Sermons
Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

The Image of God - September 16, 2018

Colossians 1:15-23 In this second section of Colossians, we have a beautiful hymn about who Jesus is. It’s almost like a creed—reminding us of who Jesus is and what he does:
• the Image of God
• All things were created in him and through him
• The head of the church
• Where the fullness of God dwells

• Through him, people are reconciled to God

And then at the end of the hymn, the author adds “provided that you remain securely established and steadfast in the faith.” Which happens to be one of the most human and universal ways we butcher the gospel. Yes, I said butcher. We put conditions on the Good News of Jesus.
Listen again to the hymn (as it’s translated in the message version): We look at this son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him…When it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together.
He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end…All the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.
This hymn captures so much of what we believe about Christ. He is the creative force of God. The alpha and omega. Beginning and the end. The embodiment of God. Redeemer. Reconciler. Healer. One who brought us into being and brings us back to order. This God who put on flesh in the person of Jesus really stands outside of time and space—beyond galaxies and into creation and gives us gifts far greater than ourselves—gifts of forgiveness and reconciliation with God. All of those things warrant us standing in awe or kneeling in worship. But instead of humbling tacit it in, or basking in the glory of the Lord, we cheapen the message—“make sure you stay faithful.”
The truth of the matter is that who Jesus is and what he does is not dependent on us. He doesn’t create or reconcile or forgive because of all the ways we get it right. Instead, Jesus sees and has deep compassion for all the ways we get it wrong and does it anyway—not because we made it happen with our great faithfulness but because we didn’t. Do you hear that? Are you taking it in? Who Jesus is and what he does is not dependent on us. That’s the Good News!!!! “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” …While we were constantly getting it wrong, thinking about ourselves, doing what we want for us, Jesus loved us. God chose us. Not because of what we’ve done. But because it’s the nature of God.
That’s the kind of news that should have us shouting from the rooftops. That’s life-changing news. God heals, redeems, restores and forgives before we do a darn thing. That means it’s not conditional. It’s not about us and our faithfulness or us getting it right. But all too often that’s what we begin to believe.
• If I prayed more faithfully, God would heal.
• If I sacrificed more, God would give more.
• If I showed more grace to others, God would show more grace to me.
• If I forgave my enemy more readily, God would forgive the worst of what I’ve done. But until then, I’m mostly stuck.
• Or maybe as simple as:
• I’m not worthy
• I’m not enough
• I don’t deserve
• love
• grace
• forgiveness
• mercy
• blessings
• other’s generosity
It’s a regular problem for most of us that we lessen what God does by elevating what we do. That sounds backwards…and it kind of is, but probably not for the reasons you think. We make the magnitude of our lacks and failures so great that we become convinced that God can’t or won’t overcome them unless we change. We regularly measure ourselves based on our lack of faithfulness, our unwillingness to pray, our lack of forgiveness, our sins, our vices, our temptations. We make ourselves out to be so bad, and we start to believe cultural things, not biblical things and say to ourselves….well when I get better, then God will hear me, or once I forgive that person then God will forgive me.
But that’s not how it works. That’s not the Gospel message. That’s not what Jesus came to do or be in us or in the world. Jesus came to heal, redeem, restore and forgive and he does that “While we were yet sinners”. He does that when we’re failing. He does that before we even exist!!! What Jesus does and who he is is not dependent on us. It’s who God is from the VERY BEGINNING. Which means we don’t have to wait to make ourselves good enough to enjoy the gifts and blessings that come through Christ.
They are ours for the taking RIGHT NOW. Right here. Today. In this moment. It doesn’t matter if you came to church drunk, or broken, or broken. It doesn’t matter if you came to church a liar, a heathen, or an adulterer. God isn’t holding out on you. God isn’t waiting for you to make yourself right. God is ready right now to give you what you need. Faith. Forgiveness. Hope. Healing. Redemption. Pardon. A new beginning. God is here, ready and waiting for you. And it’s all possible through Jesus.

Current Church News

  • Christmas Eve Services - Dec 24, 2018

    4:00 PM Family Christmas Eve. This service is especially designed for wiggly, giggly children and is intentionally kept shorter. It will include music by Children's bell choir and leadership from children.

    7:00 PM Traditional Christmas Eve. This service includes music from Choir and Bell Choirs, plus Holy Communion and the Candlelight Ceremony. Child care is provided.

Get Directions

Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary . William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

Church Mission

The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...