Key Thought: The believers in the church at Colossae were being harassed by those on the outside. Their:
- Beliefs were challenged
- Motives were questioned
- Doctrine was misunderstood
This misunderstanding strained relationships and stoked conflict. The congregants were a bit shaken and disheartened. This situation prompted the leader of this church to reach out to Paul. And Paul’s insight brought much-needed stability to this congregation. One key statement reaffirms the true identity of the believers and is an important reminder to us as we face similar circumstances. He calls these people “God’s chosen people, holy, and dearly loved…” (3:12). In the opening of the letter, Paul calls these people “holy” (1:2). Which fundamentally means that Paul believed that believers’ identity comes not from our horizontal relationships, but rather from our vertical relationship with God, our Father.
- If you are in Christ, you are holy (vs. 1-3).
- You are set apart
- How could Paul call these people holy when he had never met them? Because he knew they were in Christ.
- You are a saint (but not like you are thinking) – Here is what traditional “sainthood involves:
- A bishop launches an investigation of the candidate’s life, and if considered worthy, the candidate has been deemed a “Servant of God.”
- A church official must prove — via documents and testimonies — the candidate lived heroic virtues. Once approved, the candidate is deemed “Venerable.”
- Confirmation of a “miracle” is then required. Five years after Mother Teresa’s death, Pope John Paul II deemed that the curing of a Bengali tribal woman’s abdominal tumor was the result of divine intervention. The woman reportedly had been cured by placing a photo of Mother Teresa on her stomach.
- The process is complete when a second miracle is deemed to have occurred.
Knowing who you deeply affect how you feel about your identity.
2. Because you are a saint, God has a plan for you.
- Your vocation in Christ is connected to your identity in Christ. Paul earnestly believed the believers in this church can do some things (even as they faced questions about their identity) (1:4-14):
- You can know God’s will (with wisdom and understanding) (1:9)
- You can please God by
- Good works (v. 10)
- Growing knowledge (v. 10)
- Along the way- God will strengthen you as you participate in this work (v. 11)
- Don’t forget to give thanks (v. 12)
- You are rescued into a new Kingdom (vs. 13-14).
- Not obvious because it is not fully realized.
- Fill out your new Saint License
- I am a Saint
- I am authorized to know God and Do good works.
- I belong in the Kingdom of light
Table Talk Card
- Do you have a driver’s license, student ID, library card, or passport? What do these documents allow you to do? Name some places you can go because you have these documents.
- Have you ever lost your ID or Driver’s license? What did that feel like?
- Did you know if you are a Christ follower- the Bible calls you a saint- or a person set apart for a particular purpose? Remember a time when you had lost sight of that?
- What purpose do you think God has laid out before you?
- Talk about some good works you can do this week in your neighborhood or school.
TALK IT OUT:
- When this letter was written to the church in Colossae, Colossian believers were shaken and disheartened. Paul, the writer, encouraged them to remember that they were: “God’s holy people” (1:2) and “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” (3:12). Pastor Rusty reminds us that our identity as believers comes not from our horizontal relationships, but from our vertical relationship with God, our Father. How can focusing on our relationship with God encourage us during challenging times?
- Pastor Rusty asks how Paul could call these people holy, although he had never met them. He says it was because they were in Christ. How can knowing we are in Christ change our perspective?
- Believers are saints, though not in the traditional sense. We are saints because we have been set apart by God. Knowing who we are deeply affecting how we feel about our identity. What are the practical implications of the fact that we have been set apart by God?
- Because we are saints, God has a plan for us. We can know God’s will with wisdom and understanding (1:9). We can also please God by our good works (10). How can knowing God’s will and pleasing God with our good works go hand in hand?
- Pastor Rusty observes that God strengthens us as we participate in His work (11). How has God strengthened you in the past as you’ve served Him?
- When we understand these things, we are encouraged to give “Joyful thanks to the Father.” List some reasons Paul may have encouraged the Colossian believers to thank God.
- Pastor Rusty points out that we have been rescued into a new kingdom (13-14). However, this is not completely obvious because this new kingdom isn’t fully realized. Why is it important to realize we are ultimately working for God’s kingdom and not merely for the physical world we readily see around us?
LIVE IT OUT
- Take a moment and fill out your new “Saint License.” You’re Saint ___________.
- Thank God He has made you a saint.
- Thank God you’ve been given the right to know Him and do His good works.
- You belong in the Kingdom of light. List some things God wants you to do as a saint.
- Thank God He has equipped you to make an eternal difference in His Kingdom.