Philemon and Colossians 4

After reviewing Paul's final greetings in his letter to the Colossian Church where he singles out Onesimus for encouragement, we launch into a quick study of the letter to Philemon to read the rest of the story. 

Colossians 1:19-22 God Writes Himself Into Our Story

The incarnation is celebrated at Christmas, but few appreciate the full significance of God's intervention in our lives. Using a Christmas theme, this sermon examines:

  1. Long Lay the World in Sin and Error Pining
  2. Till He Appeared
  3. And the Soul Felt Its Worth

Colossians 4:2-6 Tidewater Night of Prayer

Our Tidewater Region took Colossians 4:2-6 as an opportunity to hold a night of prayer. Listen in and have your own personal time of prayer!

Colossians 3:22-4:1 Let's Go To Work

As Paul asserts in Colossians 3:17, "whatever you do, in word or work, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus," he now trains his sights more specifically on the everyday work life of slaves and masters. This prompts a deeper study into work for this sermon.  If we don't serve Jesus in our work, we can fall into the Error of the IDLE or even the Terror of the IDOL. The sermon concludes with a look at the Dignity of the IDEAL. Colossians 3:22-4:1

Colossians 3:12-17 Chosen to Dress Out

Paul depicts our conversion in Christ with a sartorial metaphor. We put off the old self in the flesh and put on Christ as chosen, holy, and dearly loved children of God. Colossians 3:12-17

Colossians 3:5-11 Sin Through the Eyes of a Gracious God

Paul describes sin through the eyes of a gracious God to the Colossians and to us. He considers their impurity, idolatry, and the attendant wrath of God as he likewise describes how we are Made New through the work of Jesus. A study of Colossians 3:5-11

Colossians 2:16-3:4 Bound for Glory

It may seem faster to tackle sensual indulgence through extra measures of discipline and asceticism, but Paul warns the Colossians that such an approach lacks any value in restraining sensual indulgence. So what's the solution? The Gospel. Paul calls the Colossians to set their sights and desires to a bigger "yes," to a grander sensation that is theirs (and ours) in Christ. Break the cycle of "pænitentia" through this Gospel message in Colossians 2:16-3:4.

Colossians 2:8-15 Paid in Full

Paul protects the Colossian Church from the empty deceit of vogue philosophy (perhaps mixed with Judaizing demands) by pointing back t0 Jesus, the real fullness of Deity who has paid our debts in full. Colossians 2:8-15 (try mousing over the Scripture reference)

Colossians 2:8-15 Good Enough

Colossians 2:1-7 Do Not Be Deceived

Colossians 2:1-8 Seven Marks of a Healthy Church

While Paul has not personally met the church in Colossae (or Laodicea), he has heard about them from his friend Epaphras. As a result, Paul begins to contend fiercely for these churches in prayer. He also sends them this letter in which delineates these seven marks of a healthy church. 

I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
— Colossians 2:1-8

Colossians 1:24-29 The Man in the Arena

Paul, suffering for the Church, rejoices that he aligns himself with Christ's suffering for the Church. He also marvels that he may reveal the great mystery of Christ, namely Christ in you — even to Gentiles. Such good news drives him to strive to make this known to all. 

Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.
— Colossians 1:24-29

Colossians 1:15-23 He's Kind of a Big Deal

Paul invokes a hymn of high Christology to safeguard the Colossian Church against encroaching heresy. 

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
— Colossians 1:15-23

Colossians 1:1-14 Truly Understand the Gospel of Grace

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.  We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. And 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, so as to 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; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
— Colossians 1:1-14

 A Letter to Charles Fuller:

Some years ago radio evangelist Charles E. Fuller announced that he would speak the following Sunday on "Heaven".  It was to be broadcast on radio. During that week he received a letter from an old man who was very ill.  Here is part of that letter:

"Next Sunday you are to talk about "Heaven".  I am interested in that land because I have held a clear title to a bit of property there for over 55 years.  I did not buy it.  It was given to me without money and without price.  But the donor purchased it for me at a tremendous sacrifice.  I am not holding it for speculation since the title is nontransferable.  It is not a vacant lot.

"For more than a half-century I have been sending material out of which the greatest architect and builder of the universe has been building a home for me, which will never need to be repaired because it will suit me perfectly, individually, and will never grow old.

"Termites can never undermine its foundation for it rests upon the Rock of Ages.  Fire cannot destroy it.  Floods cannot wash it away.  No locks or bolts will ever be placed upon its doors, for no vicious person can ever enter that land where my dwelling stands, now almost completed and ready for me to enter it and abide in peace eternally without fear of being ejected.

"There is a valley of deep shadow between the place where I live in California and that to which I shall journey in a very short time.  I cannot reach my home in the City of God without passing through the dark valley of shadows.  But I am not afraid, because the best friend that I have ever had went through the same valley alone, a long, long, time ago and drove away all the gloom.  He has stuck by me through thick and thin since we first met and became acquainted 55 years ago, and I hold His promise in printed form, never to forsake nor to leave me alone.  He will be with me as I walk through the valley of shadows, and I shall not lose my way when He is with me.

"I hope to hear your sermon on "Heaven" next Sunday from my home, but I have no assurance that I shall be able to do so.  My ticket to heaven has no date marked for the journey...no return coupon...and no permit for baggage.  Yes, I am ready to go and may not be here while you are talking next Sunday, but I shall meet you there some day."