Open-Hearted Living (Colossians 4:7-18)March 5, 2023 | Brandon Cooper
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Good morning. Go ahead, grab your Bibles open to Colossians we’ll be starting in verse seven, and we will be finishing Colossians. This morning. As you’re turning there, Paul writes to Timothy, Second Timothy, 316, and 17. All scripture is God breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training and righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. All scripture, I checked the Greek this week, just to make sure there are no asterisks next to the word all. Paul actually means all of it. The genealogies that part in Exodus, where it’s 15 chapters of the dimensions for the tabernacle, Leviticus. Not all scripture, I think is equally useful. I think that’s fair, I don’t feel bad saying that I don’t think all scripture is immediately useful in quite the same way you might have to work to get to it and put it like this. If you were to come to me and say, Hey, what should I memorize? You know, we’d probably choose carefully, I wouldn’t just say open at random, every verse is a good verse, memorize it, and there’s some that would be more helpful than others. But all scripture is useful and inspired by God, God doesn’t earn, there’s nothing in the Bible that shouldn’t be there. This is a good reminder for us, because we are in an asterisk sort of passage this morning, it’s gonna be one that when we look at it, it’s not going to look useful at first, we might be tempted to skip it in our reading, and certainly not going to spend 40 minutes preaching on it. Except that maybe we will. You’re lucky if it’s 40, by the way. So these are Paul’s final greetings to those in classy and around there. And they’ve got tremendous value, because Paul is speaking to and about people who embody the message he has proclaimed, when we talked about some people who actually put the flesh on these principles that he has preached, and what do they model for us, they model open hearted living, open hearted living, people are messy, and broken, and difficult. So often, you are those things, I am those things. And it’s really easy to close our hearts to other people in that situation. Because if you shut the door of your heart, look, it is a whole lot less aggravation, and a lot less exhaustion. But it’s also a lot less love, and a lot less gospel. And so there’s the main idea. We don’t want to do that. Here it is when we talk about this morning. With so much need, we must open our hearts to others, just as God opened his heart to us. So we’re looking at some different people, as I mentioned, and we’re going to see in them three commitments of open hearted living. So let’s look at the first commitment from verses seven and nine and open heart practices, little deeds, and open heart practices, little deeds, verses seven to nine. Here it is. Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He’s a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances. And that he may encourage your hearts he is coming with an SMS our faithful and dear brother who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here. So Paul sends to men to deliver this letter, because there’s no postal service. So you got to send it yourself. And also there plenty of fakes around. I mean, they hadn’t met Paul person. How do they know that this is actually a letter from him. And he’s to come with somebody who can vouch for it. They’re no verified accounts on Twitter at this point in history. So he’s sending these guys as postman and proof of the letter. The first guy he sends is Tychicus. And we know from x 20 Verse four that Tychicus is a native of Asia Minor modern day Turkey. And it almost certainly converted during a Paul’s extended ministry in Ephesus, the almost two years that he spent there. We know that he then travels extensively with Paul after his conversion. So when you get to the we passages in the later chapters of x, when Luke who is writing x is traveling along with Paul Tychicus is there too. So he experienced many of the same hardships that Paul experienced when Paul says things like I’ve been shipwrecked I’ve been in you know, in danger from exposure. I’ve been in danger from bandits Tychicus could have said that the same things he experienced that same day. Danger. So clearly he is a faithful minister and fellow laborer, as Paul says here, because he’s a faithful servant. Paul gives them these two tasks. First, he’s to deliver actually four letters, he’s to deliver four letters. Colossians five Lehmann just written to find Lehman, who lives in classes to make sense those will go together. Ephesians not too far from a classy and loudest, scions, we’ll come back. second task is to deliver news of Paul himself. We’ve just read Colossians we get a little bit of the biographical information, what’s going on in his life, but not everything. They’re gonna have questions, and so Tychicus can answer those questions. He can handle the Q and A. But here’s the thing compared to, you know, pioneering frontline missions, or church planting like a path for us had been engaged in our healing and exorcisms. This is not glamorous ministry that Tychicus is doing here. He is just Paul’s errand boy, and nothing more. And yet the little tyke does it cheerfully and willingly. He doesn’t cheerfully and willingly because he knows what Paul knows, which is that there are no small deeds done for Christ. In fact, in calling him a fellow laborer, Paul seems to be highlighting the fact that they are equal in their worth. And in their services. It says if Paul is saying to the clashes Look, don’t you think for a moment that just because I wrote the letter, and he’s carrying the letter that I’m more important than he is, we are fellow laborers in Christ’s kingdom. And these small deeds of the sort that Tychicus is undertaking have massive impact may take a military example, the the lackey, who carries the dispatch to the front lines, letting whoever’s in charge there know, though the latest information, the latest plans, is just as vital to the victory as the first man over the line, the first man to breach the compound, the different roles, absolutely, but both vital to service. And that’s Tychicus. He’s that lackey, who brings the dispatch, but without his little deed. And little should, of course, be in scare quotes. If we haven’t figured that out yet. Without his little deed, this letter doesn’t get the classy, and it doesn’t strengthen a faltering church. So this perspective transforms our entire outlook, even on our own lives. We’re not working, doing important work for Christ only when we’re preaching, teaching, evangelizing, going on short term missions. Trips are something that that’s that weird, sacred secular divide that we sometimes bring into our lives. This is the important stuff for Jesus. And this is what I need to do to you know, eat every day. No, none of that. We’re also working for Christ when we stooped down on a Sunday morning and listen to the three year old tell the story that you cannot follow in the slightest, but you got to smile and you’re paying attention to him as a person, or when you help the person who spilled the groceries in the in the grocery store I owe when you text, someone that you know, is in need just to check in and see how they’re doing when you serve faithfully at work, or at school. And what’s more, those little momentary deeds can have an eternal impact. I can’t use points this out in his commentary on Colossians, that the letters that take a kiss bore outlasted the Roman Empire who would have been expecting that? And yet, here we are 1000, you know, 1000s of miles away, and a few 1000 years later, still reading that letter, still enjoying the fruit of his little deed, long after the Caesars ceased, and Colossi collapsed? You just never know what God will do with your little deed? Has God called you to something small, changing stinky diapers down in the nursery? Or maybe you’re not the one up front with the microphone in the spotlight. Although we don’t have spotlights at this church, thank god singing but you’re the person who’s hiding in the booth up there, clicking the slides so that we’ve got the vocals so that we can look at the lyrics that we can sing along. Or maybe you’re not the one teaching the class on praying for revival, but you’re the one who helped set the chairs up so that everyone could attend that class. Remember this, there are no small deeds in God’s economy. They can all have a massive, eternal impact.
Changing stinky diapers that’s not glamorous work. It isn’t. But not only are you loving that little child Who will grow up in the nurture and admonition of Lord at this church, you’re also given mom a break, so that she can be up here and be spiritually refreshed. I mean, her take the singing one, when the slides aren’t working. Y’all been here for this? No one sings. I forget the lyrics are amazing grace regularly. So like, I can’t sing if the lyrics aren’t up there. But our vocalist will often back away from the microphone. Everybody keeps saying, we know who’s more important. You got to have the slide. There are no small deeds. That’s the point. And that’s what Tychicus demonstrates for us. The second guy who sent though with the letters is on SMS. Oh, NASA says a very different story. Own SMS is a runaway slave. Usual caveat here slavery very different in first century Roman Empire than it was in 19th century America. We got to have that caveat there always a little bit like indentured servitude here. But fie Lehmann was his master to the book of Philemon is written to this guy who was own SMS, his master own SMS ran away by Lehman as a Christian, which means we would assume we’ll have it explicitly written, but assume that he was probably a pretty decent master, because he knew that he himself was a slave of Christ. Nevertheless, so nothingness takes off. And he says, and finally men that formerly you were useless, it’s which is upon on his name, because the name Onesimus means useful, common name for slaves, kind of hoping that that’s what they’ll be. And yet he is, by his own admission, useless in his time with fine Lehman, he could have been different, he could have devoted themselves to the small deed of serving by Lehman, in that household. Instead, he steals from five Lehman, and heads to Rome, because it’s the biggest city and he’s hoping to get lost in the crowds that no one catches him. But then something unexpected happens. He runs into his masters master, he meets Jesus Christ, and meets Paul as well and his life is utterly transformed, so transformed, in fact, that Paul calls him also faithful. And a dear brother, just like Tychicus he is now beloved family in Christ, and fixed on the mission of Christ. We pause just for a moment, though, before we keep going here and just consider these descriptions. Just think about how Paul has now described Tychicus and unnecessary is faithful, dear labor, all these words, how do you want people to describe you? Like when people were describing you in a letter, what would it look like? Or maybe better exercise versus when you know people are gonna talk about you, which is at your funeral? Oh, he is a she’s a what’s in the blank, they’re cantankerous, argumentative, difficult, selfless, kind, loving. The reality is that you are filling in those blanks every day. You are writing them out? Are you doing so intentionally? Are you living from the gospel like Tychicus and own SMS? That is living as a beloved child and thus beloved family, to your brothers and sisters in Christ? And are you living for the gospel as a faithful servant, and fellow laborer may it be? So? Notice that Onassis is also bringing news, he’s another errand boy, he’s finally useful. That’s great. His little deed is huge, too, and huge in a different sort of way. Because only NSMs in coming back to classy is making things right, he would probably prefer to stay in Rome, and not face the music of his crime. And yet, here he is, he knows that he’s sinned against by Lehman, he needs to confess he needs to seek forgiveness. And finally men and you get this from reading his letter, of course knows that he needs to welcome him and extend that forgiveness probably needs to confess and receive forgiveness too. But only NSMs even in his coming back is proof of gospel transformation. He does the hard thing because it’s the right thing. And we have before us the lasting impact of his example. So these are two men who could have closed up shop could have heard the gospel you know, taking the forgiveness it’s all about me this is just me getting right with God I got my fire insurance great, I’m done enjoyed the blessing stayed on the sidelines. Or they could have looked at what God was asking of them, thought it beneath them, and hardened themselves against the need find somebody else to carry your letter, but they didn’t. They opened their hearts because God opened his hearts to them. And an open heart practices little deeds, second commitment and open heart pursues loving community. Let’s read verses 10 to 14. My fellow prisoner era starkest sends you his greetings as does mark the cousin of barn This you’ve received instructions about him becomes you welcome him. Jesus who is called Eustace also sends greeting. These are the only Jews among my co workers for the kingdom of God and they have proved a comfort to me. Epaphras is one of you and a servant of Christ, Jesus sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you. You may stand firm and the will of God, in all the will of God mature and fully assured, I vouch for him, that he is working hard for you. And for those that love to see and hear opolis Our dear friend, Luke, the doctor, and DMOZ send greetings. So we get two groups of people mentioned in these verses. The first group is a starkest mark and Eustace. Let’s talk mark for a moment though. Paul even gives extra instructions about him. You heard about Mark, I already told you about Mark. So when he comes, you’re gonna want to welcome Him, trust me. And Paul knows this because this is how Paul felt about him to in fact, at the end of his life shortly before his execution, Paul writes in Second Timothy 411, get mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. Mark is someone you want to have by your side. If you know the book of Acts, though, you know that that’s a remarkable statement, no pun intended. Because what happens in Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas are getting ready to embark on their second missionary journey. And Barnabas who is the encourager. He’s a people person. He wants to bring his cousin mark with him again, even though on the first missionary journey. Mark had quit halfway through the trip, he got homesick, he went back he wasn’t up for the work. So Barnabas says let’s let’s do it. Let’s do let’s give him another chance with a build him up. And Paul Paul was task oriented. And Paul says No way. I’m not going to do it. Okay. The gospel is too important than ministry is too important. I can’t have it sabotaged by somebody who quits halfway through and actually Paul and Barnabas split at that point, Paul goes off with Silas instead. And Barnabas. Barnabas takes Mark with him. But that’s what’s so remarkable. So we go and just a few short years from Paul saying, I won’t even let him come on the trip with me. Would you send Mark marks the one I need? What happened in those years? Barnabas happened. Barnabas happened. Barnabas loved mark. Barnabas stuck with him. Built in him Barnabas practiced the sort of slow discipleship that leads to lasting change change that Paul saw and understood. You want to know what we do in Journey groups. By the way, you heard us talk about our discipleship groups. It’s that right there. That’s the picture Barnabas and Mark is what we hope to see. So that’s what happened. But notice what else happened. Paul saw the change. Paul saw marks growth and allowed mark to change his mind about him. You ever had that where you’ve got somebody who’s disappointed you or hurt you or whatever, and you are locked in for life? There’s nothing they can do to change. I hear this about people sometimes in the church, even they’ll be like, Well, yeah, that guy, you know, he’s got he’s got issues. Yeah, 15 years ago, he’s different now. Have you let him change because goodness knows people had to let you change. So Paul sees the change recognizes the change. And Mark saw Paul’s growth. Mark saw the change in Paul and was willing to work with him again, even after the crushing insult of there’s no way that kid is coming on my trip. Like that would be the kind of thing you could hold against somebody, isn’t it? Both could have closed their hearts to each other. I’m done with him. I’m done. He had his chance. No. Instead, they open their hearts and open heart pursues real community loving community that furbearers and forgives. In other words, gospel community, the sort of community marked by confession, repentance, renewed faith in the Gospel that leads to obedience. So that was Mark, let’s go back to the group era, starkest mark and Eustace. What does Paul say about them? They’re the only Jews among my co workers for the kingdom of God. That is not a parenthetical remark that he’s making. That’s a really important one. Paul is the apostle the evangelists, to the Gentiles, specifically, these group of people who once were far away, but now had been brought near by the blood of Christ, the doors have been thrown open to them, they can join Christ, the new humanity that he is creating Jews and Gentiles together in one body. Well, the Gentiles who are hearing this message from Paul are eager to serve.
But not every Jew who heard this message from Paul was eager to serve. Not all the Jews were ready to mix at this point. In fact, you can read the New Testament you know, we got lots of issues. On this score, don’t worry, we got issues in Jerusalem. We got issues in Rome, we got issues in Galatia. Pretty much every letter, you see some issue with legalism, and Jews re erecting boundary markers to keep the Gentiles out. Even Peter does this in Galatia and Barnabas, the people person, the encourager, even he falls into this at one point. Why? Because when you’ve spent your life defining yourself in relation to others, in contrast to others, it’s really hard to erase those lines. The lines we have today are probably not Jew and Gentile, for the most part. But you could see somebody writing or saying something today, like, these are the only three African Americans in my church. Those are the only three Republicans on my ministry team. These are the only three who’ve got some real mental health struggles in my community group. He’s the only free Packers fans and my group of friends. That’s three too many. But it is hard to erase those lines, because we define ourselves by our tribal identities. But the gospel of Jesus does erase those lines, because now we are defined in relation to him. That is the only relationship that matters, the primary relationship. Are you white, you’re Republican, you’re tall, I don’t none of that matters. Are you in Christ? Are you in Christ? Well, then no more boundaries. Just one true family. And so you don’t close your heart to outsiders. An open heart loving community reaches, reaches across ethnic and economic and ecclesiastical aligns loving community reaches and restores ruptured relationships. second set of three names, then we get our Epaphras, Luke and demons. So these are the Gentiles among his traveling crew. He’s got a lot to say about Epaphras. If you notice that he spends quite a bit of time on him makes sense. We saw back in chapter one verse seven first week of the series that Epaphras is the one who planted the church and classy like he’s one of them. So of course Paul wants to talk about him. He is a servant of Jesus, like we saw with Tychicus and Anessa mess. But his service to Jesus manifests in his service to Colossi his home church, his home, people, he has been wrestling, agonizing in prayer for them specifically that they would stand firm, not cave to the heretics. They’re in Colossae but grow mature and fully assured, confident unwavering in the truth that they know and practice. Paul says he’s an eyewitness to this tireless service on their behalf, not just Colossi but the whole region louder sia and her opolis as well. This is the guy he doesn’t just love Elmhurst he loves the Chicagoland area, and he’s at work for them all. He’s counting the cost, because he cares. He could have closed his heart. A lot of people do when they leave home. You know, you go off to college or something and you leave behind, you know, those people, you you grow beyond them or something like that. But Epaphras doesn’t. He feels a constant burden for the people the church that he left behind. So he doesn’t close his heart. No, no, out of sight out of mind mentality here because he knows that loving community sacrifices and serves. Now he’s got a little less to say about Luke Paul. He says he’s the doctor. We know that. And he’s beloved, he’s dear like Tychicus and own Asmus. He says absolutely nothing about DMOZ which is a little bit interesting. I just wonder if he saw what was coming. If already in Dimas he saw what he would say again a few years later. Second Timothy four. We already quoted what he says about Mark and Luke was in that verse also here second of the 410 the verse beforehand. What he says about Dimas, there, Dimas, because he loved the world has deserted me. He’s gone somewhere else to festival Anika. Did he see that that he already see Dimas his love for the world. And so he doesn’t say he was faithful. He doesn’t say he’s Beloved. He doesn’t say he’s a fellow laborer. He’s just there. We don’t know. But it is interesting at least. One more comment before we go to the next section. Notice that Paul doesn’t prescribe this kind of community. He doesn’t say this is what you all should be doing. He just describes it, which in some ways is more powerful. And it’s like the difference between somebody getting up front on a Sunday morning and saying you all need to evangelize more, which is true. And you might nod your head and go okay, yeah. That’s a message I need to hear. But isn’t it a little bit more powerful just to be out with that guy and to see him, you know, you’re having dinner or something and he engages with the server, so that we can pray for him, shares the gospel, he that example speaks so powerfully. That’s what Paul’s giving us he it’s almost like he’s just giving us this picture. This is what inevitably happens when a community is shaped by the gospel. It produces open hearts and open hearts pursue loving community kind of community that for bears and forgives, reaches and restores, sacrifices and serves third commitment then an open heart pleads. Last points. The rest of the chapter verses 15 to 18. Only read it for us. Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters allow to see and to nympho on the church in her house. After this letter has been read, do you see that it is also read in the Church of the loudest scenes that you in turn, read the letter from louder Sia, tell Archippus See to it and you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord. I Paul write this greeting in my own hand, remember my chains, Grace, be with you. It’s not unusual for Paul to to give a few rapid fire commands at the end of a letter almost always happens. It’s usually right before he signs his name. Somebody else writes the letter for him, he’d have a scribe, but at the end, he kind of signs his name. It still is worth asking why he always does this though. Man. These final words are important final words always are. But even in just regular communication, you’re traveling or something you call home, you talk to your spouse, you talk to your kids. And right before you hang up, you say the most important things, the things you want them to have in their minds as they close the conversation. So we hear his heart hear his final please the last reminders. In a letter that is dripping with pastoral love. We get three open hearted pleas in these verses first he says greet the brothers and sisters in loud Asiya, including him from the church that meets in her house, there is a very good chance that he’s never met any of these people. But they were brothers and sisters in Christ. And so he loved them, love them truly, and wanted to speak love to them. Well, then speaking to people you’ve probably never met, he has a spirit specific word of encouragement to Archippus might be fine Lehman son, that’s his name. Also, anyway, not sure. Don’t know a lot about him. Again, what’s happened here, most likely, a papyrus has told Paul something about this young man in the congregation, a young leader who has got potential, but who needs to set himself to the task that God has given him to complete the ministry that God has given him. Notice what’s happening then. That means the most famous Christian in the world at this time, is taking the time to personally encourage the next generation. This is like being at a book signing. I don’t think Paul would have done book signings, I’m not gonna lie. But you know, with somebody like John Piper or Tim Keller, and it’s not just when you buy my book, I’ll sign your, your your copy of it or something like that. But But speaking to the these young men are coming to get you in ministry. Let me talk to you. Let me ask you some question. Let me pray for you. Or the image I have in my head. No, but we’re seeing this on the news a few years back when Noah syndergaard was at his peak as a pitcher, the Little League World Series was going on and he was there in attendance and he was sitting with the championship teams, and he was out in the dugout talking to one of the pitchers about fastball grips. He was I mean, this is an all star sitting with a 12 year old, just chatting, fastball grips. That’s what Paul’s doing here. He’s chatting fastball grips with the next big league talent. In between those two personal words. Paul pleads with them
to have this letter, read in loud Asiya. When they’re done with it again, they’re not just xeroxing it. So this is kind of a big deal. To read this letter in loudest Yeah, and to have the letter that he sends to allow to see or read in Colossae as well. So quick word, because I know you’re wondering when I said this earlier, and you’re still wondering, we do not have Paul’s letter to the loudest since some of you were like, Man, I really don’t know my New Testament as well as I thought I did know it’s not there. Okay. There is a smallest chance like 1% chance that it is actually the Letter to the Ephesians. I won’t get into all the arguments for why but it’s really unlikely. So this is just a letter that is lost to us and that raises issues of the Canon for us. How did we get the Bible that we have Why do we have these 27 books in the New Testament specifically, the process of the Bible coming together looks very human. It is slow I don’t know it is messy, but it was definitely a slow process. It looks very human from the eye. aside, it was not willy nilly mean they were laser focused on does this writing have apostolic authority behind it, but it took him some time to figure that out. Because again, it’s no verified users at that point. So from the human perspective looks messy and slow. But from the divine perspective, of course, we know that God’s super intense the whole process of God who created the world out of nothing and who redeemed is people with his plan unfolding through the money, he can make sure we get the words we’re supposed to get. Well, it’s not hard for him. But here’s what this means. If we found loud to scions tomorrow, Dead Sea Scrolls, part two, there it is, it would not be part of the canon. Why? Because it’s not what God intended, where else we would have been missing it for a couple 1000 years. So whatever this letter is, whatever, it’s not in the canon, Paul wants them to, you know, look at it anyway, was was encouraging still, Why is Paul adamant that they exchanged letters and read them aloud? The way that’s phrased, by the way means reading them aloud in the church service as Scripture, the high view he has even of his own writing, he knows that it’s divinely inspired. Why did he want them to read them aloud in service because he knew these churches needed it? He was not wrong, by the way. I mean, 30 years later, Jesus himself speaks some hard words to a lukewarm and lost loud Asiya and Revelation in chapter three. Again, Paul didn’t know them personally. chapter two verse one, he says that quite clear, he didn’t know them personally. Nevertheless, he had this tremendous burden for them. How did we get here? How did this burden come about? A pole is in prison in Rome, and 1000 miles away. There’s a little house church and tiny, classy, struggling. It’s got a young leader Epaphras saved under Paul most likely in emphasis, and all of a sudden he’s got a battle. This new heresy that we’ve been talking about for the last eight weeks is Colossian heresy that says Jesus is great. Don’t get me wrong. We love Jesus, we’re pro Jesus is he’s just not enough. You need Jesus and some other stuff. You need Jesus plus some specific disciplines and practices. You need Jesus plus some angels and intermediaries. You need all of them together to get you all the way up to God and Apophis is hearing this and he knows that it’s wrong. And it’s causing them sleepless nights and he finally gets up and decides to set off for Rome. To share with Paul what’s happening. And Paul’s keen mind tackles the problem and writes this letter in response Epaphras could have closed his heart. He could have just left for Rome and just hung out there. Paul could have closed his heart could have said not my problem. I don’t know these people. They don’t they both love Colossi loudest sia enough to fight because an open heart pleads those last points one last time we gotta go over this again. It’s as if he’s saying I love you too much. Colossi I love you too much louder sia to leave you in your error. So here’s what you need to know. And what is it that they need to know? Jesus, Jesus, that’s what this whole letter has been about who he really is what he’s really done. And that’s what we need to hear again today to do we need Jesus plus, Jesus plus, I don’t know the latest psychological or self help fad. We need Jesus plus some specific religious striving we need Jesus plus some others in the pantheon. No way. Because look at who he is. He is Christ our life. chapter three, verse three. And when you trust in Him, Paul says Your life is now hidden with Christ. don’t need any additions. He is more than enough. Paul’s told us he is supreme in all things, isn’t he? He’s supreme in creation is the image of the invisible God first born over all creation. All things were created in Him and through Him and for Him. And in fact, all things are sustained in him as well. He holds all things together he’s supreme in the church. He’s the head of the body is Kyle even prayed this morning. In him The mystery has been revealed and God’s unfolding plan of redemption has reached its climax, he supreme and salvation. He’s the firstborn from the dead, the first fruits of the resurrection. All things are reconciled to God in him so that we have peace through his blood so that we are now holy, without blemish free from accusation rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into His kingdom. Do you need anyone else? What could you possibly add to that? And that’s why Paul’s so desperate. They to hear this message, and why he’s desperate, even today that we would hear this message, especially because keep in mind. God did all of that, when we were his enemies, and separate from him, chapter one Once you were alienated from God, enemies of it, it’s because of your evil behavior. That’s the amazing part. had Jesus been like us, thank God, he’s not had Jesus been like us, he would have closed his heart to us. Because that’s what we do with our enemies of fine. Look at everything I’ve done you for you. You want to be my enemy, be my enemy. I got no problem with that. But Jesus didn’t. He opened his heart to us. He loved and redeemed us at the cost of his life. Having been loved like that. We love like that in return. We open our hearts, to others even at great cost. With so much need, we must open our hearts to others just as God opened his heart to us. And look, I get it. I get it. I’ve met people. Also, I understand why we don’t do this. I understand why we close our hearts to people. But the example of Jesus shows us that it’s worth it. Remember, it was for the joy set before him that he opened his heart endured the cross scorning its shame. To open your heart is to be open to hurt, absolutely, but also to endless possibilities of joy and wonder. If you don’t ever want to see ugliness again, you can close your eyes and pluck them out for all I care. You won’t see ugliness ever again. You also won’t see beauty ever again. You don’t want to hear whining or screaming anymore. You can stop up your ears, but you won’t get to hear music anymore. either. You don’t want to deal with messy, broken people. You don’t want to give your time and your energy you don’t want to risk hurt absolutely close your heart. But you will miss love and joy and redemption too. So as you go from here, check yourself. Check yourself right now. Are there people, situations, opportunities that you’ve closed yourself off to? And is God calling you even now to open up to practice those little large deeds, to pursue loving community that forgives and for bears and reaches and restores and sacrifices and serves and to plead one last time again, here’s what you got to hear with so much need. We must open our hearts to others just as God opened his heart to us. Let’s pray. Father, how grateful we are that you did not close your heart to us even when we were your enemies, rebelling against you running from you. You loved us you open your heart to us opened your arms to us didn’t just welcome us back when we were willing to come back but went and got us when we were still unwilling. That’s how much you loved us and loved us at great cost the cost of Christ’s blood all this so that we could be reconciled to you back in relationship with you. Love like that should transform us. The deepest parts of our hearts Lord, we know that would you work that change in us even now, so that we too are willing to love sacrificially and open heartedly open our eyes to see those in our lives that we could love well like this for your namesake. Amen.