Title: A Pastor’s Plea
Text: Colossians 2.6-2.15
CPT: As you received Christ, so walk in him. Watch out for those who would lead you astray to follow deceptive human traditions. Christ has set you free from all of that through his work on the cross.
CPS: Let us continue to walk in the same manner in which we came to Christ. We have a new life in Christ because of what he has accomplished in saving us and he has given us victory over the powers that threaten to entrap us through following the traditions of men.
Introduction: I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed, when I was younger, how I began a journey. Nor, am I sure that I noticed how the start effected my progress. I know now that I’m older and wiser to begin my journey with the car ready. Don’t travel on bad tires. Make sure the oil has been changed and the fluids are topped off and in good working order. I know this because I’ve changed the tire on a van beside the freeway on a hot summer day! I know this because I got going and realized I didn’t have something I needed.
On the other hand, when steps are in working order and plans have been made and outlined, your journey tends to go smoother. That means making contingent plans for when other, unexpected bumps in the road occur.
I think that is what Paul has in mind as he transitions from a deep theological statement of Christ – the foundation for our faith – into a plea for the Colossians to continue walking in the firm foundation of faith in which they started. 1.15, 19; 2.9. Paul then says that Christ, who is God, established the world and the church; 1.18a; And, having done that work, Christ had now reconciled them (the Colossians) and brought them into a relationship with God, the Father, through him.
In 1.24-2.5, the text from last week, Paul informed the Colossians that his passion, his pursuit, was the proclamation of this gospel that brought them reconciliation – this good news. And he ends the little passage with this statement of warning in 2.4f: that no one may delude you and 2nd, I can’t be there to protect you.
But you know something big is coming in what he has to say because he says, “Therefore”.
Summary: Jesus is God in the flesh. He created all things (and sustains all things) – even the church, of which He is the Head. And he brought you into His Church, reconciling you into His Body through faith in Him. Therefore, and Paul makes his plea to them…
I’ve outlined this next portion of the text into two sermons (Part I & Part II). Today’s message will take on the portion of the plea as it comes from a pastor’s heart: 1st,
I. A Pastor’s Plea is for his people to continue to walk in the faith, just as they’ve received that faith (6f)
exp.: rd 2.6f; Paul describes that journey to faith with these prepositional phrases (in him; with him); v6, 7, 10, 11, 12 (2x), 13, 15; next, Paul uses imagery to describe the action of the coming to faith and of their walk; 1st three participles describe the action of ‘walking’ in him; When you first read them you might think that Paul is mixing up his metaphors – going from a plant (rooted) to a building (built up).
Ill.: mixed metaphors
- We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.
- Trying to thread a needle with a haystack.
- Half of one, six dozen of another.
- Robbing Peter to pay the piper.
- Burning the midnight oil at both ends
- It’s not exactly Rocket Surgery
- Don’t beat a dead horse in the mouth
But, Paul isn’t doing that here. In each of these metaphors he describes the Temple – the Body of Christ. Indeed, that is exactly what Paul does in 1 Corinthians 3, where he describes God’s people as God’s Temple.
- Like a tree: pft, pass; a present state based upon a past action; passive means it wasn’t their doing, but that of someone else; Firmly rooted in Christ; if not, easily uprooted in a storm;
- Like a house: Built upon a firm foundation; if not, easily destroyed in a storm;
- Established in the faith; just as you were taught; that is to say, continue in how you began
- Abounding in thanksgiving;
ill.: I got me some tomato plants and planted them recently. Last year, I started with one plant. It died. This year, I started with 8. I thought my chances of something surviving might go up. So far, I’ve only killed two plants. I’ve got a couple of plants looking pretty good. A couple of others…. Not so good. I’m quickly losing hope in the rest.
app.: Here’s my problem – and I know what it is: I didn’t start off very well. The truth is, I need someone who knows about this stuff to help me start off correctly.
t.s.: here are two simple words you can write in the column of your Bible – Command: Walk, #2
II. A Pastor’s Plea is seeded out of his concern for those who would lead his people astray
exp.: rd 2.8; watch out! That no one carries you off as a spoil of war! POW! Now, this sentence is a hard sentence to translate. Most translations work on a literal, word for word translation. And I honestly like that. But, sometimes, word for word in the original language doesn’t make sense. And I find that here in this verse. You NIV users, well, the NIV translates the thought. That’s not always good – and to be quite honest, sometimes that is bad – because they miss the thought. But in this case, I think the NIV nails it. Rd 2.8b; See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, but technically, it should be translated: See to it that no one takes you captive by empty and deceitful philosophy, according to human tradition…
- Empty and Deceitful Philosophy or Philosophy that is empty and deceitful; not all philosophy is bad. There are philosophers who are solid. There is philosophy that is solid. But here, Paul says that there are those who come in and kidnap many in the church with a philosophy that is empty and deceitful.
The 2nd part of this sentence continues: according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world…
- According to Human tradition, that is to say, those things which are Elementary or basic spirits (principles, forces) of the world
- And not according to Christ. Christ isn’t simple or basic. Look at 2.3 – in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge).
app.: So, walk in him – in his wisdom and insight and knowledge. Don’t get conned by those who would attempt to kidnap you with their empty and deceitful philosophy.
t.s.: Here are two more words to write in the column of your Bible – Concern: Watch out; #3
III. A Pastor’s Plea stems from the power of the gospel to transform lives – (9-12)
exp.: rd 2.9; remember, he is God; 2.10; he, who is God and all powerful, has filled you; 2.11a; circumcision – Humm, sounds like we’re hearing some of the empty philosophy and deceitfulness coming from those false teachers. Sounds like they’re trying to make these Christians Jewish, before they can be truly Christians. Rd 2.11b; Putting off the body of flesh; Paul employees some terminology that will be repeated quite a bit over the next few paragraphs. This term means to strip away or to strip off; think of undressing. And, redressing; rd the rest of 11-12; You were buried with him in baptism – the old you has died – that’s why you buried him/her; that rascal no longer lives, but a new you lives; rd 12b; this is saying that the same powerful spirit who raised Jesus from the dead has also entered into your body and powerfully raised your dead spirit from the dead – making you powerfully alive in Christ. That’s powerful!
ill.: you guys remember the times before technology made some powerful advancements? Do you remember getting in your car and turning the engine over and all it did was go… (make slow engine noise); that’s because there was no power – your battery was dead.
app.: But you don’t have to live your life that way! You are firmly rooted, built up in Christ and established because of the power and the presence of God at work in you!
t.s.: If you’ve been writing in the column of your Bible, here are a couple of more words. Cause: Power of the Gospel – your walk is by the power of the Gospel. #4
IV. A Pastor’s Plea blossoms into victory in the lives of believers because Christ is victorious. (13-15)
exp.: rd 2.13-15; you are no longer the same! Yes, you once were that way – but no more!
ill.: this is probably Satan’s greatest tools against believers. He is always reminding us of how we don’t deserve God’s grace because we’ve been bad. He quotes the 1st part of 13 to us: And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh… And he’s right – to a point. That’s what he does, he takes partial truths and builds lies from them. That’s what makes them so believable.
app.: When he does, that’s when you say, “Yes, that’s true, but…” and then quote the rest of this verse, “but God made me alive in Christ! He cancelled the debt that I owed! He took care of my legal matters through Christ, who paid my debt for me.” You see in v 15 there – that he was victorious over them, making it possible for us to live in victory!
t.s.: last set of words for the column of your Bible – Call: to Victory – live the winning life.
“The Storm on our Shores”, Mark Obmascik, pg. 154-155; (great read) “The Battle of the Pips” – July 26th, 1943; maybe some of you remember it? The Japanese had landed on the island of Kiska and stationed some 6,000 soldiers there. The US had prepared and was sending some 35,000 soldiers and sailors to take back the Aleutian Island, some 500 miles west of Alaska.
The Soldiers on Attu, the last island in the Aleutians, had defeated the Japanese there and were loaded up on ships and sent to Kiska. However, at some point in their journey, intelligence reports came in that 7 Japanese ships were headed their way from Paramushiro. Admiral Kinkaid did not want to be surprised by an attack from the rear. So, he ordered those ships to turn around and engage the Japanese.
Just after midnight, on the 26th of July, multiple US ships located 7 blips on their radar. The US fleet navigated to the west side of the island to engage the Japanese. The soldiers and sailors prepared for battle. This battle for Kiska would begin at sea.
Five US Ships launched a barrage of artillery in an attempt to sink the Japanese ships. Guns roared at a range of 8-12 miles. Each 14-inch gun weighted 180,000 pounds. It required a quarter ton of propellant to blast a 1,400-pound projectile up to 13 miles. Even after firing 518 rounds from big guns, and 487 shells from the 8-inch guns, the radars still showed seven pips. There were no explosions or any other evidence that the enemy had been hit. On radar, the targets still moved. More shots yielded no change. After a half hour of fury, the guns were silenced. The seven pips linked on the radar, then disappeared.
At sunrise the American fleet and warplanes scoured the area for crippled and destroyed ships. They found nothing – no flotsam, no oil slicks, no lifeboats.
As it would turn out, a post-war investigation found that there were no Japanese ships within 200 miles of that area. It all remained a mystery for many years, until someone discovered that there is a group of birds, sooty shearwaters that migrate through the Aleutians every year. These birds are so large in number, that they actually appear on radar as ships floating on the water. The reality is that they’re just a huge raft of birds floating on the ocean waves.
The US military was engaged in a battle with a bunch of harmless birds.
I think Satan is really good at getting us to worry about things that have no bearing on what we’re supposed to be doing. His lies get us all worked up by turning our attention toward what appears to be dangerous and harmful, but in reality is nothing at all. Instead, our focus is taken from where it should be. He does it to us as individuals and he does it to us as a group.
What are you worried about? Is Satan reminding you that you aren’t good enough to serve the Lord? Is your past so glaringly bright, that it appears as pips on your radar? You remind Satan that those sins were nailed to the Cross, your debt has been paid and your account settled. You are free now to live life in the full power afforded you through the Gospel! Let’s pray – invitation;