Summary: Celebrate the wonder of your salvation!
Celebrate: “to demonstrate satisfaction in by festivities.” But you did not need a definition of celebration did you? All of us have been a part of some kind of celebration. It may have been an athletic accomplishment. It may have been an academic achievement. The state of Florida has been celebrating the outcome of a recent sporting event. By the time that game was over Monday evening confetti was flying, cheerleaders were crying, and coaches were sighing; all for an accomplishment that will be totally forgotten by most of society in just a few years.
We celebrate outstanding accomplishments. We celebrate memorable events. Why then, do we so often fail to celebrate the greatest accomplishment in human history; the greatest event in our individual lives? It is an accomplishment that did not occur on a gridiron, in a classroom, nor in a courtroom, but on a cross. It was an event that changed, not just the course of time, but the course of eternity. It was the accomplishment of the Lord Jesus Christ when He paid the penalty for our rebellion against God and purchased for us deliverance from our sin, and the assurance of a home in heaven. We may not drop confetti, launch balloons, or kill a fatted calf, but we ought to continuously celebrate the wonder of our salvation.
I encourage you to open your Bible to the New Testament letter of Colossians as we begin a series of messages I have entitled, “Is Christ Enough?” This was the nagging question confronting the church at Colossae. I want to begin our study in Colossians by laying down a
historical foundation for our study.(v.1-2) This letter was obviously penned by the apostle Paul.
He was writing from a Roman prison cell. While Paul was under house arrest, word came to him about a troublesome situation arising in the city of Colossae. This is the only one of the prison epistles penned to a church that Paul himself did not start. He had no direct involvement in the starting of this church in Colossae. In fact, there is no evidence Paul had ever been to the city of Colossae.
The recipient of the letter was obviously the church at Colossae. The city of Colossae had once been a prominent, prosperous city located near the fertile fields of the Lycus Valley. It had once been part of what was called the “Golden Triangle”, which included the cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis. Colossae had been known for its wool industry. Sheep grazed in the fertile pasture lands surrounding the town, and dyes were made from the nearby chalk deposits. Politicians and dignitaries often frequented the city streets. But the valley of Lycus was also known for its frequent earthquakes. Whether it was the result of one such earthquake cannot be clearly ascertained, but for some reason the Roman government rerouted the road system running through the region, bypassing Colossae altogether for the neighboring cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis.
The Romans made Laodicea a conventus; the capital of a district of twenty-five towns. Hierapolis was known for its hot mineral springs that many believed possessed healing powers. So for commercial interests one went to Laodicea. For luxury and pleasure, one went to Hierapolis; and Colossae was reduced to a “what used to be” town. Yet in this town composed of an odd mixture of Jews and Greeks, a church had been established. Its founder appears to have been a man named Epaphras.