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.