Summary: It’s just as important to the Christian faith to know why you believe, as it is to know what you believe.
THE PASTOR’S POINTS
sermon ministry of
CEDAR LODGE BAPTIST CHURCH
July 5, 1992
It’s just as important to the Christian faith to know why you believe, as it is to know what you believe. The evangelist George Whitfield was witnessing to a man, "What do you believe?" The man replied, "I believe what my church believes." "And what does your church believe?" asked Whitfield. "What I believe," replied the man. Undaunted, the evangelist tried one more time. "And what do you both believe?" "Why, we both believe the same thing!"
We study a book like Colossians because we must continually guard against new ways Satan will attempt to steal our sharpness as defenders of the faith...
Is New Age really new? Are horoscopes, individualism and drug abuse merely contemporary problems?
Not on your life! They’re new clothes for the same scams Lucifer used in Eden. Colossians undresses ’em!
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO COLOSSIANS
The letter is from Paul, held captive in a Roman prison. If you’ve read the book of Philemon, you would be aware that both were written at the same time, and sent back to Colosse with Onesimus.
Ephesians may have also been in the same mail bag. Epaphras had been saved, evidently at Ephesus, and was instrumental in starting the church in his hometown of Colosse.
The occasion of this note is the danger that they were being led astray by some false teaching. They were being told to tone down their view of Jesus. It was okay to include Him in...just don’t get too fanatical about it! Paul didn’t spend a lot of words attacking the false teaching; he simply held up Jesus. Banks will train tellers to recognize false currency without ever showing them a counterfeit bill. They simply start them out with large stacks of real bills and say, "Count it!" After counting thousands of real bills, you know a fake instantly!
The Colossian church was being led to believe that Jesus was less than Lord of all. This is not Christianity; it is the kind of syncretism that says Jesus is OK - we’ll put him up on the shelf next to Mary, and Buddha, and money, and career, and the Daytona 500." Beloved, your Christology (what you believe about Jesus) determines your Christianity. As the old saying has it, "If He’s not Lord of all, He’s not [your] Lord at all!" Today, in this study of Colossians we will hold-up the real thing - Jesus as Lord! That’s what Paul did...He told them about Jesus. He told them first,
Faith in Jesus Brings Grace and Peace 1.1,2
Grace is that totally undeserved gift of God. It is what made Jesus come from heaven, allow Himself to be nailed, spread-eagle on a cross between two thieves on the town garbage dump. He died there for our sins. Grace cancels the brokenness of our sin. Paul called the people at the Colossian church "saints" [NIV translates "holy and faithful brothers"]. A saint is technically not "a very good person." Biblically, a saint is someone who, by faith, receives the grace of God on his own sin and brokenness.
To become a Hindu you have to stick metal rods through your cheeks, have wagons drag you through the street; you stick hooks in various parts of your body, and walk through fire. To become a Christian, you accept the grace of God in the gift of God - Jesus! Jesus has already suffered all the punishment it takes to satisfy God’s holiness. He did what we never could do. It is by grace we are saved through faith, and not of our own works - it is the gift of God! Grace cancels our brokenness.
Peace creates brotherhood. Is there anyone not in search of peace? Somewhere inside all of us is a "peace-shaped hole" that cries-out to be filled. At the end of WWII, General MacArthur said, "Today the guns are silent...the skies no longer rain death...the seas bear only commerce, men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight. The entire world is quietly at peace." We have all had times of stress that threatened to overwhelm....and then, came relief in some way...peace!
But, General Mac, that kind of peace doesn’t last very long. Soon there was Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, and on, and on... But there IS a peace that is not tied to circumstances. It comes only through a relationship created by faith in Jesus. It comes from the brotherhood in Christ.
In the ’70’s we watched Alex Haley’s "Roots" as he traced six generations of his family back to Africa, and Kunte Kinte. In the opening segment the father, Omorro, holds his newborn son up facing the heavens and says to him, "Behold, the only thing greater than yourself." For those of you here this morning who have accepted God’s offer of peace in Christ, you know....you KNOW in your heart the peace that passes understanding. It only comes from a complete surrender of your life to Him. Faith in Jesus brings grace and peace. What else did Paul tell them about Jesus?