Summary: What is the measure of a great church?
Text: Colossians 1:3-14
Title: The measure of a great church.
A.The apostle Paul was always thanking God for the Colossian church. (v3)
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you…
B.The reason being: It was such a great church. (v6)
“All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.”
1.It was bearing fruit and growing
What does it take in order to make a great church? (v3-14)
1. Everything that made the Colossian church great transcends time and location.
A.Everything that made the Colossian church great can be repeated today
B.Everything that made the Colossian church great can happen here in New England.
C.We can’t say “We can’t do that here.”
The very first thing that made the Colossian church so great was:
1.It’s faith in Christ Jesus (v3)
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you because we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus.”
A.What Paul means by “it’s faith in Christ Jesus” is –it’s saving faith in Christ Jesus.
Everyone in the church was trusting in Christ’s death on the cross as the grounds for their acceptance before God.
The foundation of every great church is - saving faith in Christ Jesus.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven, given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
“Believe in the lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!” (Acts 16:31)
Application: If everyone here has saving faith in Christ Jesus we have laid the proper foundation for becoming a great church!
Some people might say that saving faith in Christ is the only measure of a great church.
Just get people saved and you will have a great church!
But there are other measures to a great church that must be built upon saving faith in Christ.
Paul says the second measure of a great church is:
2.It’s love for all the saints (v4,8)
““We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you because we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints-“ (v4)
The Colossian church was a great church because of its saving faith in Christ and its love for all the saints. It was a loving church.
(V8) The cause of all the love in the church was the Holy Spirit.
“and has also told me of your love in the spirit.” (v8)
The Holy Spirit was filling those who had saving faith in Christ with the love of God and they in turn were sharing that love with each other.
But in order to give the love of God you have to first receive the love of God.
Only a Spirit- controlled person or church can fully receive the love of God
“God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5)
What does a loving church look like? A loving church is a church without favoritism.
Notice Paul said – you love for all the saints.
How do you love everyone in the church?
By seeing everyone who has saving faith in Christ as a saint rather than a sinner.
Seeing someone as a saint rather than a sinner is seeing that person as God sees them. It means looking at the good in others rather than the bad.
Saving faith in Christ and love for all the saints are not the only measures of a great church?
Another measure of a great church is…
3.It’s hope towards the future (v5)
“The faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you.”
Don’t underestimate hope! Hope is the oxygen of the soul.
Saving faith and love for all the saints both come from the hope stored up for us in heaven.
Because we have put our hope in Jesus we have saving faith and love for all the saints.
So where does hope come from? Paul tells us hope comes from the Word of God!
It’s the promises of God contained in the word of God that bring us hope
Whenever we neglect the word of God we will experience a sense of hopelessness.
Here is a big help when it comes to keeping hopeful.Most of what we hope for is waiting for us up in heaven.
In verse 6 we have yet another measure of a great church. This one is huge!