Saturday, March 29, 2014

Colossians Lesson 1 and 2

Lesson 1 and 2 Jesus is LORD of All and The People of Christ-Colossians 1:1-14
During a sermon, a pastor asked a reflective question to the congregation, "And what is a saint?"
 A little boy looked up at the stained glass windows of the apostles and blurted out, "People who let the light shine through!"   Sermon Illustrations,
"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." --Edith Wharton
John 8:12  Jesus said “I am the light of the world.
Matthew 5:14  “You are the light of the world.
Others are watching you. Are you a candle or a mirror?
There are questions about the exact date and place of Paul’s letter. AD 54-57 would suggest Paul was at Ephesus since Epaphras would only travel 80 miles. As the map shows the distance from Rome to Colossae would likely prevent the minister of the church to come to Paul. Lesson one in our commentary shared the troubles plaguing the Colossian church. Three factions were at work.
·        Legalism-Super Christians
·        Paganism-Contemporary Christians
·        Gnosticism- Enlightened Christians-knowing ones
Legalists we know, legalistic Jews were focused on manmade rules and circumcision for salvation.
Pagans may not be in our church but they are in our society. Monday as I stood in line at a store with my mattress cover and sheets, a young Caucasian woman in front of me had two statues of Buddha. I cannot say she was a practicing Buddhist, she said she wanted to set them on her table. She wanted decorations. She may have been searching for something in her live. I read a few teachings of Buddha and some of his teachings are similar to those of Christ. But he was not the son of god merely a man. Buddha died when he was eighty and was cremated. He did not come back and his teachings cannot lead you to heaven.
Gnostics teaching are on page 3 of you books, but basically they do not believe flesh which is evil and spirit which is good can be combined. Therefore Jesus cannot be the Son of God and he is not equal to God.  These teachings make me think of today’s intellectual community, too smart to believe in Jesus, telling us how weak we are for trusting an unseen God.  Gnostics also speak of finding answers from within, sounding like a mixture of Jesus with a side of Zen. BTW there are Gnostic gospels.
But in spite of all of this going on in Colossae, Paul does not deliver a scorching message nor does he argue or try to explain the errors of these three groups. Instead he calls them saints and faithful brothers in Christ. His approach was to encourage them in the actions that were right, to pray for them and to teach them the truth. The word “winsome” is not one we use every day. It means sweetly, innocently charming, winning or engaging manner. Let me sign up for that course.
I have a friend who is like that. Her joy is to reach out to others and share Jesus. Last week she met a lady outside this church, and she promised to bring her a bible. And she did; not one she had at home but a brand new one like she had been given.
Others are watching you. What do they see?
·        Encouragement
·        Reflecting Christ
Paul introduced himself as an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God; this was His authority for writing. He also introduces Timothy as a brother in the faith.
Paul opens with his standard greeting: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. What a beautiful way to start a letter!
v.3 -5 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,5because of the hope
laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,
Ladies I want to be very clear about the gospel.  Starting with Wycliffe dictionary with help from church website I tweaked the definition to bring you my version of “the gospel in a nutshell”
 Jesus Christ is the Son of God; co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life here on earth and offered himself as the perfect and final sacrifice to redeem all the sins of all people. He suffered excruciating pain and a horrible death on a cross. All of our sins were placed on Him and therefore God could not look at sin. (“My God, my God why have you forsaken me?”) Jesus arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His sovereign power over sin and death. He ascended to heaven's glory to sit at the right hand of His Father and now He offers freely to share in His triumph with all who will accept Him as LORD.
The gospel is good news because it is a gift of God, not something that must be earned by penance or by self-improvement. He is coming back to earth again to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Hallelujah!
Ladies do you believe that?
Are you ready for His return?
 If he came tonight would He be coming for you?
Is there anyone that you would want to talk to before Jesus returns?
 Let’s pray right now.
6 the gospel “is bearing fruit and growing”---as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,
Others are watching you. Is your life producing spiritual fruit? Scripture talks about six types of fruit: Most of us are familiar with the Fruit of the Spirit but here are others for you to think about.
(1) Romans 1:13 identifies SOUL-WINNING as a fruit.
(2) Romans 6:22 says HOLINESS is a fruit.
(3) Romans 15:28 calls financial GIVING a fruit.
(4) Galatians 5:22, 23 lists the fruit of the Spirit as LOVE, which results in joy, peace,   longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
 (5) Colossians 1:10 labels GOOD WORKS a fruit.
(6) Hebrews 13:15 names PRAISE as a fruit.
Others are watching you. Is your fruit showing?
Paul reports Epaphras has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
·        Knowledge- Greek word is "gnosis". the accumulation of information or facts
·        Understanding ability to translate meaning from the facts
·        Wisdom is the right use of knowledge.
There is nothing more vital than prayer, fervent, unceasing prayer for those you love. They probably have the knowledge of Jesus, even his death and resurrection. But somewhere along the line they did not understand the significance of Christ death and what it means in their life. God desires us to live in the image of Christ. We can see from the state of the world that that spiritual wisdom and understanding are in short supply.
Paul write to encourage walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
All us bear fruit but is it good fruit? I am very choosy about my fruit. I smell the pineapples; I buy green bananas, and firm tomatoes. Have you ever bitten into a piece of fruit that looked good only to be disappointed by a bitter taste or worse a worm? What could be worse than finding a worm in your apple-half a worm!
Luke 6:43-45 "For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44for each tree is known by its own fruit. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
LORD make my words sweet because I may have to eat them tomorrow.
Others are watching you. What do your actions show? Pray for a pure heart.
We definitely cannot produce good fruit on a day when we are tired or hungry or worried. Ladies we are not expected to do it alone. We have a comforter who reminds us of the character of Christ.
11May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12giving thanks to the Father,
LORD that it what I long to display as your child. I need strength and power of God.
Ladies we have been qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Not by anything we have done or said but only through the grace of God and Jesus shed blood. Thank you Jesus for redeeming me.
As others learn of the peace and joy you have in your life in Christ, they will recognize their need for Him. Your witness through personal testimony may be just what someone is waiting for!
Others are watching you. Give them a smile, show Jesus’ love.
Praise God 13He has delivered us from the domain of darkness
Are you afraid of the dark? I fear what evil hides in the dark. I like my wall white and bright. You don’t have to be depressed, you don’t have to feel alone, throw open the blinds of your home, let His LIGHT in to cheer you and comfort you. Put on some praise and worship music. Call your “Barnabas” the one that encourages you! You are too blessed to be distressed.
God Himself has transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Titus 3:4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,7 so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
What does His kingdom represent to you?
Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."5    And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."
22: Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
2through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
4They will see His face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
5And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Others are watching you! Are you showing them Jesus? Are you a light in the dark world?
Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Let us PRAY