Today we wrap up our study on the book of Colossians and I’ve got to tell you, this has been a really great refresher course for me. For most of us, this hasn’t been ground-breaking new material that we’ve been looking at, but its sure been good to be reminded of some of these things that we already knew.
We so easily get sidetracked and distracted from the main thing – it’s good to spend some time going back to the basics.
If you’re a football fan, you probably know the name “Vince Lombardi”. If you’re not into football, I’ll presume you’ve at least heard of the superbowl. The trophy that you get by winning the super bowl is named the “Vince Lombardi Trophy”. Vince Lombardi was the coach of the Greenbay Packers from 1959-1967. Of the 130 games he coached, his team won 96 of them – including two Superbowl championships. So this guy knew what he was doing.
One of the things that Vince Lombardi was famous for was a speech he gave at every pre-season training camp. He would begin by holding up a football and saying, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”
He would then go over the basics of what a football is and its role in the game. He would then take his team out and show them the field, explaining where the out-of-bounds lines and the end zones were. He would go over the basic fundamentals of the game – touch downs, tackles, field goals – explaining the rules and organization of players.
Now keep in mind that this was not little leagues. These players were not beginners. They were the seasoned, professional NFL players. They’d known all this stuff for years already. And yet every year, Lombardi would begin with the most basic, fundamental principles of football. Why? Because he knew that to build a winning team, they had to understand the basic fundamentals of the game.
And that’s just what we’ve been doing. As we’ve been looking at Paul’s letter to the Colossians – his Christianity in a Nutshell so to speak, we’ve been reviewing the most basic, fundamental principles of the Christian life. Who is Jesus? What did He accomplish by dying on the cross and rising again from the grave? How do we walk in close relationship with God? How does the Holy Spirit guide our lives? And how do we relate to each other now that Christ lives within us? These are the basics of Christianity. And these are what we have to understand if we, together, are going to be a winning team for Christ.
Last week we talked about how, in whatever we say or do, we do it as representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ – no matter what position of life we are in. For example, we talked about husbands and wives – and how we are to reflect the attitude of Christ in our marriage. We talked about parents and children – and how we can reflect Christ to our family. And we also talked about slaves and masters (or employers and employees) and how we are a living illustration of Jesus in what we say and do in our workplace.
And so we had these three sets of relationships – these three areas of life – where we need to be accurate representatives Christ. Today we are going to look at one more kind of relationship where we need to be ambassadors of Christ. And that is in our relationship with those who are not believers. People who don’t share our beliefs. We could use the term “pre-Christians” – people who have not yet accepted Christ Jesus as their Lord and Saviour – though we hope one day, they will. How do we represent Christ to these people?
Now depending on your situation, this area might overlap into some of these other areas that we’ve already talked about. It could be that some of you have a spouse or a boyfriend/girlfriend who has yet to accept Christ as their Saviour. Some of you may have children who are not currently walking with the Lord. Perhaps your parents have yet to come to know Christ. Probably most of you work with people who don’t share your beliefs. And certainly, all the things we talked about last week would still apply to these relationships whether they are believers or not, but now Paul gives us some further, specific instructions for our relationships with people who don’t share our beliefs – those who are currently unbelievers. Read the rest of this entry »
Several times throughout the New Testament, we are instructed to imitate Christ – to follow him – to become like him. We are told that we are ambassadors of Christ. We are his representatives here on earth. And that’s really the focus of our passage today.
We ended last week in mid-paragraph at verse 16 of Colossians 3. I’m not sure how your Bible has all the verses grouped together on the page, but I think in all of the Bibles that I’ve seen, verses 16 & 17 of Colossians 3 are always lumped together.
But you might have noticed that we stopped last week at verse 16 – without including verse 17. So why did we do that? Well, let’s read through our passage this morning and I’ll see if I can explain my thinking: Start at verse 17 and we’ll go all the way through chapter three right into the first verse of chapter 4.
“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.
20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.
22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. 23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. 25 But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites. 1 Masters, be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master—in heaven.
Colossians 3:17 – 4:1
Now most of what we just read sure seems to be a hodgepodge of instructions. It’s like the misc section – a little of this, a little of that, a little of something else. It’s like reading through some of the Proverbs – it seems to be just random bits of good advice.
But it’s that verse 17 that gives it all a common theme. It’s like a bridge between everything Paul just told us in the previous verses about living according to our new nature and all these seemingly random bits of good advice. So let’s focus for a moment on verse 17.
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Paul just finished a whole section of this letter to the Colossians talking about how we are to put on our new Christ-like nature – how we are to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in every moment of every day – how we are to walk in close fellowship with God. And as we do all of that, everything we say or do will be a reflection of God.
As Christians – we are ‘Christ ones’. When people look at us, they should get a really good idea of what Christ looks like. Not physically of course, but in word and deed and attitude. When people watch you, you’re showing them who Jesus is. You’re a living example of Jesus. At least, we should be. Read the rest of this entry »
Over the past month we’ve been looking at Christianity in a Nutshell as we’ve been studying the book of Colossians. In this letter from Paul we find many of the core basics of Christianity. We’ve looked at who Jesus really is and what He did for us on the cross. We’ve talked about some of the things that distract us from our walk with God and how important it is to keep our focus in Christ. Last week we started talking about how we can avoid those times of growing distant from God and instead how to live continuously in a close relationship with Him. And this morning we are going to continue on that theme – this is kinda a “part 2” to our message last week.
Last week we talked about the battle between our two natures. We have our old sinful nature that just wants to please me – and we have our new Christ-like nature that wants to please God. And these two natures are constantly in conflict with each other. We always have this struggle between doing what I want – and doing what God wants. And this battle, I think, is the reason that so many Christians feel defeated. Time and time again, they really want to do what is right, but they inevitably do what is wrong – just like what Paul expressed in Romans 7. So they feel like failures.
But Paul tell us that we don’t have to live that way. We don’t have to follow our sinful nature. Through the power of Jesus Christ who lives within us, we can strip off our old sinful nature and put on our new Christ-like nature. We looked at Colossians 3:10 last week…
“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” Colossians 3:10
And so that’s where we want to pick up this discussion this morning. How do we put on our new nature? Is it something we do or is it something God does? And what exactly does our new nature look like? How will our lives change as we start following our new nature? There’s all kinds of questions – and hopefully our passage today will provide us with a few answers.
We begin this morning in Colossians 3 – verse 12. Paul writes… Read the rest of this entry »
I want you to think back to your high school or college days. For some of us, that won’t be hard. For others, you might have to dig way back in the memory bank. And I want you to think about your best friends from back then. Maybe one or two or three of your closest friends back in the day. Got those people in your mind?
Ok, now here’s a second question for you to ponder. Are those people still your best friends today? If I had asked you to name your top one/two/three best friends today, would those still be the same people you would name? I’m guessing that the older you are, the more likely you have different best friends now.
Relationships always change – friends that were once close, over time, can become distant. People move away. Your lives take different directions. You just grown distant over time.
And at the same time while you grow distant from some people, there are other people that you grow closer with. You’re always meeting new people and making new friends. And some of them grow to be very close friends.
But relationships always change. Even our relationship with God changes over time. I imagine most of us experience times of our lives when our relationship with God is super close! It’s awesome! You love praying and reading His Word. His presence is very real in your life and you just love serving Him and just being with Him.
And then there are other times, when we just feel distant from God. He becomes almost like a Facebook acquaintance. We know in our heads that God hasn’t gone anywhere – the Bible tells us He’s right there with us all the time… but it sure doesn’t feel like it.
That’s frustrating to me. I hate those times when I feel distant from God. I want a relationship with God that grows closer all the time – not more distant. And I think that’s what God wants too. From everything I read about in the Bible, it sure seems that God wants to have that close relationship with us too. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for me so that I could feel distant from Him. He didn’t send the Holy Spirit to empower and dwell right within me so that our relationship could grow cold. No! God wants to be my closest ally and my most faithful friend.
So how do we live in that continuously close relationship with God? Can we avoid or at least minimize those times where we feel distant? How do we make sure we’re growing closer – and not moving apart? How do we do that? Read the rest of this entry »
This morning I want to begin by showing you a commercial that I’ve seen on tv recently. Perhaps you’ve seen it too. It’s a commercial for the 2015 Chevy Cruz and I think it really sets the stage for us today. So let’s have a look.
I think the video makes a good point. The chevy spokesperson says “It is hard to stay focused.” And it really is. From your own cellphone to billboards to people walking on the sidewalk to wildlife. There are all kinds of distractions that can cause us to lose focus and potentially end up in a wreck.
Have anyone here been distracted while driving and gotten themselves into trouble?
I remember one time I pulled up behind a car at a red light in Innisfail. I don’t know what it was that distracted me, but I certainly wasn’t focus on what I was doing. Because the car in front of me pulled away and I followed it. It wasn’t until I was half-way through the intersection that I realize the light was still red! The guy had in front of my had gone through the red light, and I followed him! Its a good thing no one was coming from the other direction or I could have been in serious wreck!
You’ve got to stay focused. It only takes a minute of being distracted and you can end up in all kinds of trouble.
And I think that’s also true for us as followers of Christ. There are all kinds of things that can distract us. Things that steal our focus from what’s important. And if we’re not careful, our lives can end up in a wreck.
And I think that’s what was happening in the church in Colosse back in 60AD. If you haven’t been with us, we’ve been studying the book of Colossians for the last month or so – and this book is actually a letter that Paul wrote to the Church in Colosse – and the main purpose of this letter is to address some of these distractions that had been stealing the Colossians focus. These were false teachings that were either adding to or subtracting from the true message of the Gospel.
And we actually face several very similar distractions in our lives and our church (false teachings) even today, so I think it will be very valuable to us to learn from Paul how to recognize and deal with these distractions and stay focused on the truth. Read the rest of this entry »
If you haven’t been with us in recent weeks, we’ve been going through the book of Colossians – which is Paul’s letter that he wrote to the church in Colosse. And the content of this letter is basically, “Christianity in a Nutshell.” It’s the basic truths about who Jesus is and what He came to do – and what we should do because of that. And as I eluded to with the kids in the kids time, today in this particular passage, we’re going to be looking at what Paul describes as the secret of Jesus Christ.
Several times throughout the New Testament, Paul refers to Jesus as God’s secret plan – a mystery kept hidden from the beginning of time. So we’re going to look to see what that’s all about. And with that we’re going to look to see what Paul did because of that secret. Paul’s entire life revolved around this secret – so maybe there are some lessons in there for us as well.
This morning we begin at Colossians chapter 1, verse 24. Paul says…
“I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.”
Ok. Pause here for now. Before we get too far along, let’s take a minute to chew on this.
This first verse 24 can be a little confusing. Paul says…
I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. Colossians 1:24
Now my first thought as I read that is “what…. say that again…” How is Paul participating in the sufferings of Christ? And further, how do the sufferings of Christ continue even now?
And if you read that in the NIV or the ESV translations, you’re probably even more confused. Here’s what the English Standard Version says.
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.” Colossians 1:24 ESV
What in the world does that even mean? How is Paul “filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions?” Is Paul saying that something is lacking in what Christ has done for us? Are His afflictions, His suffering on the cross – his death and resurrection is still lacking something? Is our salvation not complete? Read the rest of this entry »
Hi. In case you were wondering, my name is Dave Trenholm. I'm just a [mostly] normal guy who wants please God with my life and help people see how awesome He is. One way that I can do that is to post some of my thoughts and tell some of my stories on this website. Most of my recent content is made up of the sermons that I've preached over that past several years.