Summary: Expository intro to Colossians with a strong focus on God’s grace.
Intro: “The seductive allure of the counterfeit has confounded men throughout the ages. Homer, in his mythological tale The Odyssey personified the perils of deception in the story of the Sirens – mythological ½ women, ½ bird creatures who lived on an island in the Mediterranean Sea. Their beautiful, melodious songs were so enchanting that passing sailors strayed from their chartered course and crashed their ships on the rocky shoreline. The short-lived appeal of the Sirens’ song quickly gave way to the horrible reality of a painful death as the creatures came down from the rocks and devoured the flesh of the shipwrecked sailors.
2 men overcame the powerful enticement of the Sirens but in very different ways. Ulysses was warned of the fatal songs yet remained fascinated with the prospect of hearing the beautiful sounds with his own ears. He plugged the sailor’s ears with beeswax and then had himself lashed to the ship’s mast. As the ship sailed past the Sirens’ rocky home, the sailors were unaffected by the sweet-sounding songs while Ulysses was physically restrained from acting on the desires that stirred within him.
Orpheus was a musician of legendary renown and he took a different approach to escape the Sirens’ snare. When the Argonauts sailed into the treacherous waters surrounding the deadly isle, Orpheus began to lay and sing. The beauty of Orpheus’s music was so genuine and compelling that the Sirens no longer held any appeal for the crew.
False teaching is a lot like the Sirens. It is purposely made to sound sweet, enticing, and alluring. It is deceptive and dangerous.” (Max Anders – Holman NT Commentary).
Now Paul, a prisoner or a better term may be captive was under house arrest most likely in Rome writes a letter to the church in Colosse to help them navigate their way thru some false teaches. This letter stands like a lighthouse amidst the jagged edges of false teachings.
This letter is easily divided for us with chapters 1-2 detailing a theme of Christ is Lord. While chapters 3-4 provide instruction for living like Christ is Lord of our life.
The letter was written probably in the early 60s A. D. but, Epaphras it is believed, started the church in Colosse. We know that Paul did not start it for in Col 2:1 he states, For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face. A comment like that tends to make us lean towards the decision that they had not met the Apostle.
We begin our journey thru Colossians in vs. 1
I. God’s Grace and Peace in the Christian’s Personal Life Comes From Knowing the Power of the Gospel (vs. 1-2).
This great letter begins with an address stating who the letter is from. Today we place our greetings at the end of the letter. During this time, most letters of length would have been written on a scroll of varying length [bring out scroll] thus if you placed your name at the end you either had to un-roll the scroll or wait until you reached the end.
A. From Paul the Apostle (vs. 1). Paul begins right off the bat stating he is an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. [Read vs. 1] It is important for him to make this statement of authority because there was a false teaching that was growing and it threatened to uproot the strong foundations that had been built on Christ.
The reason Paul wrote this letter was to combat some conflicting and false teachings. The sufficiency of Christ is the core conflict going on in Colosse and Paul writes to them to set them straight.
So, Paul wrote with the authority of an apostle. Apostolos means “sent one” and in the New Testament is used as an official title of the men God uniquely chose to be the foundation layers of the church and the receivers, teachers, and writers of His final revelation—the New Testament. The apostolic duties were to preach the gospel (1 Cor. 1:11), teach and pray (Acts 6:4), work miracles (2 Cor.12:12), build up other leaders of the church (Acts 14:23), and write the Word of God (Eph. 1:1; etc.). MacArthur’s Commentary on Ephesians.
He is not simply a messenger, but an official representative of the One who sent him. What he writes in this letter is not merely his opinion, but God’s authoritative Word. We do not call people apostles today – probably the closet we might have would perhaps be a church planter, but even then they are not apostles.
I want to make an additional note and not for the purpose of putting me or any other pastor on a pedestal: when preachers stand in the pulpit, they are standing there as a representative of God. Therefore, they must make every attempt to ensure what they say is accurate; that the word of God is accurately handled. The difference is that what a preacher says is not and does not become God’s authoritative word. There is no new revelation from God as His Word is final. We are not writing another Bible. Preachers are human too and from time to time mistakes will be made. One of our jobs is to help the church understand what the Bible says how the Bible applies to your life today.