Becoming like the One we Behold


Sunday 03/10/19

Series: Walking the Talk

Message – Becoming like the One we Behold Pt. 1

Becoming like the One we Behold Pt. 2


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Becoming like the One we Behold

Instructions on “Doing Business” from Colossians

  • Paul was writing to saints [consecrate/devoted/holy] & faithful brethren [to faith and action].
  • Paul prayed for them and always thanked God for them.
  • They exhibited:
      • FAITH in God
      • LOVE for their brothers (which manifested in works)
      • HOPE in an eternity spent in union with God.
  • “…there remains three things, faith, hope, love and the greatest of these is love.”

NOTE: The infamous passage about the abiding nature of Faith, Hope & Love was written in the greater context of maturing in Christ through the gifts and the operation of Love (when I was a child I thought like…became a man I put away – looking through a glass dimly, then face to face – and now abide Faith, Hope & Love)

      • Their faith & love continued strong it seems on account of their hope.
    • The gospel – the message of the good news was changing them – they were becoming like Christ – they were bearing fruit – proof of union with Him – SINCE THE VERY DAY THEY HEARD IT and KNEW the grace of God in truth.
      • KNEW – epignosis – compound word Gnosis = knowledge epiginosko – to recognise. It is more intens. than simple knowledge in that it expresses a more thorough participation of the learner in acquiring of knowledge. (listen versus study versus Emerson) In the NT, it often refers to knowledge which very powerfully influences a life towards godliness, a kind of knowledge that breaks through passivity into personal involvement. In this letter to the Colossians it also reveals the relationship of the learner to the object their learning as in verse 6 and in chapter 2 verse 2. Finally, this type of knowing increases spiritual blessings upon the believer as is seen in 2Peter 1:2-3.
        • The type of learning is more immersive, more caught by experience than taught in a lesson plan. It is a type of learning that moves deeply and inspires/motivates action largely due to the relationship being developed in the learning process and all of this works to deeply blesses the learner.
  • “2  May more and more grace and peace be granted to you in a full knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3  seeing that His divine power has given us all things that are needful for life and godliness, through our knowledge of Him who has appealed to us by His own glorious perfections. 4  It is by means of these that He has granted us His precious and wondrous promises, in order that through them you may, one and all, become sharers in the very nature of God, having completely escaped the corruption which exists in the world through earthly cravings. 5  But for this very reason –adding, on your part, all earnestness– along with your faith, manifest also a noble character: along with a noble character, knowledge; 6 along with knowledge, self-control; along with self-control, power of endurance; 7 along with power of endurance, godliness; along with godliness, brotherly affection; and along with brotherly affection, love. 8  If these things exist in you, and continually increase, they prevent your being either idle or unfruitful in advancing towards a full knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • Since they heard of their ACTIVE faith, love and hope – they began to pray that they might be:
    • filled to the full with the former type of knowledge – the kind that requires interaction with God, produces fruitful evidence of having encountered Him and which leads to MORE experiential knowledge.
    • In all wisdomSophía = divine wisdom, when given to us as humans it enables us to better know how to regulate our relationship with God. THIS IS IMPORTANT due to where Paul is about to go with this – He wants them and us to live lives FULLY PLEASING HIM.
    • Spiritual understandingsúnesis; The ability to understand concepts and see relationships between things. Like between cause and effect. So, in this case the ability to understand God better and then grasp the relationship between His inherent character and the character He is forming in us.

[SO] THAT YOU MIGHT WALK WORTHY OF THE LORD – resulting in a life FULLY PLEASING HIM – because it bears fruit – obvious results of having ongoing encounters Him and having been changed as a result of those encounters. [becoming a disciple]


THIS IS GOD’s GOAL – Christ in you – Huios – it is the destination our faith is leading us to 1 Peter 1:9 (the salvation of our souls) and it happens incrementally here a little and there a little. This salvation of our souls is working through us and is the source of our changing into His image and the cause of our suffering. Suffering meaning – Both in putting off the sins of the flesh and the opposition we have against our faith in Him through temptations, persecutions, trials and tests.

But ALL OF THIS IS LEADING TO A FINAL END! BECOMING LIKE HIM and the process is always the same. The only true hindrance is our flesh.

That’s why, those of us who are alive and remain when He returns will – UPON SEEING HIM – immediately complete our transformation into His image – it is what  Paul describes as a metamorphosis – but on that day in that moment (twinkling of an eye – 1Cor. 15:52) it will be instantaneous – as John says in 1Jn. 3:2, “…we know that when He is reveals, we shall be like Him, BECAUSE we will see Him as He is.”

As Paul continues here he begins to speak about:

  • WHO Jesus Truly is
  • Confirms our Hope of transforming into Christ’s image
  • Affirms the need for suffering

Heresy – MIGHT HAVE had something to do with the deity of Christ – if they had a false idea of the One Whose image they were to bear – they could not be changed into His likeness. Remember – we will be changed because we will see Him as HE IS – as opposed to Who we THOUGHT He was.

Col. 1:11-29, HCSB “(11) May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy (12) giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. (13) He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, (14) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

In order to have a walk worthy of Him we need to:

  • See Who He is BY AN ENCOUNTER with Him.
  • We need to believe in His inward working and ability to generate the change

The NEED for Patience & Endurance with Joy indicates there will be suffering.

One is not said to endure with patience something they love and enjoy.

TRANSFERRED US – conquerors moves all former residence back to their homeland.  

“(15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation;”

He is the One Who makes the Father Who is impossible to see and know – possible to see and know.

It does not say LIKENESS but IMAGE.

Adam was made in His likeness (resembles) – Jesus IS His image .

He is PREEMINENT OVER all creation.

There are those who will argue for – “firstborn” speaking to origin and it CAN have that meaning and in fact does in many passages – even in reference to Christ. It is said in Matt. 1:25, that Jesus was Mary’s FIRSTBORN son. But in this place it takes on another meaning – which is made clear by the context.

It is OBVIOUS that Jesus cannot be both Creator and creation. The creation cannot create itself! So in the following verses it says,

“(16) because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. (17) He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.”

It is these words which dictate the obvious meaning of the word “firstborn” as meaning “preeminent”.

He is said to be:

  • Creator of everything (natural or spiritual – seen or unseen)
  • Existing BEFORE everything
  • And the One by Whose power everything is sustained and held together.
    • Consist – By Him, not only were all things called into being from nothing, but are maintained in their present state. Jesus is the Conserver, as well as the Creator of all things [Pearson]. Bengel goes a step further and says, “All things in Him come together into one system: the universe found its completion in Him”

All of these facts make Jesus – in His essential being and nature – GOD, as Phil. 2:6, “Who being very nature God, did not think it robbery to be equal to Him…”

This concept of firstborn as meaning “preeminent” continues to be justified by the following verses…

“(18) He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. (19) For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, (20) and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross–whether things on earth or things in heaven.”

1Cor. 5 tells us that God the Father was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.

“(21) And you were once alienated and hostile in mind because of your evil actions. (22) But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him– (23) if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith, and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a minister of it.”

Notice Paul again points out that how we think – affects how we live. Earlier in verses 9-10 our godly lives as saints springs from our experiential knowledge of Him – NOW Paul points back to how our former lifestyles were dictated not only by our inner nature which was also contrary to God, but our thoughts as well – produced evil actions.

Our former doctrine of Christ going to hell:

I have not drawn attention to this for some time now, but I want to re-press the issue that it was not through some exchange that took place in hell that we have been set free from sin – but BY HIS PHYSICAL BODY THROUGH DEATH.

“(24) Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for His body, that is, the church.”

The sufferings/afflictions of Christ

Notice the words suffering and afflictions are used interchangeably.

“(24) Now I can find joy amid my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my own person whatever is lacking in Christ’s afflictions on behalf of His Body, the Church.”

To understand this phrase, we have to first own and deeply believe the oneness Christ shares with His church, His people, His flock, His bride….His body.

The oneness we share with Him is NOT a sterile theological concept.

When it was initially said to Saul on the road to Damascus it was not simply a manner of speech or a turn of phrase intended to grab his attention and generate inner sorrow when Jesus said, Saul, Saul why are you persecuting Me?” It was and is quite literal!

When the writer of Hebrews told us of God’s promise in Christ, “I WILL NEVER, NEVER LET GO OF YOUR HAND: I WILL NEVER NEVER FORSAKE YOU.” it was meant in a most literally way!

Wuest renders it like this, “For He himself has said, and the statement is on record, I will not, I will not cease to sustain and uphold you. I will not, I will not, I will not let you down. So that, being of good courage, we are saying, The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What shall man do to me?”

A promise tantamount to this was given at various times to God’s people…

  • to Jacob in Gen. 28:15
  • to Israel in Deut. 31:6 & 8
  • to Joshua in Joshua 1:5
  • to Solomon in 1Choron. 28:20.

So we can see this it is no more and no less than the very character and heart of God to always be with and sustain His people.

This is likely what the writer of Hebrews meant by saying in the quote I just read you For He Himself has said, and the statement is on record. Only now, under the New Covenant, God is not outside of His people – standing nearby just to lend aid, but has been joined together with His people – forever ONE.

It is Bi-Directional!

Christ not only suffers with us – but as Paul said in 2 Cor. 5:14-15, “(14) For Christ’s love compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: if One died for all, then all died. (15) And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.”

For us to suffer therefore is for Him and for Him to suffer is for us to suffer as well.

Consider the passage in Isa. 63:7-9 HCSB

“(7) I will make known the LORD’s faithful love and the LORD’s praiseworthy acts, because of all the LORD has done for us–even the many good things He has done for the house of Israel and has done for them based on His compassions and the abundance of His faithful love. (8) He said, “They are indeed My people, children who will not be disloyal,” and He became their Savior. (9) In all their suffering, He suffered, and the Angel of His Presence saved them. He redeemed them because of His love and compassion; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of the past.”

So, the phrase here is not speaking of some suffering Jesus failed to accomplish in His earthly ministry, for Jesus faithfully drank down the cup His Father gave Him to the very dregs.

He accomplished ALL He was to accomplish!

No this is that portion of the sufferings which fell to Paul in his stewardship as an Apostle – representing Christ, but as His representative, Paul did not suffer alone, but WITH HIM.

Is that not what Paul told us he had forsaken EVERYTHING for?

“(7) But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. (8) More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ–the righteousness from God based on faith. (10) My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, (11) assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.” ~ Php 3:7-11 HCSB

We love that we will all reign with Him and enjoy Him forever, but do we really love enough to embrace with JOY the fact that we called to know Him and enjoy fellowship with Him even in suffering…knowing that in fact, we were called to this!

Again, as you already know, the word fellowship here is Koinonia which includes the notion of a joint experience…but not only with Christ…but with each other…if we will be sensitive enough to enter into it!

Paul says in his letter to the Corinthian church concerning the oneness of the body – “And if one part is suffering, every other part suffers with it; or if one part is receiving special honor, every other part shares in the joy.” ~ 1Cor. 12:26 Weymouth

We will very likely look deeper into sufferings next week, their source, purpose and function in the lives of true believers, but for now we will close out the first chapter of this letter.



I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!