The Gospel

Colossians 1:1-8, NLT

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sistersin Christ. May God our Father give you grace and peace.We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News. This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace. You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf. He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.
 

Introduction

 
Paul has never visited Colosse. The church was planted by Paul’s associate Epaphras. The church is located in the Lycus Valley and is very near Laodicea. Epaphras was a beloved and humble servant of Christ. His name means lovely. He is Paul’s fellow servant and Helpful associate. He founded the Church at Colosse. He was faithful and a giant in prayer. He legacy was that he was a man of prayer: spent a lot of time in secret, wrestled fervently in prayer. When you add it all up he was: [1] Helpful [2] Useful [3] Faithful [4] Prayerful.
After the brief greeting in 1:1-2, Paul said, “We give thanks” and in the following verses of the above text you can see that Paul is thankful for many things but primarily the GOSPEL [Good News]. In this passage, I believe the Gospel is the common link.
 
I. FIRST AND FOREMOST, IT IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
  1. If you will look at verses 1-4, you will notice that they emphasis is on Jesus Christ.
  2. Paul was chosen and sent by the will of God to be an apostle for Jesus Christ. [v.1]
  3. The only Gospel Paul knew was that of Jesus Christ
  4. Paul addresses this letter to believers in Jesus Christ [v.2]
  5. Paul give thanks to Jesus Christ and considers Him equal to the Father [v.3]
  6. Paul had heard of their faith in Jesus Christ and love for each other. [v.4]
II. IT IS A GOSPEL OF HOPE
 
Quote: Hope is the certainly that in spite of the worlds’s present power, influence and standards, God’s will and purpose will be accomplished and He will  have the final word. ~C.F. Moule
 
James Russell Lowell…..”The Present Crisis”……Tho the cause of evil prosper…yet tis truth a lone is strong. Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne: Yet the scaffold sways the future and behind the dim unknown, standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.
 
Hope is a weak word in our culture because we have been pampered by prosperity. We are soft and presumptuous. We know very little about difficulty and hard times. The Israelites in Egypt were the same way until there arose a Pharaoh who did not know Joseph [Christ] and then he made life a living hell for the Israelites and then they began to hope for deliverance. We have a Pharaoh who does not know Joseph [Christ] and he will persecute the church. If we had been persecuted like the Eastern world, we would lay hold of our hope and we would think about heaven.
 
William Barclay says, “The Christian HOPE is the certainty that it is better to suffer for Christ than to become friends with this world.” This is exactly what Moses did…as detailed in Hebrews 11 “ It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.”
 
III. IT IS THE GOSPEL OF TRUTH [v.5]
 
The Gospel of Truth transforms: a street preacher who had drawn a nice crowd was telling the story of Jesus turning water into wine when a heckler from the crowd began making fun. “Jesus could not change water into wine, where did you come up with this fiction?” The preachers daughter was with him and she went straight to heckler and said, “Jesus can turn water into wine, I know He can. I have seen Him turn wine into food and furniture.” Her daddy was a hopeless drunk until he met Jesus. Jesus transformed this drunk into a good daddy who put food on the table and furniture in the rooms.  This Child knew that Jesus could transform the ordinary life into one of abundant joy.
 
IV. IT IS A GOSPEL FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD [V.6]
  • A persons I.Q. determines what studies they pursue
  • A person social status determines the circles they move in
  • A persons wealth determines the opportunities they have
  • A persons natural gifts and abilities determine what they will achieve
  • BUT the gospel is for everyone
The Colossian Heresy was a thing called Gnosticism which comes from the Greek word for knowledge. Gnosticism was very complex and highly sophisticated, it was what they define as “Esoteric” knowledge. Esoteric means for the intellectual few, for the exceptionally bright but not for everyone. You can see that Gnosticism was anti-gospel because the gospel is for everyone, no hidden passwords, no intellectual hoops to jump through. The gospel is so simple that a child can become a Christian.
Gnosticism was an elaborate and intellectual religion that was for the chosen few [frozen few] and it created a religious aristocracy. It’s coming back today but under a new name…I think they call it Reform Theology and it is highly intellectual and for the chosen few. It is not the true gospel.
 
V. IT IS THE GOSPEL OF GRACE [v.6b]
  1. GRACE is God Riches At Christ Expense.
  2. GRACE is blessedness enjoyed by one who is favored by a superior [like subject before a king]
  3. GRACE is always accompanied by peace but grace comes first always. If you don’t experience Grace, you will not have peace.
  4. GRACE is a spiritual blessing that comes by knowing Christ. Grace and Peace are found only in Jesus.
 Conclusion
 
The Gospel is the good news and it is to be shared. It is never diminished by being given away. The more the gospel is shared, the more powerful it becomes. At first, the church was predominately Jewish but that changed quickly. By the time John wrote his gospel there were 100,000 gentiles to every Jew in the N.T. Church. Yet for the first few years, the gospel was contained in the church in Jerusalem but persecution scattered believers like embers from a fire. All of the Apostles eventually left Jerusalem and became Missionaries. Peter, Phillip and Paul went to Asia and Eastern Europe. Andrew ventured further East to Turkey. Matthew went South to North Africa. Mark went to Egypt where the church he found still exist and has been persecuted by the Muslims in recent months. Thomas went to India, Luke to Greece and Simon the Zealot all the way to Great Britain. As you well know, the church in Jerusalem had a very brief history, in the neighborhood of 40 years. If the church had refused to move beyond Jerusalem, Titus would have destroyed it in 70 A.D. Thank God for Missions and Missionaries!
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