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Summary: PAUL’S PASSION FOR PROTECTING THE SAINTS AGAINST DECEPTION FOCUSED HIS MINISTRY ON ENCOURAGING DEPTH AND STABILITY IN CHRIST

BIG IDEA:

PAUL’S PASSION FOR PROTECTING THE SAINTS AGAINST DECEPTION FOCUSED HIS MINISTRY ON ENCOURAGING DEPTH AND STABILITY IN CHRIST

INTRODUCTION

Lots of shallow Christianity today. Easy for people to be blown about by every wind of doctrine;

to be confused and deceived by persuasive arguments and emotional appeals.

How deep is our relationship with the Lord?

How stable and strong are we in the faith?

Are we growing in our understanding of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of Christ?

Are we continuing on in our walk with Christ with the same focus of childlike faith that marked our conversion?

Greek mindset was more attracted to philosophy while today people are more easily allured by experience – in either case, the sufficiency of Christ is the antidote.

I. (:1-3) DEPTH AND STABILITY COME FROM A TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST

A. (:1) The Impact of Concerned Spiritual Leaders – Focused In Communication

1. Importance of Instruction – “For I want you to know” – Horizontal Communication

2. Importance of Prayer – “how great a struggle I have” – Vertical Communication

part of the struggle due to his being physically absent and unable to see them;

part of the overall struggle of unseen spiritual warfare

3. Impartiality of Love

“on your behalf”

“and for those who are at Laodicea”

“and for all those who have not personally seen my face”

Gromacki: “teacher must not only love what he is teaching but whom he is teaching”

B. (:2) The Encouragement of Loving Fellowship – Focused Around Truth

1. Goal of Encouragement – “that their hearts may be encouraged”

2. Synergy of Unified Love – “having been knit together in love”

Holy Spirit accomplishes this; but requires practical exercise of love on our part;

The false teaching was threatening to compromise the unity of the body

3. Richness of Attainable Understanding – “and attaining to all the wealth that comes

from the full assurance of understanding”

How do we measure wealth? What do we truly value?

4. Centrality of True Knowledge of Christ – “resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself”

C. (3) The Hidden Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge – Focused In Christ

“in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”

II. (:4-5) DEPTH AND STABILITY PROTECT AGAINST DECEPTION

A. (:4) Real Danger of Deception

1. Confronting the Error – “I say this”

needs to be actively combated

2. Exposing the Methodology – “that no one may delude you with persuasive argument”

Shallowness would make you vulnerable;

eloquence and skill of communication was obscuring the deviation from the truth in content;

Our powers of reasoning must be submitted to the supremacy of revelation

B. (:5) Real Joy of Stability

1. Pastoral Concern Reiterated – “For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit”

2. Stability Brings Joy – “rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of”

a. Order vs. disarray, lack of unity

b. Strength

cf. Acts 3:7,16 – referring to making weak ankle bones strong thru healing

3. Faith in Christ is the Key – “your faith in Christ”

The goal of increasing in our knowledge of Christ is to increase in our faith in Christ

III. (:6-7) DEPTH AND STABILITY COME FROM A CONSISTENT WALK OF FAITH IN CHRIST

A. (:6) Our Walk Should Be Consistent With Our Conversion

1. Characterized by Genuine Repentence and Childlike Faith

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus”

2. Submitting to the Lordship of Christ – “the Lord”

cf. whole issue of Lordship salvation

cf. His supremacy over all of Creation and over the Church discussed earlier

3. Intimately United with Jesus Christ – “so walk in Him”

B. (:7A) Two Pictures of Depth and Stability

1. Picture of a Tree – “having been firmly rooted”

2. Picture of a Building

a. “now being built up in Him”

b. “and established in your faith”

C. (:7B) Consistent with Former Instruction – “just as you were taught”

Tradition can be good or bad

D. (:7C) Characteristic Mark of a Growing Believer = “overflowing with gratitude”

this will protect against the enticing words of those who promise a “fuller” gospel

* * * * * * * * * *

DEVOTIONAL QUESTIONS:

1) How hard do we “struggle” on behalf of believers who are not part of our immediate family?

Who are not even a part of our local church? In what ways do we struggle for the benefit of the body of Christ? What sorts of enticing false teaching are prevalent today? What steps are we taking to guard ourselves and others against these perversions of the truth?

2) What should be the relationship between unity and love and truth? When have we seen the theme of unity preached to cover up for failures in the area of love and truth? How powerful a force is love to knit our hearts together? Does our local church model that sense of hearts knit together? How can I reach out more to others?

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