Paul is Helping People Follow Jesus Christ

Colossians 2:1-5


I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.


What is really important in life? What is the most basic and fundamental thing? Living well. And how does one do that? We establish healthy priorities and activities that are good for us, those close to us, our community out to the entire world. And we think in terms of what is good now and in the future as well.


It is hard to know how to live best. In the Christian worldview, God sets the standards of behavior and holds people accountable for their bad behavior. That is done both now and in the future. God promises to bless people. To bless means to give them the best life. He blesses both now and in the future. Following Jesus Christ’s teaching and example is the simplest way I can think of to meet God’s standards and attract His blessing.


Obviously our culture does not agree with the Christian worldview. Therefore we come into tension with our culture.

Sexual issues,

Money issues,

Pleasure issues,

Success issues,

Environmental issues,

Human rights issues


On and on. How will we manage our differences. Our culture seeks to force people into a mold. God seeks to reason and persuade with people, to get them to submit willingly.


  1. Paul Contends for Their Faith in Christ


  1. This is his vocation


Acts 9: 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen         instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and   to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for     my name.”


I Cor 15: For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of      God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to     me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.


II Cor 11: For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other         than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from      the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you ac       cepted, you put up with it easily enough.

            5 I do not think I am in the least inferior to those


            12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground         from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal         with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false         apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of      Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel        of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions     deserve.



  1. Serving Christ Paul serves these people

You don’t have to know people to know the impact of bad ideas.

John 8: 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the      truth, and the truth will set you free.”

            33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have         never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set         free?”

Hold on to the truth found in the teachings and sacrifice of         Jesus!”


        v.4 fine sounding arguments


        v.8 hollow and deceptive philosophy that depends on human         tradition: The social sciences


        v.16 Jewish religious shadows (They don’t know the reality         and you do!!)


Ideas are ideas.

It is really important to have the proper foundation when thinking         about God and what He wants in the world.


*God doesn’t want crusaders that kill in His name.

*God doesn’t want people to think that He is not involved and      therefore they must do everything themselves.

*God doesn’t want people to think that He is going to do everything     and they are not going to be required to work or strive or endure       difficulty.

*God doesn’t want people to think that they deserve grace and mercy.



  1. Paul has the understanding that they need
  2. He understands the cultural forces that are at work against them.
  3. He understands the spiritual forces that are behind the cultural forces.

Ephesians 2: 1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and         sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this         world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who   is now at work in those who are disobedient.


        Genesis 4: Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is         your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be         accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your         door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”


  1. He has extensive experience dealing with persecution.

(He knows that you can be right and be hurt for it.) This is the result    of the patience of God, but God does promise to manage vengeance        and repayment.


  1. He does not wrestle with flesh and blood.


Ephesians 6: 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but         against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this         dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.


  1. He exercises the weapons given him in Christ

and attacks lies and bad ideas based upon incorrect assumptions about God and the world.


II Cor 10:

            3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world         does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.    On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish         strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets     itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every      thought to make it obedient to Christ.



  1. How Paul Helps People Follow Jesus


  1. He argues against the other voices

This is the entire epistle.

The supremacy of Christ in:

Connecting us to God

Showing us what God is like

Showing us how we are to live

II Cor 10:

            3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world         does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.    On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish         strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that    sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take        captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.



  1. He encourages their hearts

He explains the benefits of following Christ


He explains the reason others oppose Christ


He explains why God allows difficulties to begin with


He explains the way the world works with and without God



  1. He works to unite folks in love


Love is harder when under duress.

And yet this is the very pattern of Jesus.


Loving others is costly. People are hard to love. They have difficult         long standing problems that will require us to be patient, kind,         understanding and give them multiple opportunities to repent.


I Tim 1: As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in         Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach         false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless    genealogies. Such things promote    controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—       which is by faithThe goal of this        command is love, which comes   from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some        have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk.        They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what   they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.


        Verse 5 is a key life verse!

        The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure         heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.


Loving others as Jesus loves us is the pathway to following         Jesus.

John 13: washing Judas’ feet. A new commandment…

Loving enemies

Loving those who do not return your love

Loving others for the sake of honoring the image of God in us

It is those who keep Jesus’ commands that love Him.

John 14:

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

So, we have looked at how is it Paul’s vocation to help people follow Jesus and saw that we share this as well. Then we looked at how Paul helped folks follow Jesus. Finally I want us to see…


III. The Reward for Being Faithful to Christ



  1. Gaining Full Understanding about your life

“The full riches of complete understanding.”

Mysteries of what God is doing


Galatians 2: 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if     righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for   nothing!”


The kingdom of God in the world is God’s rule in your life.


  1. Personal knowledge of Jesus in your life

Jesus is the mystery of God.


What does this mean?


It means that Jesus is what God is doing that people do not understand.


Look back at Isaiah 42:

42 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth.


This is quoted directly by Matthew in chapter 12 and applied to Jesus.

The Jews missed this, making it a mystery.


Isaiah 53, Psalms 22. Jesus fits the identity of Messiah, the Servant of God. The Jews missed it, making it a mystery.


Why would anyone understand it? Well, John 6 says the Father has drawn you to Christ!

37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.

Those who understand the mystery are willing to put up with the questions that they have because… they know that


  1. Treasures of wisdom and understanding hidden in Christ


        “To whom shall we go?”


        Understanding: what is going on? What is God doing?


        Wisdom: what am I to do? What is best?


        Vs. People and their ideas constantly changing, folks thinking they have some sort of clever new idea, not realizing they are rehashing things people have thought and said before.


Middle management justifying their existence by making “changes” that are just a restatement of ideas set forward by previous middle managers who justified their existence by doing the same.


Many ideas are in balance. They just switch from one lens and emphasis to another.


Wait on God please!! He is at work. And He is at work in a lot of different people at the same time.


Isaiah 55:

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.