple on pizza is God's gift to us. Who says no, it's an abomination? Whoa, that's 50-50. Interesting.

Well, you know what's funny is when we talk about things that are good or bad, it typically comes down to not objective truth, but personal opinion. And here's what I can tell you about our world today. Even objective truth can be debated in our world because there is no objective truth like personal opinion for our world. For our world, personal opinion is more important than objective truth. And so I'm going to postulate something before you right now that I believe is an objective truth. And once we fully understand this and grasp this truth. I believe it changes everything. It's a very simple truth and it's this, that God is good. God is good and when we truly understand that, I'm telling you, I think that helps us not just grow our faith but it gets us through so much crap in this world, if I could just say that. And not only is God good, but I'm here to tell you that God's goodness is evidence. We just have to have the eyes to see it.

And so today we are beginning a new sermon series. We are about preaching and proclaiming God's word. That's what we're always going to do. And we're also in a campaign. And as we look at starting a spiritual journey, and I'm just going to say to you right now, the spiritual journey part of this actually starts next Sunday. Today's like the pregame next Sunday. We're going to hand out a devotional packet for everyone so that we can all go through the same study together as a church. And I'm telling you, we need to do that. Today's the pregame. Today's the preliminary. As we look at starting the spiritual journey next week. But today we're going to start with what is two seemingly flyover verses. Verses people usually don't spend time on, they usually just get through these verses to get to something else.

So, would you please turn in your Bibles to Colossians chapter one. We're gonna look at verses just one and two today. Introductory verses. That's on page 1251 if you wanna use the Bibles we provided. Now, while you're turning there, just some context. This was written right about the same time that our book that we looked at last month, Ephesians, was written right about the same time. The Apostle Paul wrote this book. It's called Colossians because he wrote it to a church in a town called Colossae. The people in Colossae were called Colossians. Paul wrote this letter from prison. He was in prison for preaching the gospel. So he lets a letter from prison to this church and this is only about 30 years after Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

That's hardly any time. 30 years is nothing. 30 years is like the time between now and when I was in high school. What that means is that people were alive during this time and they saw and they knew Jesus. You couldn't create myths about Jesus. People were there and they saw it. You couldn't just make up things about Jesus during this time. And so Paul writes this letter to this church to help them with things like doctrine and how to live out the Christian life. Now, it's a short but powerful letter, and we're going to spend the next month walking through this first chapter, verse by verse. But today we're just going to look at the opening. And so with that, would you hear God's word, Colossians chapter 1, verses 1 and 2.

Colossians 1:1-2

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

This is God's word. Let's pray and we'll dig in. Let's pray. Father God, we are on the verge of a sermon series, a capital campaign, and a spiritual journey that I believe you will use to not just unite this church, but to set a trajectory for this church for the next generation and I dare say, Lord, for the rest of the life of this church. Help us with the time that you've given to us here and now to follow your call rightly. Lead us by the power and presence of your Holy Spirit, by the truth of your word because, Father, we come before you and we pray these things in the power of the spirits for your glory and for the proclamation of the name of Jesus. And everyone said, Amen.

So this next month is all about proclaiming, proclaiming God's truth. And the truth that we need to share with the world is found in today's main idea. And it's this.

We proclaim God's goodness because it is clearly shown.

Paul, Paul was on mission and his mission was to share the gospel and his mission is our mission. It's our time. And this word gospel, you know this, it simply means good news, but the gospel is not good news. And so we proclaim God's goodness because it's clearly shown. And as we look at these two short verses, we're gonna pull out three important things this morning, and it's this.

1. The goodness of God is shown in His Will.

Now, Paul writes to the Colossians, but here's what you need to know. He's actually never been to this city before. He's only heard about this church through a man named Epaphras. Epaphras was from that city who planted that church. We'll get more acquainted with this guy when we get to verse seven, but Paul was visited by Epaphras when he was in jail. So he writes this letter to this church that he's never been to, that he didn't start. And because of that, we see why Paul uses such a strong introduction about who he is. You don't see this strong of an introduction in any of other Paul's letters. Listen to what he says here in this first part.

Please keep your Bibles open. Colossians 1, he says this, Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. Now, apostle, this word apostle just means a sent one, someone who was sent. He's a missionary with a message to share and he's an apostle, but he's just not any old sent person. Look at here, he's an apostle of Christ Jesus himself. And not just that, listen here, Paul goes for the trifecta. He's an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. I'll tell you that's quite the introduction for yourself there, Paul. God's will is the ultimate trump card. But not only that, here's what I wanna tell you. God's will is essentially what gives us comfort in this broken world. Jesus Christ, the night before he was to be arrested, tortured, and crucified and killed, when he knew this was about to happen, Jesus was in the garden praying and listened to part of his prayer.

Luke 22, he says this, he says, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me." Now this cup from me, but listen to this next line from our Lord said "Nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done."

Luke 22:42

Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.

In his darkest and most terrifying moment when he was hours away from Torture and death Jesus Christ trusted himself to the will of God why? Because God's will is good and it's right, even when we go through bad times. So I'm wondering, do you trust God's will? Because here's what I'm willing to bet. I'm willing to bet you trust God's will, but you don't like God's timing. Christians, we need both. You can't have God's will without God's timing. You can't have God's timing without God's will. We know this wonderful verse Romans chapter 8 verse 28 says that we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.

See I think those who follow Christ we know that God's will is good but did you know that God's timing is also good? For God's will and God's timing go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other. I believe the time that is upon us is God's timing. We are meant to go through proclaim now, not a year ago, not a year from now. God's timing is perfect. This is the time. And so Christians, hear me on this. I'm going to give you a loaded statement, but I believe this with all my heart. A lifetime of pursuing God as you patiently wait for God's will to play out according to God's timing that's a life well-lived. I'm gonna say it again because I know that was thick.

Christians, a lifetime of pursuing God as you patiently wait for God's will to play out according to God's timing - that's a life well-lived.

We proclaim God's goodness because it's seen in His will. We can trust His timing, we can trust His will, and we can also trust His grace.

1. The goodness of God is shown in His Grace.

Now I'm about to make a very bold declaration right now, and it's this. Grace is the most important word in the Christian faith that Christians don't fully understand. Let me explain. I asked a number of self-proclaimed Christians outside Peace Church, there's no one in Peace Church, but I asked a number of self-proclaimed Christians, what is God's grace? And here's what they said. They said things like this. They said, grace is like God being kind to you. Another person said, grace is God being patient with you when you trip up. Now listen, those are nice facets of what we call God's common grace, but that's not what we're talking about. So let me set this record straight here.

Grace is how we are saved. We are saved by grace. Grace is the essence of our salvation. The Bible tells us this. Look at what Paul writes to the Ephesians in chapter 2 verses 8 and 9. He says,

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Our salvation is a gift. You did not earn it. You could not earn it. You do not deserve it. God gives it to us. And that's called grace. Here's how us reformers like to talk about what grace is. We'll use the term grace is unmerited favor, meaning grace is something that we did that we get but yet we did not earn and do not deserve.

God does not have to apply the sacrifice of Christ to us, but by grace, in grace, he does, out of His goodness. Our salvation is a gift from God and grace is given to us once we place our faith in Jesus.

And now that you are reminded of that powerful word, let that inform you as you read this opening statement again. "To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae, grace to you". So Paul's writing to a church, to a group of believers, and he calls them saints and faithful brothers. Don't get offended here by faithful brothers in the original language that word meant brothers and sisters kind of like what we'd say as siblings but what does he mean by calling them Saints. Well, two quick things. Number one we're not talking about the Catholic understanding here. For Scripture anyone who follows Jesus is called a saint. not that you are some perfect little angel I know you're not but Saint means simply a holy one. One who is holy. Because in Christ we are made holy. We are set apart. We are called saints. So anyone in here who follows Jesus Christ, when you sign your name, you can go ahead and put an St. at the beginning of your name because you are a saint in Christ.

To the saints, the holy ones, and the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ at Colossae, grace to you. I am telling you at the end of the day, what you want from God is grace. I'm telling you, church, you do not want what you deserve. We want grace. And I'm telling you now, grace is what makes the Christian message. Grace is what makes the gospel so good. It's what makes it so so potent.

Now we're in October and October's finally starting to act like October, starting to feel like fall. Anybody a little happy about that in here? So yeah, I'm telling you one thing I love about fall, you know what fall is? Fall is soup and chili time. You know what I'm saying? I'm going to tell you right now, I love me some white chicken chili. Love me some white chicken chili. Well, a couple years ago, my mother-in-law got this new recipe for white chicken chili. And she made it, and I stopped over for dinner, and she gave me a cup of this white chicken chili, and she said, Try my new recipe. It's only 150 calories. And I was like, okay, I'm a good son-in-law, so I tried it and it was delicious. It was phenomenally delicious. And I'm thinking to myself, only 150 calories? Yo, I'm going to eat the whole crock pot. So I'm literally going into my fourth bowl and she says, uh-oh. I said, what do you mean, uh-oh? She said, I just realized I messed up. How'd you mess up? She's, I put three times the amount of sour cream in this. At that moment, I realized this was not 150 calories a bowl. But you know what? It was still so good. It was still to this day, the best white chicken chili I've ever had in my life. Why? Because it was overflowing with the good stuff.

And God forgive me for comparing Christianity to white chicken chili, but I'm telling you, the reason Christianity is so good is because it's overflowing with the good stuff. I love what John says in John 1:16. He says, "From the fullness of Christ we have all received, listen to this, not just grace". Listen to what John says. From the fullness of Christ we have all received grace upon grace. We don't just get grace. We get grace upon grace. The message of Christianity is that Jesus saves us, not because of what we do, but because of what He's done for us. And when we place our faith in Him, God gives us grace, unmerited favor, salvation we did not earn, and it's through faith in Jesus.And grace is one of the ways that we see God's goodness and God's goodness to us.

3. The goodness of God is shown in His Peace.

And if this wasn't enough, we also have peace, our church's namesake. "To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: grace to you and peace from God our Father". There it is, grace and peace. We're saved by grace and what we get is salvation, but hear me on this Christians in the house. Hear me on this - Salvation is more than just getting to go to heaven when you die as Wonderful and beautiful as that is as much as I long for that. It's more than that. Christians, do you hear me?

Salvation is a restored relationship with God. Salvation is that we get to be with God again. This sin that has broken our relationship and kept us distant from God, Christ has removed that. And we are reunited with God forever. And our eternal life does not start the moment we die. It starts the moment we place our faith in Jesus.

This happens because of God's grace and we get peace with God. I'm telling you, our relationship with God, it is marked by love and that's a wonderful thing, but it's not just marked by love, it's marked by peace, that our hearts are settled in God. I'm here to tell you right now, I know many unmarried people who love each other but do not have peace in their home. But in Christ, we have the love of God and we have peace with God. And there's a family in our church with a story where they got to see God's goodness. And through it, they got a peace with God. And they got to understand God's peace. And I want to share with you their story right now. And it's the Barrett Gritter story. And if you're prone to tears, get your Kleenex out right now. Please watch this story.

"There were many days during the pregnancy that we would wonder why God didn't make our baby healthy. We would sit and we would cry together and just wonder why us. I'm Nathan Gritter. And I'm Bethany Gritter. And we got married in September of 2020. And about a year later, we found out Bethany was pregnant. And we were so excited to start a family.

The day we had our 20-week ultrasound, the ultrasound tech came in and told us the doctor was going to talk to us because they found some abnormalities with our son. The doctor came in and told us that Bear had an omphalocele and some heart abnormalities. His omphalocele was his liver developing on the outside of his stomach lining. We were very confused. We were crying. Our heart kind of sank and we were flooded with a lot of emotions. Didn't know what would happen next, how we would move forward with things. Was it going to be okay? As we were leaving, the ultrasound tech came up to us and she asked if she could pray for our family. So that was kind of where the power of prayer started. We were just overwhelmed with the fact that she asked us for that and it's grown from there. We didn't know how to move forward with the gender reveal being the following day. After some thoughts and more prayers, we decided that being surrounded by friends and family is what we needed most. We gathered in our barn with family and friends and we prayed for our baby boy to be okay.

So on February 28, 2022, Bethany had her first routine non-stress test at only 32 weeks. Less than two hours later, John Robert Grader was born. He was immediately rushed to the Children's Hospital. Bethany didn't even get to see him until hours later. We had to wait a few days to hold him for the first time. We got to hold him about four days old the night before his first open heart surgery. We were so scared and prayed that our little baby boy would just come back to us. We've had a lot of people say things like, God gives you hard things because he teaches you how to trust in him and walk beside him and that's been so true for us because it's strengthened our faith so much. The amount of people and number of prayers blew us away and it only got more powerful from there.

On April 26, Barrett was scheduled for his second open heart surgery. This one was going to be bigger than the first. We had a group together that prayed with us at Peace Church and that was just so overwhelming for us. The next day the amount of peace we had is unexplainable. There were people from the medical team wondering why we were upset. There was actually a nurse that said she knows why. She knows why they're not upset. They know Jesus and they know he's got a plan. I just feel like we had faith before but without Barrett's story, we haven't had the strong faith that we have. And we haven't trusted God in every situation we've gone through like we do now.

Barrett went on to have his third open heart surgery about a month later. And all three were successful. He spent his first 205 days of his life in the hospital and was finally able to come home to us on September 21, 2022. He is the strongest, happiest, most cheerful little boy there ever is. He's happy in all the good and bad times. Barrett will have one more open-heart surgery, at least as he gets older, and we'll continue to pray that everything will work out in God's plan like it has so far. Barrett's life has changed ours and so many others, and he's really shown us what the power of prayer can do and brought us a lot closer together as well. It's amazing what when you put your faith in God what he can accomplish."

Amen. Church, God is good and I don't want any other family to have to go through what the Gritters have. But if they do, I want them to know that there's a God in heaven who will walk with them every step of the way. I want them to know, just like the Gritters do, that they have a church at Peace Church who will walk with them every step of the way. Many of you have been praying for Barrett's because you've been part of our prayer chain. If you're not part of our prayer chain, get on it. Go to our website and get on it so you can join the church in praying for stories like Barrett's.

But church, I want to remind you, and I hope to tell you, and I hope you understand this, this is why we're going through Proclaim, because there's more that God is calling this church to do. We're not gonna stop, we're not gonna slow down. There are stories like Barrett's that need to be told, there's God's goodness that needs to be announced, and over this next month in this campaign, we do have a number of goals. One of them is, yes, to expand our facility so that we can have more times of ministry, more times of fellowship, but we also have a goal of spiritually preparing for what this means for our church and what more space would allow. Proclaim is ultimately about following God's call here at peace. He's been great to us. It's time for a great response.

We want our church to be strong so we can continue to share more stories and testimonies like the Gritters, so that our community can be filled even more so with the light of Christ. But it's going to take all of us, all of us who call Peace Church home. So if you believe God is good, let me leave you with not just a financial challenge, but a spiritual challenge. Because a lot of times they go hand in hand. Let me leave you with this.

Do you use your money in a way that shows that you trust God's goodness?

Without a doubt, part of what we're doing in Proclaim is going through a spiritual journey together as we follow God's call. But yes, this is also about raising the funds to see us follow God's call. So here's a challenge I'd have for you. If someone looked at the inner workings of your finances, would they think to themselves, wow, this is a family that trusts God? Or would they say, wow, this is a family that's really worried about the economy? Wow, this is a family that really loves to lavish themselves. Would they see a family that invests in what God is doing, supporting the work of ministry, so that among many things, God's goodness, like in the greater story, can be told?

You know, when I ask people of the church, what's your favorite hymn? Inevitably, How Great Thou Art is quickly mentioned. This hymn reminds us of God's goodness. It tells us the gospel story and how God's goodness is clearly shown and it shows us how God's greatness is clearly shown. And I remind you again that proclaim is our great response to God's greatness at this moment. So church, today we proclaim God's goodness because it is clearly shown. We're going to sing How Great Thou Art. And here's what I'm going to say to you. Do not sing it if you don't believe it, but if you do believe it, then sing it. Amen. Let's pray.

Father God, we come before you and we ask God that you'd continue to fill this space, this building, these people with the power and presence of your Holy Spirit so that we can respond in worship, respond to what you have done, respond to what you are doing. Father, give us clarity of vision as we move forward through this campaign. Father, as more of this continues to be unveiled and we see more clearly where you're calling us, Father, I pray, Lord, you grow in us a passionate excitement and a desire to be a part of where you are going. But Father, it starts with you. Proclaim is not what we are going to do, it's what you are going to do through us. And so Father, we come before you as one, singing this truth, how great you truly are. We pray these things in Jesus' powerful name. And everyone said, Amen.

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