Summary: A common faith based upon the teaching of the apostles unites us into a spiritual family, even among those believers we have never met.
Strangers Who Are Brothers
1. I knew a man, who, after he retired, found out that his father wasn’t his father.
2. He then met his actual father and family in another state, and began going to family functions there, building relationships with a family he did not know he had.
3. We, too, have an extended family, most of whom we have never met; a spiritual family — all those who have turned from their sin and embraced Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who have been brought to spiritual life by the Spirit of God.
4. Sometimes you can sense that a stranger is a believer; sometimes you discover this in conversation, and you can feel the family-like unity.
Main Idea: A common faith based upon the teaching of the apostles unites us into a spiritual family, even among those believers we have never met.
I. Who Was PAUL?
Common way to write a letter, as, for example, Daniel 4:1
King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you!
A. Sha’ul the RABBI (named after Sha’ul, Saul — tribe of Benjamin)
1. Studied under Gamaliel, grandson of Hillel
2. Raised in Tarsus (Turkey), thus familiar with Greek culture
3. Studied in Israel, fluent in Hebrew
B. The Zealous PERSECUTOR
I Timothy 1:12-13, “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief…”
C. Called as an APOSTLE
Galatians 1:15-16, “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone…”
• Mentioning apostleship made his letter official and authoritative (red letter)
• The importance of recognizing the authority of the apostles
• From a human perspective, no Paul, no Christianity
D. Now Under House ARREST
• Many people want you to listen to them, but they are unwilling to suffer for what they believe; want you to bear the brunt, not them; Paul was opposite.
• A lot of church conflicts arise in the easy chair, not the battle for discipleship
E. A STRANGER but a legend to the Colossians
It is natural to favor and only be concerned about people you know. You have family in a hurricane zone, a hundred die; you are relieved that your family is okay. It takes a while to remember that others were not so fortunate… it is natural to favor believers you know from those you do not… but we need to give that second thought
II. Who Were the Colossian BELIEVERS?
God’s called out ones stand in contrast to the world, and thus can never completely fit into mainstream society; values, behavior, beliefs, ethics, even language is different. Evangelicalism has tried to make Christianity acceptable, compromised…