Marks Of a True Church

TEXT: Colossians 2:1-10

I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In Him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong. And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the Head over every ruler and authority.

INTRODUCTION

Paul has an agonizing burden for the churches at Colosse and Laodicea. They are both under attack. They are caught in a fierce battle but it is not a flesh and blood battle. No bullets, no swords, arrows, tanks, missiles, that sort of thing. The battle is for truth. They are being assaulted by misinformation, propaganda and heresies. They were fighting the same battle we are engaged in presently, a battle for truth. Paul writes to encourage and enlighten them.

TRANSITION

How do we as a church win this battle for truth?

FIRST OF ALL–WE MUCT FACE THE ENEMY WITH COURAGE

 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. [Colossians 2:2]

Paul addressed these churches as a Commander would address the troops before a great battle. One of my favorite movies is Brave Heart and I love the speech that William Wallace makes when the Scotts are about to leave the battle field before the battle. He rallied the troops. Had it not been for his leadership, they would have went home. You cannot win a battle if your troops are discouraged. The first thing that a Christian Soldier should learn in this battle for truth is the truth about discouragement.

  • Not once is scripture does God discourage His people; not one time. The LORD said to Joshua [1:9], “Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you where ever you go.” This is God’s word to His troops.
  • If God does not discourage: who does? We must always…I repeat, always realize that discouragement comes from the devil. If you are a worker in the LORD’s vineyard, you can expect people to say discouraging things to you but you must realize that the devil is using them. He is behind all discouragement. You can deal with discouragement once you identify the source.
  • Why would the devil discourage? His strategy is simple, “discouragement leads to defeat.”

SECONDLY–YOU MUST STICK TOGETHER

“We have to be knit together in strong ties of love.” {verse 2}

  • Personally, I think the lack of unity is the primary reason for our failure and I am talking about us personally. Some churches are unified and they are standing firm against the enemy. We are not together. We have too many agenda’s. The key to victory is simple but at the same time very difficult. If we can get all members to come under the authority of the HEAD [verse 10].
  • We must follow Christ as LORD [verse 6]. If every member submits to the LORDSHIP of Christ, you have UNITY. When every member does as they please and that includes worship attendance, you have anarchy.
  • Jesus said, “By this all men shall know that you are My disciples if you have love one for another.” Our strength is in being knit together by love.
  • Another favorite movie of mine is the Gladiator. When Maximus and the others are put into the area to face the wild beast, he tells them, “Stay together, our strength is in our unity.” Some of the men do not listen and are devoured by the beast but then they realized that Maximus knew what he was doing and they all came together and won a great victory.
  • First, the devil likes to discourage but if that doesn’t work, he will divide.

THIRD–WE HAVE TO BE ARMED WITH TRUTH

 In Him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. [Colossians 2:3]

  • The first piece of armor mentioned in Ephesians 6 is TRUTH.
  • We are to be girted with truth. Truth is the belt that supports not only the body of the soldier but also his weapons.
  • The Truth is: God’s Mystery is Christ who is the hope of all mankind, both Jew and Gentile. This truth was hidden from the Jews as a whole although some of the prophets understood.
  • Christ is the TRUTH. In Him lie all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In a battle for TRUTH, Knowledge is a key.
  • Our victory is in Jesus–Only by knowing the truth in Christ can we stand against error, heresy, lies and false doctrine. [verses 4-5]

FOURTH–WE MUST CONTINUE TO FOLLOW JESUS AS LORD

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. [Colossians 2:6]

  • This calls for purity–no duplicity, no hidden agenda.
  • This calls for action. Jesus is not passive, to follow Him, we cannot be passive.
  • This calls for passion. Our motivation for following Him is love.

FIFTH–WE MUST BE ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN TRUTH {JESUS}

  • Rooted like a tree: deep, firm, unseen from the surface.
  • Grounded like the solid foundation of a building.

SIXTH–WE MUST OVERFLOW WITH TAHNKSGIVING

 Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. [Colossians 2:7]

  • Thanksgiving regulates our attitude. Ungrateful people have a bad attitude.
  • Ungrateful people either do not understand grace or they need a refresher course. We have to be thankful to dispense grace to others.

SEVENTH–WE MUST NOT GET CAPTURED

 “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” [Colossians 2:8]

  • We can’t win if we are prisoners of war.
  • I visited a couple last winter and the woman told me that they devil had been keeping them out of church. She will not win the victory because she has been captured and captivated by the enemy. The woman is not a devil, she is not a vile person but she is ignorant. The devil has no power over the human will. Nothing is scripture teaches that he can come into a life and totally captivate a person without their permission. While I was there, she talked more about devils and demons than she did Jesus.
  • I do believe in the devil and demons but that is not the reason she is not in church. She is not in church because she has not activated her will against the will of Satan. She can do it; she has this power but by not knowing the truth she has been captured and captivated by the enemy.
  • If you make more of anything other than Jesus, you are going to get captured. Some are captured by sports; some by recreation, some by their work, some by money, some by sex, some by pleasure. The devil does not care what it is so long as it is not Jesus.

EIGHT–WE MUST STAY IN CHRIST

 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the Head over every ruler and authority. {2:10}

  • The word “Complete” is another military term, it means to be completely equipped, armed for battle.
  • Christ is not only our AUTHORITY [Commander and Chief], He is our armor and our shield [protection].
  • Remember the story of the disciples caught in a storm with Jesus asleep at the bow. I love the hymn based on this story, “Peace, Be Still.”

The winds and the waves
shall obey my will, peace be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea
or demons, or men, or whatever it be.
No water can swallow the ship where lies
the Master of ocean and earth and skies;
they shall sweetly obey my will,
peace be still, peace be still.

CONCLUSION

You stay in the boat with Jesus and you are not going down. The key to victory is to abide in Christ.

 

 

 

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