Gospel Chapel Grand Forks

Sermon’s from Gospel Chapel in Grand Forks, BC, Canada. It’s beautiful here!

Today we duck out of Colossians and look at the companion book of Philemon. It's short. It's direct. It's addressed to one man, in one house, in one church, concerning one issue. And it's a case study for what we have been looking at over the past three weeks in Colossians.

Paul moves from talking about what we must put off and put on as followers of Jesus to how the reality of the Gospel must change our relationships. We often read these verses in isolation, or at least we argue about what they mean without taking in the whole context. In this message, there are moments when you will be asked to pause, read the Scripture, or reflect on a question (if you are in a group, discuss). We're going to look at the household codes in the context of the whole of Colossians and in the Biblical story of redemption and renewal.

Paul has told us what we need to get rid of in our lives (the bad news) in Colossians 3:5-11. Now he talks about what we need to put on. Embracing, engaging, and living these things will give us a godly life that is full of joy and purpose.

This is really part one of two messages that come from this passage. But I'm approaching it backwards. The reason is simple. Colossians 3:11, and many other statements in Paul's writings, speak to the cultural moment we are experiencing. Paul calls for an absolute end to discrimination, racism, and class divisions in the church. It has NO place in the One people of God.

In this section of the letter, Paul takes specific aim at the issues concerning the Colossian church. He issues two warnings about people to avoid, telling the church not to give them the ability to sit in judgement over them. And he reminds the church about where they are in relation to the systems of our broken world - you have died, and you have been raised with Christ. That's going to make a difference in you confidence level to live out the Gospel.

As we move into the "meat" of Colossians - the teaching and application - Paul starts with a thorough review of what the Colossians already know, and what they need to remember as they move forward together in their walk with Christ. Quite often we need to simply be reminded about the realities of who Jesus is and what He has accomplished for us. We never outgrow the foundations of the Gospel.

The introduction to Colossians runs from 1:1 to 2:5. In this passage, Paul is speaking more in the first person - Timothy is also named in the introduction, and seems to be involved in the message. Paul is wanting to address the church directly now. Remember, this is not a church Paul planted nor has he visited. Most likely, the church was planted and pastored by Epaphrus, who is named early in the letter as their source of information about the church.

Paul needs to establish some relationship and credibility with this church, and he does that in this passage. Because of everything Paul has said so far in the letter, and - perhaps - because of rumours about his situation, Paul has to lay out some specifics about his suffering in the context of the Gospel and the Body of Christ, the Church.

But Paul's primary purpose, his toil and struggle, is not to prove himself. His heart's desire is that followers of Jesus would be growing and maturing in Christ.

Where can we find hope and stability in a time of chaos and uncertainty. The Heart of the Gospel is Jesus Christ. The Hope of the Gospel is no different. Where do we derive our hope - not our wishes - but our real hope?

Last week we broke off half way through Paul's second sentence in the book...yup, he's the master of run-on sentences. But the transition is clear. Paul now pens, or incorporates, a song-a hymn-to celebrate the "Son of His love," the King into whose Kingdom we have been transferred after being rescued from the domain of darkness having been qualified to share in the inheritance with the saints.

Paul wants us to clearly know that the Heart of the Gospel is Jesus. We do receive the benefits of the Gospel, but ultimate it's not about us.

Paul starts off this letter with thanksgiving and prayer. He (and Timothy) have heard from Epaphras all about the life and faith of the Colossian church, and they are filled with joy. And they pray that the reality of their faith will continue to grow and flourish.

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