Summary: A demonstration from the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Colossian Church that Christ centered living starts with Christ centered theology.
At the University of Southern California the list of great running backs for the Trojan football team is legendary: John Arnett, Frank Gifford, Mike Garret, OJ Simpson, Anthony Davis, Ricky Bell, Charles White, Marcus Allen, Sam Cunningham, LenDale White, Reggie Bush. No other college comes close to such running-back excellence. Why? Listen to the answer given by Marcus Allen, arguably the best of them all, as he described to a reporter what he said in a motivational speech to a later generation of USC players: "As I look back I was telling them that I won the Comeback Player of the Year in the NFL, won the league (NFL) MVP, Super Bowl MVP, Rookie of the Year; and I told them, ‘guys, I won that in practice at USC’...The coaching of John Jackson and John Robinson helped me understand football and what it is all about. It is a physical game. I tell people that the running position is not about just yards. It is the only aspect of the game where you can physically dominate and impose your will on an opponent.”
Now switch scenes with me for a moment. This one is fiction in content, but maybe too close to reality for comfort. A young man earns a certain level of notoriety as a great high school running back. He gets the call from USC. The head coach even visits with he and his parents in his home. The coach asks, "How would you like to become the next great USC running back?" The boy answers, "I would just so long as I don’t have to go to practice or study the play book." A moment of silence passes. As Dad watches the back of the USC coach exiting, he hangs his head and breathes out a deep sigh of sorrow.
There it is. Before victory comes know how. Before doing comes knowledge. However, in church circles, haven’t you heard folks say, “Don’t give me theology, I just need something practical?"
"I get bored reading. I just want something to do."
"Don’t bother me with biblical references. I am who I am."
One might wonder...does our heavenly Father sometimes respond like the boys Dad.
Far too often in the Christian community we hear believers offer this sentiment as though the great foundational truths of our faith have little to do with our lives beyond our initial salvation…but, (please excuse the poor English) this just ain’t so. What we believe has everything to do with how we act and how deeply we believe determines how much our actions will be shaped by our belief. For example, if we simply pay lip-service to the doctrines of God’s omniscience (all-knowing) and omnipresence (everywhere present), we will probably never give much thought to what God is thinking about us when we’re about to engage in sin. However, if these doctrines are paramount not only in our minds, but our hearts as well, then being keenly aware of God’s presence and all-knowing awareness of our actions will more than likely cause us to hesitate and even refrain from engaging in the sin.
Thus sound biblical theology is basic to sound Christian living. It may be true that we will not always act with integrity regarding our biblical foundations, but it is even more true that we will always fail to live up to biblical expectations if we are not biblically informed. This is really true in our relationships…and really, really true regarding our most special relationships. We’ll see this as we study the Apostle Paul’s instructions on the family as he penned them to the Church of Colosse (Colossians 3:18-21).
Here’s what he wote
18 "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord."
19 "Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them."
20 "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."
21 "Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged."
Now, at first glance, that all seems really straight forward. However, to jump into Paul’s explanation of a Christ-centered home, in Col. 3:18-21, without first considering the overall intent of his letter causes us to miss crucial theology concerning the Lord Jesus Christ that reflects directly on a believer’s ability to follow through on the commands found in Colossians 3:18-21. So, let’s back up a little…
The Colossians had come under a set of false teachings that taught, among other things, Jesus was not sufficient for the complete work of redemption. Much like present day Christians, the Colossians were being lured into a "Jesus plus something" mentality. In chapter two of Colossians (2:16-19) some of those things were mentioned:
The Apostle would have none of it. It is why he went to great lengths (Colossians 1:15 – 2:15, 20-23) to demonstrate that Jesus was not only sufficient to save them from their sins, but to save them from their old habits and to transform them into that for which God had redeemed them. Therefore, the great theme of his letter to them was simple: