Summary: Paul was fighting against false teachers, the same as we do today about the Truth of Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished on the Cross.
Can we be Alienated from God?
Pastor Glenn Newton
February 7th, 2010
Text: Colossians 1:21-29 (NIV)
COL 1:21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-- 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
COL 1:24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness-- 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
COL 1:28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
The Apostle Paul is in a fight, he is literally fighting for the souls of these young Christians who are in this Christian church in Colosse. You probably would like to know what exactly is he fighting against, right?
He is fighting for the Truth, he is fighting against false teaching that has infiltrated the church. Who were these false teachers?
They were called “Gnostics”, basically a lot like our current New Age philosophy that is making the rounds….They believed that you were not saved by faith, but instead, through “Knowledge”. Gnosticism, in all its forms, was characterized by belief in the evil of matter, in mediating beings, and in salvation through knowledge. Beginning with the assumption that all creation is evil, the Gnostics argued that God didn't create this world and that he has absolutely no contact with it.
But, then they realized that just didn’t make any sense, so they invented this wild belief that God had some mediating beings, who lived in the stars…lived between God and earth, and they controlled pretty much everything that happened, so as you will see, Paul deals with the worship of Angels…and this is what he is talking about.
You see it doesn’t take much for people to start believing all kinds of crazy things if your not grounded in the Truth. Just look at what people believe today. People will travel around the world to look at a tree that supposedly has the face of Jesus in it….by the way, did they have Polaroid cameras back in Jesus day? Why do we assume that we know what he looks like…..I think that is hilarious….deception is Satan’s game, we need to make sure that we are not being deceived through his trickery.
Paul is fighting for these young Christians, so he gets right to the point, he reminds them of something that we all need to be reminded of…..
1. “Once you were alienated from God …” v.21
Paul had a good reason to remind them that they were once “alienated”, or they were “estranged” from God, because these Gnostics were teaching that how you lived in the body was of no consequence, as long as you cultivated your soul…..
In words that we might understand today….You can live however you want during the week, as long as you “worship” on Sunday. This was the Gnostic belief that the Apostle Paul was teaching against. That Gnostic belief is still alive today, people living like the devil all week, then sitting in church on Sunday thinking that makes is all better….
Let’s see what Paul says about this idea… “COL 1:21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” Remember he is talking to new Christians, many who have just walked away from pagan religions, some from Judaism, which was where they believed that they had to continue the OT rituals and sacrifices, some surely saw Jesus, saw the miracles that he performed, and believed in what they heard. The point is, they had at one time all been lost, separated from God because of their personal sin, they had been alienated from God because of their sin…they had been enemies of God because of their evil behavior…..
Can I tell you a secret? We all have been alienated from God, we were all enemies of God because of our behavior, until we repented of that sin, and we put our faith in Jesus Christ. Everyman is in this sinful condition and must come to the place of repentance.