Summary: Inductive sermon outline ideas for Colossians 1:1-8.

The following notes reflect ideas based on the homiletics recommended in "Preach with No Pants" ( It proposes an inductive-deductive five-point outline: Trip, Tension, Twist, Truth, Triumph.

In practice, you would need to add to this outline, illustrations and subpoints relevant to your heart and your audience. Please also add your ideas in the Comments section.

Colossians 1:1-8


Paul thanks God for the Colossians' faith, love, hope which they have because of their reception of the gospel through Epaphras.


The gospel changes you.

Or, your reception of the gospel changes you.

These verses, part of the customary greeting of the time, highlight specifics Paul thought significant with the Colossians. Obviously, we should have the same virtues today. But it's not enough to make every sermon say: "You should be or do _____." Consequently, this homiletical idea is based on the Twist.


The gospel makes real changes in you.

Or, the gospel changes who you are and how you live your life.

Or, the gospel makes positional and experiential changes.

The most startling idea in my mind is the expected, necessary, even inevitable effect of the gospel on a person. That impact first is positional but should also overflow into an experiential impact. The contrary idea would be, "I prayed the prayer to accept Jesus, but nothing in my life is different."


Trip (Upset)

Anything on the doubts people have about their own or other people's salvation would relate to the Tension. This could also be well applied to one who hasn't felt God's presence in his or her life very much, one who is spiritually dry.

"If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"

Tension (Provoking the Questions, Opposites of the Truth)

* Some people think being a Christian is a matter of mental assent to certain beliefs.

* Some people don't have much love for the ungodly, much less for the saints.

* You may be feeling spiritually dry, no sense of the Lord's presence in your heart.

* You may be very active serving the Lord but still feel empty inside.

* Many have wishful thinking for heaven instead of a sure and certain hope.

Twist (The Most Startling Idea)

* The gospel makes real changes in you.

* The gospel makes real changes in your life.

Truth (Preaching the Bible's Solution)

* Faith is trusting not mental assent (1:3-4). Incidentally, living by faith is easy when life is good. In fact, faith is hardly even needed in the good times. Faith is needed when it is hardest to have when you face threats and danger. Faith and fear are usually opposites.

* Love the saints (1:4). The night before Jesus was killed he left us with one important command: love one another (John 13:34ff.). Prayer for a difficult person makes it divinely possible.

To live above with saints in love

Oh, that will be glory.

But to live below with saints I know,

Well, that's another story.

* Hope is 100% certainty, not wishful thinking (1:5).

* The gospel you received changes you (1:5-6).

* The gospel is the absolute truth, the most important truth in life on earth. If you believe nothing else, believe the gospel (1:5-6). (The social gospel falls short of meeting people's most desperate need.)

* Love your friends and family with the "Care, Prayer, Share" pattern, so that they can learn of the gospel of Jesus (1:7).

You have these virtues as a believer, even when you don't feel them. The Psalms are a good example. Some overflow in praise to God but some lament God's abandonment.

Experiencing the gospel daily requires right thinking and doing just like with physical health and growth. We need good food, sleep, and exercise. But bad thinking, stress, is very harmful to one's health.

On a very practical level, I'd highly recommend, "How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals about Personal Growth" by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Prayer, Bible reading, fellowship are practical, very needs spiritually. Prayer is not just intercession. Fellowship fulfills the many "one another" commands in the New Testament.

The Bible is vital. Many sample the Word of God like we used to sample food at stores. Someone put it more boldly.

If you want to be hearing from God in your life,

you have to be reading your Bible.

Triumph (The Nugget of Truth)

The gospel (should) changes you through and through.

(Unless otherwise noted, Scripture is from the NET Bible.)

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