St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School | Beaver Dam, WI | 920.885.3309

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Sunday: 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m.
Thursday: 6:30 p.m.
Friday: 1:30 p.m. (Shortened)





Striving to speak God’s saving truth in love. Ephesians 4:15







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Let God Build Us Up in the New Year


A sermon on Colossians 2:6-15 for New Year’s Day, January 1, 2018.

Roots serve a very important function in a plant’s life. Roots help anchor a plant so that it stands firm in the ground. Vitamins and minerals make their way throughout the plant through its root system. Roots help the plant to grow and remain strong throughout its life cycle.

We sometimes talk about us being rooted. Today, the Apostle Paul helps us focus on where we need to be rooted for the upcoming year. We will want to root ourselves right where we always want to be, in God’s Word. It is my prayer and I hope all of yours today,

Let God Build Us Up this New Year

  1. As we walk in him.
  2. As we are rooted in him.
  3. As we are strengthened in faith.

 Throughout the opening part of this letter Paul encouraged the Colossian Christians in their life of faith. They learned about God, and their faith continued to grow. Paul prayed that this part of their life would never change. Paul also new Satan’s attacks would only grow against these believers. They had to continue to stay strong. They had to continue to walk in Christ. They had to be rooted in Christ.

This very same encouragement rings true today. We know that Christ Jesus is Lord. This knowledge could not come from our own thinking. Christ had to open our eyes. Christ came to us. He created faith. He called us to be his own. He made us his child.

In faith Christ revealed so much for us to see. Our lives changed. No longer did we see Christmas as just another holiday to get together with friends and exchange presents, but we see Christmas as God taking on human flesh to save us from sin. Easter is not all about candy, but Easter shows us the glorious resurrection of Christ who died in our place.

Christ changed our lives. Our focus lies squarely on Jesus and what he has done for us. We realize our lives are not our own. We now live for Christ. We walk according to his commands. We walk following our Savior to show love for others.

It can be summed this way: we walk in thanksgiving. Christ has accomplished so much for us. We did not deserve it. However, God in his great love and mercy called us with the gospel message to come to faith in him. In thanksgiving we walk with him all our days holding on to his promises.

Our walk with Jesus also shows us that we will be firmly rooted in him all our days. Christ is our firm foundation. We need to have a strong base in life to succeed. People try to find their base in various ways. They look to the means of the world. Money will support them and buy whatever they want. Glory and honor in their job will show how great they are. Sometimes they even need drugs alcohol or some other kind of addiction to find their base.

People will find their foundation on others. Their friendships become everything. They need acceptance from others to feel validated in their life. It might even turn inwards. People trust their own power. They need to feel in control. These bases will only crumble.

Our roots are in Christ and him alone. This foundation is seen only in God’s Word and sacraments. We exercise our faith. We find nourishment in the Lord’s power. Our roots need to go deep to find the strength that can only come from God.

This past year our roots might not have been as deep as we would have liked. We started out the year with a band in our Bible reading. As the days went on more things popped up on our schedule. Life got busy. Something had to go, and maybe our own Bible reading was the first to go. Our hearts opened up in generosity with our Savior in our offerings. Soon expenses came up, so our offerings were cut short.

As we open up another year, we can pray that God will let our roots go deeper. We can make it a priority to read God’s Word. Our hearts can be generous, because Christ has been generous with his blessings upon us.

As we go about being firmly rooted in Christ and all the things he has done for us, we will be built up in him. Our faith will grow. This is the entire purpose of the Christian life. We cannot be content to just remain in the same place all our days. We will want to be built up every day. We will want our faith to grow. We will want to find strength in the days ahead.

This past year might have been filled with many tough days for some people. The outlook for this coming year might not look that well either. One thing is sure that we will need to find strength for our journey. It will not come from a quick snack out of the pantry. We will find strength in God’s Word.

God’s Word tells us to find strength in our Savior. He came down to take on all our sins for us. Our sins of selfishness and misguided trust are forgiven. Our sins of dependence on others are wiped clean. When the journey gets too tough, cling to Jesus and his promises to find comfort and hope.

This coming year is filled with tremendous blessings and opportunities for us. Let us not waste a single moment. Let us be built up by God himself! Only in him do we find the strength as we are rooted in him in our walk of life. Amen.

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