Summary: Encouraging Christians to share their faith - PowerPoint slides aere available for this sermon on request - email: email@example.com
Reading: Colossians chapter 1 verses 1-12.
• Back in 1820 the average person in England wrote only three letters a year.
• And with good reason.
• Letters in those days were mailed without a cover and could be read by anyone.
• But William Mulready had an idea to ensure privacy—the envelope.
• It was an idea he stole from the French;
• On a visit to France Mulready noticed that important messages;
• Were completely enclosed in a little paper case...
• Making them impervious to the peering eyes of the curious.
• On his return to England he introduced this new way of sending mail,
• It was an instant success, and the rest as they say is history!
Colossians was written not on paper but on a scroll or a codex:
• But just as a modern day letter is kept safe and protected by an envelope;
• The letter of Colossians will remind us that are kept safe and protected by Jesus Christ!
• Talking about letters,
• There is the old joke of a soldier who wrote to his girlfriend everyday;
• When he eventually returned home on leave,
• He discovered that she had run off with the postman!
• Colosse was a city in Asia Minor,
• Which is a region of Western Asia (modern day Turkey);
• It was one of a trio of cities: Hierapolis and Laodica being the other two;
• They get a name check in chapter 4 verse 13,
• That were located about 100 miles inland of Ephesus.
• These three cities were almost in view of each other.
• This area used to be a meeting point of East and West
• At one time an important trade route passed through there:
• When the road system changed;
• Colosse’s trade business declined.
• By the apostle Paul’s day, this one time a wealthy and populas city.
• Had been reduced to an insignificant market town.
• Quote: William Barcley:
• “Today there is not a stone to show where Colosse stood and her site can only be guessed at”
• Paul had never visited Colosse (chapter 2 verse 1).
• But he did spend three years working 100 miles away in Ephesus.
• Acts chapter 19 verse 10 tells us that; People from all over Asia visited that city;
• They heard the gospel, got converted & returned home with the message
• One of those visitors to Ephesus who was converted;
• Was a man named ‘Epaphras’ - he gets a name check in verse 7:
• Verse 7: "You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant".
• Ephaphras was a citizen of Colosse,
• And when he returned home he shared the gospel with his relatives and friends.
• And as a result folks were converted and a church was planted.
• The church at Colosse was probably about five years old,
• When it received this letter from Paul.
• Although there were some converted Jews in the Church;
• It would seem that the Church was mainly made up of Gentiles.
• These sins mentioned w in chapter 3 verses 5-9;
• Were commonly associated with non-Jews.
• A man with three sons won £1 billion on the lottery.
• Since he now had more money than he knew what to do with,
• He offered to buy his sons anything they wanted.
• He stressed money was no object.
• His first son said he had always wanted a Jaguar car,
• So his father bought him seven Jaguar cars in seven different colours,
• So he would have a different one to drive every day of the week.
• His second son wanted a motorcycle.
• So the father went out and bought him 30 new motorcycles,
• So he would have a different bike to ride every day of the month.
• His youngest was only 8, and he said he wanted a Mickey Mouse outfit.
• So his father went out and bought him the Southampton Football Club.
This Church was facing a crisis:
• Relegation was not the issue;
• But it could split or even destroy this local Church if help was not given.
Ephaphras who helped start the Church and in verse 7 is called its minister:
• He needed help and so he went to his good friend and mentor the apostle Paul;
• Paul at this time was a prisoner in Rome; (this is mentioned in 4:3, 10 & 18).
• Epaphras came to see Paul and reported to him about a dangerous new teaching;
• That was spreading through the Church.
Question: What was the crisis/problem?