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Under Pressure

Sermon Notes

Col. 1,2: 1-23

Key Thought: The believers inside the Church of Colossae felt pressure from the outside to behave in certain ways. There were two sources of this opposition. One was from mystical polytheism, and the other was from Judaizers trying to get the new Christians to follow the calendar and regulations of the Old Testament Law. These cultural forces presented a counterfeited vision of what the church should be, a people entirely devoted to Christ.

Key Question:

Do you see political issues and political pressures taking a larger role in the mission of the church?

Paul’s Solution:

Christ is the standard for what we do.

Christ is the source of all that we need.

Supporting Points:

  1. There were three counterfeit teachings that were taking root:
    • Legalism (more religion), (2:16-17)
    • Angel worship (more special revelations) (2:18)
    • Asceticism (less pleasure), (1:20-23)
  2. Paul calls these other systems- (2:8)
    • Hollow (not sturdy or long-lasting)
    • Deceptive (over-promising, under-delivering)
    • Dependent upon human traditions (completely reliant on human ideas and intuition)
  3. Christ is sufficient because He (1:11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 26)
    • Can strengthen believers by his glorious might (1:11)
    • Qualifies us to share in an eternal inheritance (1:12)
    • Rescues us from the dominion of darkness (1:13)
    • Is the image of the invisible God (1:15)
    • Created all things (1:16)
    • Holds all things together (1:18)
    • Is the revealed mystery of God Himself (1:26)

No wonder Paul says the following:

“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” (2:1-2)

  • How do we keep Christ at the center (2:8)?
    • Continue the following:
      • Rooted in (draw nourishment from Christ)
      • Built up (Gain confidence and integrity in Christ)
      • Strengthen in the faith as you were taught (Put into practice what you already know)
      • Here is how one writer states this reality: “To be a Christian is to live one’s life not merely in obedience to God, nor merely in dependence on God, nor even merely for the sake of God; it is to stand in conscious, reciprocal fellowship with God, to be identified with him in thought and purpose and work, to receive from him and give back to him in the ceaseless interplay of spiritual forces.” (Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation, 186)

Application:

As you are watching the news this week- look for ways that worldly philosophies or other non-Christ-centered religious influences impact the church.

Discussion Questions

TALK IT OUT: 

  1. The Church of Colossae was under pressure. One group exerted pressure on it to move toward mystical polytheism, while another, the Judaizers, tried to get new Christians to follow the calendar and regulations of the Old Testament law. Pastor Rusty observes both groups presented a counterfeit vision of what the church should be— a people entirely devoted to Christ. How can being fully dedicated to Christ keep us from being distracted by lesser bad things?  
  1. As political issues and pressures take a more significant role in many churches, the Apostle Paul reminds us: 1) Christ is the standard for what we do, and 2) Christ is the source for all we need. What does it mean to keep Christ as the center and source of our lives?  
  1. Pastor Rusty points out three counterfeit teachings which were prevalent when Colossians was written: 1) Legalism, more religion, and rules (2:16-17); 2) Angel worship, more special revelations (2:18); 3) Asceticism, less pleasure (1:20-23). In 2:8, the Apostle Paul describes these as hollow, deceptive, and dependent on human traditions. Why do people often resort to things which don’t satisfy and reject Christ, who can fully satisfy our searching hearts?  
  1. Christ is sufficient and He: 1) Strengthens believers by his might (1:11),  2) Qualifies us to share in an eternal inheritance (1:12), 3) Rescues us from the dominion of darkness (1:13), 4) Is the image of the invisible God (1:15), 5) Created all things (1:16), 6) Holds all things together (1:18), 7) Is the revealed mystery of God Himself (1:26). Take a moment and reflect on the hope which comes from each assurance of Christ sufficiency.  
  1. Pastor Rusty asks how we can keep Christ as our center (2:8)? He suggests it is by 1) Being rooted in Christ and drawing nourishment from Him. 2) Being built up as we gain confidence and integrity in Christ. 3) Strengthening our faith as we apply what we already know. Which of these is the biggest challenge for you? Why? 

LIVE IT OUT 

  • As you watch the news this week – look for ways that worldly philosophies or other non-Christ-centered religious influences impact the church.  
  • Ask God to help you identify and guard against the “worldly influences” which have the potential to weaken your faith.  
  • Ask God to help you remain centered on Christ so you can grow in your relationship with Him and develop into the person He wants you to become.

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