Summary: Giving Christ the supreme position in our lives is a decision we make. Paul opens his letter to the Colossian church with a reminder that he was sent by God.
I. I have a friend, a co-worker to be more specific, who comes from an American Indian heritage.
A. He is actually quite proud of his background,
B. In talking with him about Christ, I also discovered that he claims Christ as his savior.
1. Sounds good right.
2. That is great, but there is a situation.
C. Early on in our talking about faith, he made a statement something lie this.
1. Well, I believe in Jesus as savior, BUT
2. Being an Indian, I also believe in the old Indian ways.
a. “I saw Jesus” he told me
b. “He’s the Great White Buffalo to our people.”
II. Now that may sound just a bit funny to most of us, for surely Jesus is not a buffalo.
A. But what is wrong with that concept?
B. He said he believe Jesus is his savior.
C. Can he not also believe in another faith or religion?
III. Today we begin a study of the letter to the Colossians,
A. Part of the reason, in fact the main reason Paul wrote this letter was to answer just such questions.
1. Maybe not a “Is Jesus a buffalo question.”
2. But since the dawning of the church age, some people have attempted to join faith in Christ with other “methods” of salvation.
B. The big word for this is Sycretism.
IV. For Paul, other biblical writers, and for my own personal faith belief, Christ and Christ alone must reign supreme in our lives;
A. It is not Christ in addition to something else, or something else in addition to Christ.
B. If Christ is to have a supreme place in our lives, it means Christ is the ONLY answer to the questions we have about life and eternity.
V. It is just a bit like this.
A. In our store, we sell a particular brand of stove product.
1. It is not uncommon for someone to come in and say,
a. I was looking at such and such brand of stoves.
b. How do yours compare to those?”
2. My answer always goes along these lines,
a. “I really don’t know.
b. But I can tell you this about the product that we sell.”
B. Making/Giving Christ the priority in your life is a bit like that.
1. I really can’t tell you about other religions or faiths, BUT
2. I can tell you what living with Christ means to me.
VI. Let’s begin this morning by reading Colossians chapter 1, verses 1 to 11.
VII. Paul begins by saying, “I was called by God.”
Called by God (vs. 1-2)
1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
I. Colossae was once a powerful city, located on a major trade route.
A. By this writing however, Colossae was beginning to fade, perhaps a bit like our area and it’s association with the old steel mill.
B. As with most major cities, it attracted people from all backgrounds, including religion.
C. And like many cities, Colossae welcomed the worship of many faiths.
II. I have already said that one of the major problems Paul is addressing was the practice called syncretism.
A. Again, because I believe it is important for us to understand, Syncretism is essentially the blending of one or more religions.
B. People would say, just like my Indian friend,
1. I worship Christ, BUT,
2. I also worship or join with my Christianity this other God.
III. Today we might say,
A. I worship Christ, of course I do,
1. But I leave room that there may be another way, or
2. I pray to Christ, but he’s so big you can’t just go straight to Him.
B. And of course many say,
1. “It really doesn’t matter what God you pray to or worship.
2. If you are sincerely trying to worship, God will understand,
C. BUT will HE; second place or joint place really OK with God?
IV. Paul says,
A. I am an apostle, a sent one from Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ alone, through the will of God.
B. I was not sent by someone equal to God, or someone in addition to God,
C. I was sent by God, to be faithful to Christ alone.
V. This may not read as all that important, but when you couple it with the context of the readers it is very important,
A. Paul is making a statement that in a day and age where other faiths are proliferating, I stand firm in Christ and Christ alone.
B. Paul is echoing Acts 4:12 - 12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”