Sermon – January 22, 2017
Colossians 4:7-18: Gleanings from Greetings (mp3)
We are a church that steadfastly believes that the Bible is God’s word revealed to us. We believe that each word was carefully written and preserved for us by the Holy Spirit. We are stretched by passages like Colossians 4:7-18, as this passage seems so personal and dated that it holds little for us. But this is not so! We can learn much from Paul’s emphases in this section of Colossians.
1. Guard your reputation
Many of us care too much about what people think of us. We are trying desperately to make ourselves seem important and not simply relics of a foregone era. This is wrong, and an error that Christians would do well to avoid. But we must never think that what others think of us is of no importance. Reputation matters, especially within the church.
2. Give your commendation
Often, we are content to give thanks for others’ actions. Such a response to the kindness and service of others is good. But we should do more than just thank the actions of people, but commend them as people. Not just thank them for their generosity, but commend them for being generous; not just thank them for being kind, but commend for being a kind person. We do not wish to just be people who do good things, but more than that, we want to be good people. Let us encourage one another as whole people!
Grow through mediation
When thinking of church growth, many people think of evangelism as the key; others, perhaps in response to shoddy hand-raising, aisle-walking evangelism, think of church growth’s key in solid preaching and teaching. Each of these is correct, but we often underestimate the necessity of prayer in fulfilling the great commission mandate of making disciples. Let us seek the maturing of all believers through our prayers!
3. Glory in unification
We need little reminder that there are “Christian” churches out there that have lost all credible Christian identity. They have denied the Lord either in doctrine or practice. Let our goal never to be just to separate ourselves out from other believers, however. Instead of gloating in our better theology and works, let us boast in our unity and connection through the gospel with Christians world-wide. This helps us humbly recognize our faults and the global nature of the gospel we claim to love.
Our goals as a church are ably summed up in Paul’s desire to present everyone mature in Christ (1:28). We want this for all, so we evangelize. We want it for Christians, so we teach and preach. We want it for ourselves, so we repent and seek forgiveness. We want it for brothers and sisters, so we encourage, pray, and admonish. More than that, we want it for the glory of Christ, who has remade us in his image. Let us live like the new creation we are!