Reading one side of correspondence like listening to one side of phone conversation. Have answers, but not questions. Have advice, but not situation.
Tell you today about a church in trouble. Threatened both from within and without. Needed to act. What was nature of the trouble that threatened life and faith of ch at Colossae? Two sources: (1) negatively in rebukes, (2)positively in what he stresses with passion and intensity.
Church beguiled, fascinated with Siren Songs, intrigued by philosophy, following human traditions, making religion into rules and regulations, externalizing piety, legalistic in ascetic isolation, devotion to special observances, and self-abasement. Church needing to hear about Jesus, stress on inclusiveness of Christian gospel, every man, global cause. All-sufficiency of Jesus.
When a church forgets Jesus, always in danger. But this forgetting is subtle, for may be misdirection. Long before Christianity came into world, some loathed the physical body. Saw the human body as a tomb. Plato, prison house of the body. Seneca, detestable habitation of the body. Resulted in a distinct dualism, separation of body and spirit. Monastics, Ascetics, Stoics, Epicureans, Cynics.
Where does evil come from? Our answer has a serious effect on our Christology. Impossible to believe in incarnation if body is evil. Gnostics held to limited incarnation. Wrecked morality, fellowship, Christian joy.
Church is always imperiled when misunderstandings of Jesus occur, alters faith and life. Paul could have taken the negative method of arguing and contradicting false teachers, but instead took method of stating Christian gospel in all its splendor! So do we this day. Let me tell you about Jesus! Perhaps an early Christian hymn.
1. V.15--Consider his person.
He is the very REFLECTION of God. The image/character of God, the visible manifestation of the invisible. Before all things--by position, in point of time. Firstborn, preeminent, creator--thus God. He is the cohesive, adhesive. In response, we worship.
2. V. 18--Consider his position, preeminence.
He is the REIGNING one. He is the head of the church, the beginning/firstborn, overcoming death. He is the bonding power as we share loyalty/allegiance. He is supreme. He is the very fulness of God in physical form. In response, we share fellowship, with one another and with him, we seek to grow in him and he in us.
3. V. 19--Consider his power, purpose.
He is the RECONCILING one. Redeeming, reconciling, making peace, through his blood. He is eliminator of alienation, the undoer of enmity, the solution to evil. He reconciles us, raises us to be God's, presenting us holy/blameless. In response, we share good news.
Col. 1:23, "If you hold on, continue." Hold on to faith, hold on to hope, hold on to the gospel, glorious, global. The mysterious is now known. The glorious riches of the gospel are for all. The reflecting, reigning, reconciling one is present in our lives.
Not only so, but our very hope of glory is that Christ is in us, among us, through us.
This we proclaim, for all, admonishing, teaching, seeking wisdom, presenting all in Christ, struggling with total energy from him working in/through us.
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