INTRO: The letter to the church at Colosse is a truly powerful letter. It is a letter to a church which, for the most part, had never seen Pauls face in the flesh (2:1). The likelihood is that this church began from the work the apostle did in the school of Tyrannus (Acts 19:l9). Luke noted that from that work all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus (Acts 19:20). Apparently, the apostle had some very dear friends at Colosse. Among them was Epaphras, their faithful minister (1:7) and Philemon. The letter was written while the apostle is a prisoner of Rome and was carried to the saints and faithful brethren (1:2) by Tychicus and Onesimus, a runaway slave.
I. SOME GREAT AFFIRMATIONS HERE
A. They had received the genuine truth - 1:5,6
1. their hope rested in the truth of the gospel ... not in vain philosophies
2. their hope rested in the same truth preached in all the world
3. the truth they had received resulted in fruit in them ... their lives had been dramatically changed by it
B. Jesus is Himself Deity - 1:13-19
1. this section of scripture contains beautiful, profound truths about Jesus
2. He is Creator and Sustainer of all creatures and creation
3. in Him dwells all the fulness of Deity ... not a minor Deity (2:9)
C. Jesus is all the Savior they needed - 1:20-22
1. from 1:14 if the fact of redemption through His blood
2. by the cross reconciliation to God was made possible
3. through Jesus they are presented as holy
D. We are complete in Him - 2:10
1. there is no need to look further than Jesus!
2. no one can supply more than He - in fact, no one can supply what He does
3. that completeness includes our being alive again, our being forgiven all trespasses, our being freed from human systems
II. SOME GREAT WARNINGS HERE
A. Hope realized requires continued faithfulness - 1:23
1. three times in a short space Paul referred to their hope in Christ
2. he wants them to be grounded and settled - not double minded
3. for Christian people there is no other hand - no new doctrine, etc.
B. Christians can be beguiled - 2:4
1. a lot is written about the Colossian heresy - no certainty about it
2. but there was a danger that Christians could be influenced away from Christ
3. note the beware at 2:8
C. Some specific points of warning - 2:16-19
1. there were some who bound certain Jewish ordinances
2. there were some who promoted a king of proud humility - who worshiped angels - who insisted on self imposed asceticism and neglect of the body
3. such man made religious observances were/are worthless!
III. SOME GREAT CHALLENGES HERE
A. Set affections on things above - 3:1,2
1. easier said than done? yes, probably
2. but we are dead to this world and its systems of philosophy, religion
3. no matter how attractive spurious religious ideas may sound and look, they will rob us of our hope!
B. Put to death worldly living - 3:5-11
1. the list of things noted here is truly unsavory
2. are there any of these things which we need to put out of our llives?
3. in v. 10 especially is the challenge to be in the image of our Lord
C. Do all in the name of the Lord with thanksgiving - 3:17ff
1. how? well, the apostle goes on to give some specific examples
2. it is in the normal course of our lives that we must reflect the glory and image of Christ
3. were not called to do magnificent things - we are called to live magnificently ... doing all we do in the name of and to the glory of Christ
CLOSE: I so love 4:2-4. He asks for their prayers ... not for release from his bonds ... but that he might speak of the gospel of Christ through open doors of opportunity. And at 4:17, though having his own problems, he remembers to encourage a young man in his ministry.
Cecil A. Hutson
30 November 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)