Sermon Series - ColossiansColossians 2 is a difficult passage to interpret. The main reason is that Paul is dealing with some false teachings but he never bothers to explain to us what the main tenets of those teachings were. We are left with the gigantic task of trying to understand some rather difficult concepts based on a few rare words and some sentences that are not as clear to us as they were to Paul’s original hearers.

It seems as though some teachers were enticing the believers at Colossae to channel some additional source of power, like angels and other so-called emanations of God to become fully mature in their faith. In addition to that, they were probably being required to engage in certain disciplines to force the body into a state of humiliation and some other regulations apparently were being imposed on them. The end result was that Christ was no longer sufficient to their salvation; it was Christ+.

While we may be living in different times, there is no doubt in my mind that we are also being bombarded with ideas today that if we are not careful will end up sabotaging our faith and selling us a version of the gospel that is contrary to the proper view of Scriptures where Christ is at the center and He is all in all. Here is my initial list of faith sabotadeuers:

  • Studying about the Bible instead of studying the Bible. Across this great nation there are many churches serving a steady diet of popular Christian authors who have written fine Christian books. While I don’t deny the validity of reading these books for perspective and personal development, I lament the fact they have essentially replaced the Bible as the main text book in our churches. Sunday school teachers, for example have lost the ability to teach from the scriptural text. Many wouldn’t even know where to start if all they had was the Bible. It’s time for us to reverse that trend.
  • Confusing the written Word with the Living Word. While I believe firmly in the primacy of Scriptures for instruction in our lives and churches, don’t think for a moment that I am some kind of a “bibliolater.” I don’t worship the Bible, I worship the Lord of the Bible. In the orthodox wars of the late 30’s, when the Grace Brethren movement was found, the motto “the Bible, the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible” was appropriately picked as our guiding principle. Is it time now that we pick something like “Jesus, All of Jesus, and nothing but Jesus.”?
  • Thinking that you can be a follower without being on mission. Jesus told His first disciples: “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” In the great commission Jesus gave the marching orders for His church. Every follower must be involved with some aspect of the mandate to make disciples of all nations and it’s not simply “pray, give or go.” It’s “pray, give AND go,” every day, as long as we live on this earth, because the seeds of the gospel can be planted across the sea and across the fence. Any teacher who tries to give you a pass on the great commission is leading you astray.
  • Believing that church is for believers only. The first mistake here is to think that “church” is a building. Nice try. Church is a gathering of those who have professed their allegiances to Christ. And we have already established that our main mission is Christ’s great commission. We point to the early church and insist that it was a gathering of believers, sharing, breaking bread together, studying God’s Word, praying. But we conveniently forget that the text also says that “…the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47). 

May God help all of us to remain firmly rooted in Jesus Christ and continue to be on mission for the cause of the Gospel.

 

 

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA 

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