Messages from Pastor Raddatz

 JULY 17, 2022, Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Houston TX, Other Texts for today: Genesis 18:1-14 and Luke 10:38-42


Colossians 1:21–29

Many people love a good mystery; a mystery where we don’t find out until the very end who the “mystery person” is. This may be likened to, “Oh, he/she is the one!” And when we see and hear who this “mystery person” is, the whole story line is reconciled. We get the big picture and context of the story. -Robert Wiese

As St. Paul writes to the church of Colossae, to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ, he is setting the record straight regarding the incarnation of Christ and his resurrection in the face of the “special knowledge” that were running rampant around Colossae.  These were mysterious teachings led by unbelieving teachers.  This heresy needed to be corrected. To that end, Paul emphasizes the mystery that was hidden for ages and is now revealed in Jesus Christ, his person and work, who reconciles all creation. The ministry and mystery of reconciliation rests with Christ who joins us to him by grace through faith alone.

The mysteries of books and movies resolve when the “mystery” is revealed. There is nothing more for us to anticipate or learn. The mystery is revealed, and the story is over.   However, this is not the case as Paul writes to the saints at Colossae assuring them that the mystery hidden for ages is revealed in the incarnate Christ Jesus who entered the human story of our sinful “alien hostile mind and evil deeds” and reconciled us to himself by his death and resurrection. We are declared reconciled by Christ’s “body of flesh by his death.” God baptized us into this “body of flesh by his death.” We are stable and steadfast by faith alone. You have heard this gospel message of reconciliation.

This story is no longer a mystery to Christians. Christ is revealed and grace-gifted to us in our baptism assuring us that we continue to live in hope.


THE MYSTERY REVEALED: From brokenness to blamelessness and from faithlessness to faithfulness in Christ (vv. 21–23)

  1. From brokenness to blamelessness

God only knows the answer

William Phelps taught English literature at Yale for forty-one years until his retirement in 1933. One student’s paper put this answer to the professor, “God only knows the answer to this question. Merry Christmas. Phelps returned the paper with this note: God gets an A. You get an F. Happy New Year.” (Today in the Word, October 1990, p. 10).

The mystery revealed means: WE WERE ONCE ALIENATED, but now we are RECONCILED… a. Who once were alienated: The ancient Greek word translated alienated (apellotriomenous) is literally "transferred to another owner." This transfer of ownership, from God to Satan and self, has affected us in both mind and behavior. 

i. Belonging to the race of Adam, we are born alienated from God. Then as individuals, we each choose to accept and embrace that alienation with our wicked works. 

ii. Once were alienated: This means that in Jesus we are no longer alienated. The difference between a believer and a non-believer isn't merely forgiveness; there is a complete change of status.

It takes God’s power: v. 22, But now he has reconciled you…

God’s answer to our alienation is reconciliation.  We often think that to be reconciled to parties have to agree to come together.  This is true in our human relationships, but it is not true in our relationship with God.   God had to reconcile himself, to our sinfulness because God is just and the justifier of all, Romans 3:26. We could do nothing to be reconciled to God.  God had to do everything.  God did not meet us halfway and we had to do the rest.  

It took God nailing his son to the cross that was made for us, to accomplish the reconciliation of the whole world.  Now that we are reunited with God we are presented as holy and blameless in his sight.

To present you holy, blameless, and irreproachable in His sight: This is the result of God's work of reconciliation. Taken together, these words show that in Jesus we are pure and can't be accused of impurity. 

The idea of presenting us holy and blameless before God may remind the first century hearer of recall the terminology used when priests inspected potential sacrifices. We are presented to God as a living sacrifice.

Paul emphasizes that he did this for everybody, “every creature under heaven” in v. 23.  He did this for the Jewish believer and the Roman citizen (the Gentile).  God did it all.  We are to “continue” in it.

HOPE SHARED: The hope of all creation is to be reconciled (made one) with God and with one another (vv. 24-29)


Even continuing in the faith requires God’s power.  It takes the His love to live for another: v. 28, “we proclaim him…”

While Paul is writing this letter he is sitting in a Roman prison.   He is suffering.  Paul found holiness, spiritual growth, and maturity when he pursued them for others.  Often through our pain he takes our eyes off our self and turns them to him.  We can get ourselves in trouble when we focus too much on the creation and not enough on the creator

This is the mystery and the ministry of suffering: that through it we grow.   The mystery hidden for all ages had two perspectives that are important for us to remember:

1. The first mystery is that the Gentiles would be included as God’s chosen people.

2. The second mystery is that Jesus would actually dwell within his people.  He is Immanuel=God with us.  He is also in us.

Christ in you, the hope of glory: This is the Christian's hope of glory. It isn't our own hard work or devotion to God, or the power of our own spirituality. Instead, it is the abiding presence of Jesus: Christ in you. –Guzik

Paul tells us that the proclamation of God is the duty of the whole church: the pastor and the people.  How will we know what to say if we do not know his word?  God’s word is effective in admonishing one another and in teaching one another.  We will never be perfect in our behavior, but we seek to perfect our weaknesses because in God’s eyes we are perfect through Christ.


Perhaps the greatest of all Stradivarius mysteries is why no modern violinmaker has been able to replicate Stradivari’s work. The violins of Stradivari’s time were treated with a varnish made from the resinous material of any of a number of possible plants. We don’t know what method Stradivari used to cook the resin (or for how long he cooked it), but its translucent sheen lent to the violins a robust whiskey color and may have also enhanced the wood’s ability to echo sound so clearly.

We can measure the instruments’ varying lengths (a little more than 14 inches), depths (about 11/4 inch), and width. Even a marginally talented copyist can make a violin with the specs of a Stradivarius. Yet no one has been able to make an instrument that yields the extraordinary tonal quality of a Strad.

Stephanie Chase, who has studied the essence of the Stradivarius says, "Because the perfection of a Stradivarius has never been matched by another maker past or present, it makes you think we must be missing something...I’ve begun to believe there must be a higher concept, some overriding principle that he abided by that we just have not been able to understand."

Spiritual life is instantaneous. Spiritual growth is progressive. We don’t always understand, but then God doesn’t expect us to understand everything.

(From a sermon by Terry Blankenship, Incredible and Imperceptible Growth, 5/16/2011)

The analysis also found that the organic matrix of Stradivari's wood was damaged and weakened, almost certainly by the application of the mineral preservative, leading researchers to speculate that the wood's porous quality allows Stradivari instruments to resonate with a rich, powerful tone. Feb 15, 2009, Accidental Genius: Why a Stradivarius Sounds So Good – TIME

God uses damaged and weakened people for his work!

It takes work, using God’s energy: v. 29, To this end, Paul says, “I labor, struggling with all my energy…”

The struggle we have is like the straining of an athlete in competition.   He or she will not let anything stop them from reaching their goal.  If they fall they get up and keep going.  If they come in second they do not give up, they train harder.  

The person who has not struggled with trouble after trouble does not know the genuine joy of success.  The ladder of success is built with those who have overcome difficulty after difficulty. Face the problems and fight your way over them. –Sermon Central

The goal of Paul’s ministry was to present every person “MATURE” in Christ.   This was his goal.  The reality was that the teacher can influence the learner, but the student must want to learn.  The parent can guide the child, but the child will have to do the challenging work of growing up.  The best the parent and teacher can do is to be mature themselves.

Sometimes we enjoy a mystery, trying to figure out “who done it.”   Other times we may suffer through a mystery, due to traumatic experiences.  We filter these mysteries through the glasses of faith which allow us to hang in there and to live for the future glory of salvation and eternal life.

Pastor John Raddatz


Current Weeks Message

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020

Good Friday, April 10, 2020

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday, March 22, 2020