Summary: Fourth message ina series through Colossians
OPEN: This is the fourth message in a series on growing in Christ. We're looking at the book of Colossians and using it as a primer if you will to show us the areas we should be growing in our walk with the Lord. Thus far, we've seen how the Colossians were growing - Paul says -- I've heard about how Jesus is growing you. I thank God for what I've heard -- about how your faith and how your love and how your hope is growing. The Gospel is doing it's work in your hearts and its showing itself through your lives. It's bearing fruit and you're productive, you're transferring that which has changed you into the hearts of those you have contact with. And he says you're growing in your knowledge of the Lord -- and he says I pray that your knowledge will grow even more. That it will just grow until you are filled up spilling over -- totally controlled by your knowledge of Jesus so that every action and every decision and every attitude and every word would be first be mediated through what you know about Jesus. Paul says I pray that you will be filled with the knowledge of God's will
Today we are going to look at a really important passage of Scripture. Now the Colossians obviously already know Jesus, but it's like Paul is reintroducing him all over again. If you had to introduce Jesus Christ to a group of people how would you do it? What would you say?
- Clip of Jesus being introduced at stadium by Steve Harvey -
Why This Re-Introduction of Christ?
Paul is finished with introductory comments -- he now moves on to addressing the problems he's learned about from Epaphras. Paul has pretty well dispensed with the opening thoughts; he has greeted them initially; he has thanked God for them in verses 3, and following; he has prayed for them that they would be filled with all the knowledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, and they would walk worthy unto all pleasing, etc., etc. He's gotten all the amenities out of the way, and now he drives right in on the main issue.
* Cultural Pressure: Epaphras is facing pressure where the reign of Christ is being compromised. There is cultural pressure that is flowing into the church that is causing the church to swerve away from it foundations. There is congregational compromise where some of these ideas are being accepted as normal.
* Congregational Compromise: We're all aware of the pressure of the world trying to squeeze us into its mold, but what had started happening in Colossae is the church had started embracing some of the world's ideas and incorporate it into the life of the Church. To the degree that Christians embraces worldly practices and worldly thinking they are weakened as the people of God.
* Contradicting Responses to the Problems They Faced. You see this as Paul addresses the specific issues working their way into the church. One person had this opinion, another person had that opinion. One person says, "we need more of this." Another person says, "We need more of that." Everyone is throwing their opinions on the table. And we know how difficult that can be to deal with. Person A says, "This is what I think we ought to do." Person B suggests that what we ought to do is this -- and it stands in contradiction to what Person A says we ought to do. A discussion follows -- each person weighing in on whether Person A's idea is better than Person B's idea. There is a vote -- there is a winner and a loser. One person walks away from the table with hurt feelings that their idea wasn't accepted. Another person walks away feeling a little full of himself because his idea was embraced. Threre's got to be a better way to do Church than that.
There has to be a constant resistance to the pressure of culture infiltrating into the church. There has to be a constant alignment to the teachings of the Word of God. Drift is common in our lives and in the life of the church. We have to constantly be aware of the need to realign ourselves with what God has preserved for us in the Bible. Ill of loosing anchor while fishing. A friend dropped it into the water but the rope wasn't tied off. No way to stay in one place when you are not tethered to something solid to hold you in one place. So Paul recognizes the drift that is occurring. So what's his answer? The Lordship of Jesus Christ over the Church.
Don't Forget Who You Serve:
Paul's answer was to remind them who they served. There were a lot of great things that were happening in their lives -- and Paul has applauded that but that didn't mean there were not issues that needed to be addressed. So instead of introducing formulas, and new methodologies and writing a new philosophy of ministry or coming up with a new 5 year plan for the church --Paul does something unique and powerful. He launches into one of the most powerful passages in the New Testament and reminds them of who it is they were serving. Folks we better be careful we don't forget who Jesus is. Don't take Jesus for granted. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords; and when we see Him we will automatically fall to our knees and worship before Him. The Bible says that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Paul wants to make it clear that Jesus is God; that He is God in flesh. Paul re-presents Christ, 'who is the only really, true, graphic, perfect, flawless, absolutely accurate image of the invisible God." And friends were it not for Him being in the image of God, none of us would ever be able to approximate it.