This Sunday I will be preaching an overview of Colossians as we begin our study of the book. My goal is to help our church see Colossians from the air. From 30,000 feet!
I wrestled with whether or not to give an overview sermon or just to jump in. Part of the reason for my wrestling is that most “overview” sermons I’ve heard are cold and academic. The deal heavily with authorship, setting, date, and other important issues. But I’ve always felt that information like that, while important, is best dispensed in detail in other settings. Just my opinion!
Yet despite my reservations, I’ve decided to proceed with an overview. But instead of dealing in detail with introductory issues, I am instead planning to focus on 3 main burdens of the book of Colossians. Paul is writing to a groups of Christians living in a religious melting pot, much like our own situation.
Living in such a melting pot poses certain threats and temptations to maintaining and cultivating our faith in the crucified and risen Christ. The temptation for them, as for us, is to forget the Christ to whom they are united, and by whom they are saved, and to fall for the empty pseudo-saviors peddled by the world.
So Paul pens this letter to a church he didn’t plant to overwhelm them with a vision for the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ, to call them to resist the empty substitutes for Christ, and to teach to walk in union with Christ. Below I want list these three headings and cite a few scriptures for each.
In Colossians, Paul is calling us:
1. To be Overwhelmed by the Supremacy and Sufficiency of Christ
Colossians 1:14 – in [Christ] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:15-20 – He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Colossians 1:22 – [Christ] has now reconciled [you] in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
Colossians 1:27 – Paul sums up mystery of Gospel as Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Colossians 2:3 in [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge
2. To Resist the Empty Substitutes for Christ
Colossians 2:8-10 – See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
Colossians 2:16-17 – Therefore let no one pass judgment on youin questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
Colossians 2:18-19 – Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
3. To Learn to Walk in Union with Christ
Colossians 2:6 -Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
Colossians 3:1-3 – If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God
Colossians 3:5 – Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…
Colossians 3:12 – Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…