Summary: #15 in series. What were we, who are we, whose are we, and what has made this happen?
Colossians 4:18 – Remember Your Chains
And so we have reached the end of the book of Colossians. I may be worth your while to go back and read the book from start to finish, to remind yourself of all the good stuff that Paul wrote. All the sermons are online, too, if you missed any. Today we look at the last verse, v18, to tie it all together. Let’s read.
In this last verse, Paul reminded his readers where he was - in a prison in Rome. It appears that the actual scribes to the book were Epaphras and Onesimus, according to Paul’s dictation, and Paul signed his name at the end in his own handwriting.
The book had covered many facets of what Christians should be on board with. The deity of Christ, what He accomplished on the cross, how things are so different for believers today than in the OT, and so on. And Paul described several things that we believe are part of God’s purposes for Centreville Baptist. This church exists to Glorify God – to live lives pleasing to Him. Colossians 1:10 says that Paul was praying that the believers would “live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way.” This church also exists to Reach out to others. Paul asked the readers in 4:5 to “be wise in the way you act toward outsiders”. It matters. This church also exists to Aspire to live like Jesus. He told the readers in 3:12 that “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, [they should] clothe ]themselves] with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” This church exists to Commit to serve. Paul said in 1:25, giving us an example, “I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness.” And this church exists to Encourage one another. Colossians 3:14 says simply, above all else, more important than anything else, we need to put on, to wear, to clothe ourselves, with love for each other.
So we believe that this book carries an important message for us today. And I believe that Paul’s mention of chains is important for us. As we celebrated Remembrance Day this past week, there was much talk of freedom. I am thankful for the country we live. We do have freedom to vote, the freedom to choose occupations, the freedom to choose religion.
Personally, I wouldn’t want to live in a country where even Christianity is enforced. Choice is important, and we are free to do that. This country is flawed, to be sure. But we are free, to an extent.
I’d like to share with you today the freedom we have in Christ. The chains that we as believers have been set free from. What has God done for us? What chains have been broken? What should we remember that has happened to us?
Romans 5:1 says that we have been justified, completely forgiven and made righteous. And Romans 8:1 says that we have been set free from condemnation. We are not condemned. Sometimes we feel that God is pointing His finger at us, condemning us for our stupid choices. But that is only a feeling, and not actually the case.
The first part of Romans 6 says that we died with Christ, and we died to the power of sin’s rule over our lives. We do not have to obey sin’s leading and sin’s temptations. Sometimes we choose to, but it’s never because we have to. It’s so easy to blame the devil, or blame the way we are, or blame the way we were raised, or whatever. But the reality is, we died to sin, and we no longer are its slaves.
1 Corinthians 1:30 says that we have been placed into Christ by God’s doing. We are in Him. He is where we get our identity; not from our clothes or our gadgets or our cash or our houses or our vehicles. We get our identity from Christ, because we are in Him, and He is in us.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says that we have been bought with a price; we are not our own, but we belong to God. There are times when we feel like God has deserted us, but that is never true. We belong to Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says that we have been made righteous. This is a big one. We often say that we are sinners saved by grace. How can a sinner possibly be righteous? How can a person be a sinner and a saint? You can’t. Now, a righteous person may occasionally do an unrighteous act, but that doesn’t make them unrighteous. If we see ourselves as sinners, just moments away from sinning again, we’re not surprised when it happens. But if we see ourselves as righteous, saints in His eyes, then we see unrighteous acts as something apart from ourselves, and not us. Simply put, the Bible says we are righteous.