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Summary: 5 key words to inspire Christians. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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Reading: Colossians chapter 2 verses 1-5.

Ill:

A new student won first prize at a recent Science Fair.

• In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding;

• Strict control or total elimination of the chemical “di-hy-dro-gen mon-oxide.”

And for plenty of good reasons, since it:

• Can cause excessive sweating and vomiting.

• It is a major component in acid rain.

• It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state.

• Accidental inhalation can kill you.

• It decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes.

• It has been found in tumours of terminal cancer patients.

He asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical:

• Forty-three said yes, six were undecided,

• And only one knew that the chemical was……………… H20 (water).

• The title of his prize-winning project was,

• “How Gullible Are We?”

The apostle Paul is writing to Christians who are encountering false teaching:

• He is encouraging them not to be gullible, not to swallow it hook, line and sinker;

• But instead to avoid additional ‘mystical’ teaching and hold on to Jesus Christ alone!

Note:

• Last week you no-doubt saw Paul the preacher:

• Sharing the gospel through this letter(chapter 1 verses 21-23).

• You would also have seen Paul the prisoner;

• Willing to suffer prison for the sake of the Gentiles (chapter 1 verses 24-27).

• This morning we will meet Paul the prayer-warrior;

• Striving in prayer for the spiritual health of these individual Christians in Colossae.

Now let me inform you or remind you that Paul has never met these Christians:

• Everything he knows about them he learned from a man called Epaphras.

• You will have already met Epaphras in the first chapter of this book called Colossians:

• He met Paul during his stay at Ephesus,

• And it was through that encounter that he had been led to Christ.

• When he returned home to Colossae;

• He shared this good news with friends and family etc.

• And as a result a Church was born in Colossae (Chapter 1 verses 7-8).

• Epaphras who founded the Church was a Church leader an evangelist/pastor type person.

Now Paul had never visited this Church:

• They were an unknown people, in a small town.

• That is until Epaphras left Colossae and went to visit Paul in Rome:

• Paul was at this time had been imprisoned for his faith,

• And was confined to a small cell.

Epaphras tells Paul all about the Christians at Colossae.

• And concerned for their welfare;

• (And knowing that Epaphras will be absent for from Colossae for quite a while.)

• The apostle Paul has written for them this letter;

• And it has been hand delivered to the Church by two men called Tychicus and Onesimus.

Now although Paul has never seen these Christians face to face:

• He has met them but only through the words and descriptions of Epaphras;

• And as a result Paul has developed a great love for them.

Ill:

• Many of us follow the work of missionaries abroad;

• Although we have never met those that they work amongst personally.

• We know about them through letters and magazines;

• And have a concern and love for them and their contacts and work.

As I have studied this passage – I think Paul gives them:

5 key words to inspire the Christians on:

(1). Exertion or Struggle (Verse 1):

“I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally”.

• If you are wondering why Paul associates the Laodicaeans with the Colossians

• It is because of their geographical positions.

Ill:

In the valley of the River Lycus,

• Near where it joins the Maeander, there once stood three important cities:

• Laodicaea, Hierapolis (Hira-pol-is) and Colosse.

• They stood almost within sight of each other.

• Epaphras was the man who founded the church in Colossae

• And it would seems likely (chapter 4 verse 13) that Epaphras;

• Had also founded churches in Laodicea & Hierapolis (Hira-pol-is).

As the apostle Paul pictures these three cities in his mind's eye:

• The word ‘struggle’ or ‘great conflict’ describes his feelings for them.

• In the Greek text the word translated ‘struggle’ or ‘great conflict’ is a vivid word;

• It is the Greek word ‘agon’,

• From which we get the English word ‘agony’.

Ill:

• The word is actually an athletic term.

• Referring to the strenuous effort put forth by a runner to win a race.

• Paul exerted his spiritual muscles;

• The way a Greek runner would exert himself in the Olympic games.

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