September 11, 2001.  15 years ago today.   It was a day we will all remember for the rest of our lives.

I would like to focus on one of the many heroic events of that day.  Two Port Authority Police officers, John McLoughlin and William Jimeno were with 3 other officers in the concourse of the WTC, on their way to helping to rescue trapped victims.  When the South Tower collapsed, they ran for protection in a Freight elevator.  3 of the 5 officers made it safely to the elevator, but when the North Tower collapsed 29 minutes later, officer Dominick Pezzulo was killed instantly by additional falling debris from the North Tower collapse.

McLoughlin and Jimeno survived but were trapped and buried.  It took ten hours for 2  volunteer rescuers to hear their faint cries for help.  It took 13 hours to rescue McLoughlin and 22 hours to rescue Jimeno, but both men survived, but with serious injuries.

They received the Port Authority’s Medal of Honor in a special ceremony in Madison Square Garden on June 11, 2002.  Their story was portrayed in the 2006 film “World Trade Center.”

They were rescued. This theme of RESCUE is one of SERIES of SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS that remind the Colossian Believers to stay TRUE to the GOSPEL.

Colossians 1:12–14 ESV  “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. ” “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, ” “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

This passage comes at the END of PAUL’s Prayer for the Colossians.  We will study the content of that prayer next Sunday.  Today we turn our attention to the Spiritual Blessings that we share as a result of our Salvation.

Stay Faithful Because God Has GUARANTEED YOU an Inheritance.  “who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (1:12)
The word qualified means “to cause someone or something to be adequate for something” (Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 678.
The only other usage of this word is 2 Corinthians 3:6  “who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
The term is related to MEMBERSHIP
But WHAT have we been qualified to receive?  An INHERITANCE!
As in the OT, Israel was promised an inheritance of LAND, we are promised a SPIRITUAL INHERITANCE
1 Peter 1:3–4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you,
1 Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Stay Faithful Because God DELIVERED YOU from DEATH.
The NIV and NAS use the word rescued, but the ESV uses the English word DELIVERED

In the LEXICON it is defined as “save, rescue, deliver, preserve someone” (BDAG, 737)
Here are some of the ways the NT uses the word DELIVERED.
Delivered From PERSECUTION.  2 Timothy 3:11  “my persecutions and sufferings ….which …..I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.”
Delivered From PERIL.  2 Corinthians 1:10  “He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”
Delivered From the COMING WRATH.  1 Thessalonians 1:10  “and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

When ZECHARIAS prophesied about the MESSIAH Luke 1:74  “that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,”

When Paul testified to King Agrippa…  Acts 26:18 “to open their eyes and turn them [deliver] from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Being delivered is a MILITARY TERM

I would like to tell you the story of WW2’s “Ghost Soldiers” – They were the forgotten soldiers who survived the Bataan death march.  They were ghosts – unseen, unheard through almost the entire duration of the war.
Toward the end of the war, American commanders began to hear of POW’s being executed by the Japanese.  The Americans were closing in on Manila and were aware of a prison camp where survivors of the Bataan death march were being held.  This news prompted one of the Greatest rescue missions in American military history.

Started with the US and Philippine soldiers who were captured on BATAAN in January 1942.
These men survived the BATAAN DEATH MARCH.
10,000 Philippino troops, 600 American troops marched for 60 miles.
Although trucks were available, the Japanese captors marched them through the heat with little food or water
Some who asked for water were shot
The dead lined the road for miles.
THEN, crammed onto trains where more men died before the trains reached their destination.

The surviving soldiers were taken to the city of Cabanatuan, where a prison camp was built.

At one time 8,000 prisoners, by 1945, it was 500.  The conditions were deplorable, and most of the soldiers died from malnutrition, disease, or were killed by the guards.

A plan was developed for a small group of Army Rangers, and Philippine scouts to rescue the “Ghost Soldiers of Bataan.”
In the darkness of night, the captives were rescued
Many who could not walk were transported by Caribou (Water Buffalo) given by local Filipinos.  106 carts and Caribou were donated.  Tanks, planes and trucks could not be used behind enemy lines, but the lowly Caribou, prized by the Filipinos, brought the weary prisoners to safety

These men faced certain DEATH
They were RESCUED

Be Faithful because God has Delivered You from Satan’s Power
Colossians 1:13  “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,”
Louw and Nida write “the dominion of darkness of a figurative reference to the DEVIL.
Ephesians 2:1–2  “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins ” “in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—”
Ephesians 5:8  “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”

Before God saved you, you were a CAPTIVE!
John 8:44  “You are of your father the devil…”
1 John 3:10  “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

Be Faithful because God TRANSPLANTED YOU His SON’S Kingdom.
Colossians 1:13  “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,”
The word means to “remove, transplant; put down” a word used to describe physically moving something, transplanting it from one place to another.”   Horst Robert Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990–), 401.

You have been transplanted.  Just as we would transplant a tree to good soil, so also you and I have been transplanted into God’s kingdom!

Be Faithful because God PAID FOR YOUR FREEDOM
Colossians 1:14  “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Literally, “Redemption – which is the forgiveness of sins”

Redemption = is the Greek word for a LUTRON – the PRICE PAID to release a slave

The Colossian believers were DRIFTING AWAY from the GOSPEL
They were being PERSUADED by worldly philosophy and religious ritual

Paul reminds them of all that God has done for them through Jesus Christ
Ephesians 2:12  “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

You have been RESCUED

In Christ alone I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory let it be said of me
My source of strength my source of hope
Is Christ alone