Summary: How many things do we need to "add" to Jesus to have a fulfilled life? We find it easy to find comfort, meaning, significance in so many things beside Jesus.
(You can listen to the audio of the sermon on my podcast at: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/697261.rss)
• “Jesus and” memes.
o Not that Jesus cares if you love coffee or pumpkin spice, etc.
• The challenge is when we equate two things by using “and.”
o In our hearts we know that our hobby, etc aren’t truly equal to Jesus but language matters.
• When we’re navigating life, it’s very easy for us to find comfort, meaning, significance in our hobbies, other people, careers, just about anything.
• At times, the stress gets to the point that we’re counting on the “fill in the blank” to get us through. The problem is, nothing else can do what Jesus does for us.
• We turn into “Jesus and _______” people.
• Paul addresses this tendency in Colossians.
• Begins with prayer. It has several purposes:
o Intro Paul, remind them of who they are, introduce the subject he wants them to know and teach them what to pray for.
Being “Jesus Only” People
Colossians 1:1–2 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. 2 We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. May God our Father give you grace and peace.
• Paul is giving us a reputation to live up to.
• Holy - set apart by our faith in Christ. (Jesus only.)
• Already Paul is asking us to evaluate who we belong to, what are the fundamental qualities of life we seek?
o Is it grace (God’s favor and love) and peace (wholeness in relationship with God and others?)
• This is what Jesus only people look like.
Qualities of “Jesus Only” People
Colossians 1:3–5 We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, 5 which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.
• Paul begins his encouragement to be Jesus only people with prayer.
• Gospel leads to hope (expectation of heaven) leads to loving one another. All based on faith in Christ. Hope for everything in eternity results in strengthened faith and expressions of love. Not in the abstract, but in word and deed.
o Gut check: In what have I sunk my faith?
o Gut check: does our love for one another and lost people demonstrate our knowledge of and acceptance of the gospel? That we were lost (literally) and needed salvation?
o Gut check: What is my hope based on? Where does it come from? If hope is only in here and now (Jesus and) we lose sight that we are already promised everything in heaven (hope).
• This is the basis for being “Jesus only” people.
Colossians 1:6–8 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace. 7 You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf. 8 He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.
• Word of truth has impacted not just the Colossians but the whole world.
• Epaphras serves as an example of the “Jesus only” model that Paul has in mind.
• Clearly, the gospel is supposed to transform us. “Jesus and” implies that there is something/someone else who can or should make a difference in our lives.
• The truth is, everything we’ve ever tried to give our lives eternal meaning and significance fails at some point. Christians have made a conscious decision to turn themselves over to Christ.
• Do we really want to fall back into “Jesus and”?
Living Transformed Lives
› What does Paul say that transformation looks like?
Colossians 1:9 So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.
• Knowledge = practical obedience
• Wisdom = mental excellence, having a correct orientation to reality as a whole – understanding how things work.
• Understanding = insight, ability to draw appropriate conclusions, the ability to apply wisdom appropriately to daily life.
o “Jesus and” becomes a problem when we can’t properly apply these qualities to our everyday life.