Summary: To introduce the book of Colossians and give us a picture of what the church can be when Christ is First and Foremost.
FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST
A. This morning we will begin our look at the book of Colossians
1. It s main purpose is to lift up the preeminence of Christ.
2. Paul declares For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. Col. 1:16-18
3. This is a message the church needs to hear today!
B. Paul is writing this letter because a man from the church, named Epaphras (named in verse 7) came to him for some advice on how to handle a problem that was beginning to grow in the church.
1. Epaphras had traveled to Paul who was in prison in Rome and explained the problem which we will look at more in depth later, but here is a quick look:
a. It was a mixture of different things coming into the church
1) Eastern Philosophy – matter is evil, spirit is good – spiritualism and astrology
2) Jewish legalism – rules and regulations (legalism may be the big one today)
3) And Gnosticism - the idea that there is a religious “elite” within the church who had higher knowledge, than others.
b. Each of these individually, and collectively, demeaned the status of Jesus Christ – do you see the applicability, we have this today!
2. This, of course, would weaken the church and its power to spread the gospel and so Paul writes this letter to proclaim the truth and set things straight!
3. Paul then sends this letter to Colosse by the hand of Tychicus
C. Paul begins his letter to the Colossians with the greeting, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, 2To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse:…. Col. 1:1-2
1. This is a letter that is addressed to believers – the New Living Translation puts it this way, This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.
2. Notice the two descriptions:
a. Saints – holy people
b. And faithful – those trying to live for Christ.
3. This is what the church is to be holy and faithful, and that is why this letter is so important to us and why we are going to go through it verse by verse.
4. This morning I want us to see three tings as we look at Col 1:1-7
a. Paul’s Blessing
b. Paul’s Recognition
c. Paul’s Appreciation
5. But first, lets pray and ask God to make this trek through Colossians a time of growth and personal application.
We will begin by looking at
I. PAUL’S BLESSING TO THE CHURCH, Col. 1:2-3 …Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,… The blessing is three fold
A. Though Epaphras had come with the desire for wisdom in handling a possible problem, he also brought good news – the church was doing well and Paul begins the letter with a blessing expressed to the church – it began with “Grace be unto you.”
1. According to Thayer’s Greek dictionary the word “grace” could mean, the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues
2. It by His grace that we receive what we do not deserve
3. First in salvation, and then in providing for us in this world!
B. The second part of the blessing is found in the word “peace” unto you
1. Peace - the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is
2. Kent Hughes, in his commentary on Colossians, states that this peace is more than the simple absence of trouble, but well-being which springs from a sense of the presence of God.
3. Having peace with God that comes from his grace the believer can have the peace of God – that which is full assurance that He is with them and looking out for them!