Paul in his letter to the church at Colossae writes of his confidence in the faith of those there in that church and encourages them in their walk. In 2:4 he encourages them to not be deceived by persuasive arguments and goes on to speak of an outward joy that he has in knowing how they will respond and live in their community because of their strength and faith in Christ.
It is in 2:6 that Paul places an important word that we translate in the English as “therefore” and as you may have learned, when you see therefore, you are to ask what the therefore is “there for”.
“Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him…”
Colossians 2:6 (HCSB)
Here Paul makes three statements that are directly related to the faith of the believers in Colossae and i would say that these are to be related to the church (both local and universal) today.
1. A FAITH RECEIVED
As it was for those in Colossae, so it is for every believer today regardless of where we might live. When we, by faith, come to Christ, we do so in “receiving” the gift of God’s grace worked out by His one and only Son on the cross. this work is that of Jesus’ crucifixion where He shed His blood as an atoning sacrifice for all who will “receive’ Him and His work done on their behalf. So our faith is something to be received, not earned or taken, but received as a gift; God’s gift of grace through the perfect life sufficient sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
There are also some things that we receive when we begin our walk of faith in Christ:
- We receive a Power
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8 (HCSB)
- We receive His Presence
“…teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20 (HCSB)
- We receive His Pardon
“Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’? But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” He told the paralytic, ‘I tell you: get up, pick up your mat, and go home.’”
Mark 2:9–11 (HCSB)
- We receive His Peace
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”
John 14:27 (HCSB)
2. A LORD PROCLAIMED
It was C.S. Lewis the English author and professed Christian who once wrote in his famous work, “Mere Christianity”:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. Liar, lunatic, or Lord. Those are the only options to consider when it comes to determining the truth about Christ.”
In the early church there were many difficulties and distresses. There at Colossae we see a community with one church, not one church on every street corner. Nor was there a variety of denominations from which to choose; there was only one body and church in Colossae, literally. Not only was the movement small, but it was young. Christianity was in it’s infancy. Therefore there was no system or infrastructure set in place such as organizations and resources to draw from or to lean on on a regional, national or global level. the life, health and growth of the Church was pretty much left in the hands of the Apostles (including Paul). And with Paul he usually had a few who were traveling with him, but the movement of Christianity was small and greatly limited in relationship to the Church today. In speaking of Paul, its interesting to note that he had not even been to Colossae at this point; all this church had from Paul was this letter. The church at Colossae was, in a sense, “an island unto themselves”. So for this body of believers to proclaim Jesus as Savior and Lord, it meant something and spoke volumes then and now.
When we look at the church at Colossae and their identity, it wasn’t tied to a building program or a shingle inscribed with the names of the charter members. It wasn’t know for a long line and heritage of dynamic preachers or groundbreaking ministry firsts. The church at Colossae found their identity in the LORDSHIP of Christ and Christ alone. There may be no better point to rest on than this; for all that we are and hope to be, it must be tied to this proclamation of who we say Jesus is to us and allow that statement to guard our hearts, guide our steps and grow our faithfulness.
This brings me to a third point of Colossians 2:6.
3. A WALK COMMITTED
As the believers in Colossae walked by faith and not by sight, they did so without so many of the things that can become a hindrance in today’s churches. How often do you see a church basing their ministry and vision on “the five principals of this” and “the seven objectives of that”? Some pastors and churches have become so enthralled with “the next and newest thing” that the Bible has become an add-on to teaching rather than the focus and foundation of teaching.
While The Evangelical Bible as we know it today (66 books-Genesis to Revelation) was not available and wouldn’t be printed until 1456 (Guttenberg bible in Latin), What we find is that what is of most importance to Paul and to the church at Colossae is that this church is a body called to follow the teachings of Christ and the Apostles whom He had called. In Chapter two, Paul writes of the heresies that were in abundance there in Colossae and for that reason Paul encourages and entreats this church to set their course and direction on Jesus Christ their Lord.
Of all the people and movements we could follow, if we are in Christ, then it is by His word and through His sacrifice that we find our way and set our course of direction and “walk in Him….”
I love that familiar song of praise and proclamation that I have sung since i was a child; “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”. In the song there are four stanzas or verses that speak of a believer’s commitment to their faith and following after Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus;
Though none go with me, I still will follow;
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, No turning back.
“Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
Luke 9:23 (HCSB)
And later in the same chapter Luke records Jesus to say,
But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:62 (HCSB)