Summary: The life we’re called to live is to be informed and motivated by the gospel.
Please turn in your Bibles to Colossians 2:4-8
The apostle Paul, having preached Christ in you, the hope of glory, now begins to explain how that truth is to shape the life of every believer. There is a path we are to walk in the presence of Christ and in the power of Christ.
Let’s read verses 4-8 to see what that is.
READ COLOSSIANS 2:4-8
In verse 6 we’ve come to the first command in the letter to the Colossians, about one third of the way through it. Up until now, Paul has been expressing his thanks to God for the Colossians, his desires for their growth, and especially going on at length about the hope of the gospel, the salvation that we have in Jesus Christ.
Now he introduces a command, something the Colossian believers and we are to do, which is this: walk in him or walk in …Christ Jesus the Lord. It’s a command that Paul will spend the rest of the letter explaining, as he applies it to many areas of life. It is about how we are to live; how we are to walk this path of life until we reach our destination which is Christ.
As we go through the rest of the letter Paul is going to talk about how we put to death sin in our lives and grow in holiness. He’ll talk about relationships between husbands and wives, children and parents, between employees and employers, between believers and other believers, between believers and non-believers.
This broad command called walk in him will apply to all of life. And we’re going to find out what it means this morning and why it’s good for us to do it.
But I want to make an observation here before plunging into that command. Paul writes about the gospel and its benefits before he writes anything about commands. And that order tells us something. It tells us that the life we’re called to live is to be informed and motivated by the gospel (2x). Or, in other words, we are to live a gospel-shaped life.
Before Paul gets to any commands, before he addresses any concerns (and he does have concerns for the Colossians and us), before he tells us what to do, he first makes sure believers understand that in Christ God is for us, that God loves his people, that God has pursued us in our sin and given us life and hope. There’s a particular way he wants us to live, a way that is worthy of Christ, a way that is fully pleasing to him, but what makes that way of life possible and what motivates us to do it is the knowledge of God’s forgiveness, of his acceptance, of his commitment to do us good through Jesus. First liberty, then service. First gospel, then walking in a manner worthy of the gospel. That’s the divine order of things for us.
The life we’re called to live is to be informed and motivated by the gospel. It is to be a gospel-shaped life. That’s what this morning’s text tells us.
So, with that in mind we’re going to explore this by looking first at the concern that Paul has for the Colossians. Then we’ll define this command to walk in him and how it addresses the concern Paul has for them. Then we’ll see how to cultivate obedience to this command, how to cultivate the gospel-shaped life. So we’ll see the concern, the command and the cultivation of that command.