Sermon Notes: Colossians 1:24-25

Colossians 1:24-25

The burden and intent of the instruction contained in these verses is “so that no one will delude you” (2:4), “no one takes you captive,” (2:8), “no one keep[s] defrauding you of your prize” (2:18).

...delude you concerning Christ.

...take you captive to anyone other than Christ.

...defraud you of your prize, which is Christ.

Review: Who is Christ? (1:14-20) The Beloved Son. Our Benevolent King. The Image of the invisible God. The firstborn of all creation. The Creator. The Sustainer. The Head of the Church. The Firstborn from the Dead. The Preeminent One. God Incarnate. Deity indwelling humanity. The God-Man, Crucified for our reconciliation to God.

-This Christ. This is the true Christ, let no one delude you.

-This Christ. This is the true Christ, let no one captivate you.

-This Christ. This is the true Christ, let no one defraud you. Let no one rob you.

    Many thousands of people are sitting in places of worship in NH this morning where Christ is said to be proclaimed, but they are being deluded, captivated, and defrauded, and most don’t even know it. That’s because they admire those who are purporting to minister Christ to them. Those claiming to minister Christ are numerous, but rare, too rare is the place where Christ is proclaimed as He is presented in Scripture. And He is presented in Scripture. From the beginning to the end of this Book, the Bible, Jesus Christ is Chief Subject. And yet vast numbers of people who think of themselves as Bible believing Christians are defrauded of their prize. They have been robbed.

    How do you keep from being robbed? Keep your eye on your prize (3:1-2). But here’s the thing. Your prize is not a physical treasure. Your prize is a person. Yet, this person is not physically present. You cannot set your physical eye upon Him, at least not now.

    So How do you keep your eye on your prize, a Person you cannot see? Answer: By faith in what is revealed about Him in the Bible. Jesus Christ is perfectly and sufficiently and gloriously revealed and knowable in the Word of God. For now, faith is your eye by which you view your prize. For now, your prize is presented to you in words, words given to declare truths, truths about your prize –Christ.

    Col 1:23 reminds us that we were never meant to look at Him one time only in order to be saved. We are to continue looking at Him and to Him by faith. This faith is necessary not only for salvation, but for perseverance (v23).

How is faith in Christ established and sustained and matured? Answer: Preaching/Proclamation (v28).

The vital link between you and your prize is proclamation. If you don’t want to be deluded, if you don’t want to be taken captive, if you don’t want to be defrauded of your prize, mark well the following:

-Who is proclaiming to you.

-What they are proclaiming to you.

-How they are proclaiming to you.

-Why they are proclaiming to you.

    (2:1) “For I want you to know…” Why? Why does Paul want them to know how great a struggle he has on their behalf? “What a vain thing!” Not at all. Be sure that whenever the Holy Spirit Who is the Divine Author of this letter has the human author draw attention to himself it is not for the sake of vanity. It is for our instruction. There is a reason why after we receive this unparalleled proclamation of Christ in 1:15-23 we are directed to consider the calling, occupation, labors, and heart of the apostle Paul.

    The reason is this: the Holy Spirit is deeply concerned about false ministers, men who were persuasive and pithy -πιθανολογίᾳ. (Col 2:4).

This text is primarily about discernment –the church discerning true proclaimers from false. However, there is more for us to examine this morning than the preacher or pastor or teacher.

-Churches proclaim Christ. And they proclaim truly or falsely. Every Church is to proclaim Christ (1 Thess. 1:5-8) In fact this idea is built into a motto that we’ve attached to our name, “An Ordinary Church Proclaiming an Ordinary God.” We as a church are about proclamation.

-Individuals proclaim Christ. And they proclaim Him truly, or falsely. Every Christian, not just the preacher or pastor is to proclaim Christ (1Pet 2:9). That proclamation may not be in the form of exposition or public preaching and teaching. [Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. (Jam 3:1 NAU)]

Nonetheless, every true believer is to be concerned about proclaiming Christ. So while our discernment ought to be especially exercised towards those who teach us, this morning our consideration should broaden to consider questions such as: “Does he fit God’s plan for proclamation?”, “Does that church?”, “Does that Christian?”, “Do I?”, “Does our church?”

So what is God’s plan for the proclamation of His Son? First, let’s consider the identity God’s proclaimers. They are…

  1. (v23) Men (like “Paul” as opposed to angels). 2:18, Gal. 1:8. Are they men? Human? Or to they come across as other worldly. Do not be turned off by the humanness of a man or a church. We are so accustomed to people who are air brushed or presented in complementary lighting and settings that we can take offense at their humanness. The apostle would have been an ugly man at this point with all his scars. The years and toils would have not been good to his body.
  2. (v23, 25) God-made men. God-appointed. Did this man make himself to be what he is or did God make him? Man-made or God-made? How do we know? Answer: Qualifications, gifting, and discernment/commendation of the church (Acts 18:24-28). There are too many self-made men, self-made churches. This is cause for humble reflection and submission. No certificate, no license, no training, no amount of time can make what only God can make and what God alone maintains the prerogative to make. God makes preachers. At the same time, God has made every believer to have a part in the proclamation of Christ (Eph. 4:16). Some don’t like the part they’ve been given and would like someone else’s part. Do you really want their part? If we love the glory of Christ and see how only when each part does its part is He proclaimed, we will rejoice and be content and labor in our part.
  3. (23, 25) Servants. A servant of the church for the church’s benefit. “for your sake…on behalf of His body… which is the church” As a Preacher or teacher I have to ask myself: “Who is this for?” Is this sermon to impress or to proclaim? Is this for the people I actually serve, or for some imaginary audience in my head? Are the people in your heart or they just in the seats? Am I content to discharge my duty and preach an expository sermon or am I at pains in prayer and preparation and preaching to minister Christ to their minds, hearts, and affections? Is this a job? Or is this an act of service to my King on behalf of those He loves dearly to the point of shedding His blood on the cross.

Christian: Did you come to serve this morning? Aren’t you a servant? Or are you a consumer? Honestly. Notice this isn’t “service” in general. God intends to proclaim the glory of His Son through very specific service: servants serving Christ’s Body, which is the Church. People, men and women who do what they do on behalf of the church, the saints. (But what about unbelievers? See vs 27. God ordained that unbelievers would hear and see Christ proclaimed in and through the church).

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