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"Why Discipleship? Part Three: It Builds Faithfulness."

Why Discipleship?  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  50:41
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Over the past couple weeks we’ve explored why we should pursue a life of discipleship as believers.
The first week we discovered that discipleship involves first coming before God in humility.
We realize and acknowledge that He is God, not us.
And as we submit to Him to follow Jesus, we seek His will first in our life above our own.
Last week we talked about how the result of discipleship produces authentic biblical fellowship.
The kind of fellowship that is not offered by the world but the kind of fellowship that is pure, peaceable and honors the Lord.
Last week we walked away with 7 ways how we can “fellowship right”.
This is the last week rom our titled series, “Why Discipleship?”.
This week we’re going to dive into the fact that a life devoted to discipleship builds our faithfulness.
I realize that this could be such a broad topic, but specifically we’re going to look at how the apostle Paul explained the faithfulness of the church in Colossae (Ca-loss-I).
Colossae was placed near a significant river called the Lycus River.
It was known that the river would bring chalk to the shores and the valley forming chalk formations sought out by many travelers.
Most of the land around the area was covered by this chalk, however the land that wasn’t was prime pasture land suitable for livestock and growing food.
In fact because of the pasture land, Colossae was most likely known as the greatest wool producer at that time.
The neighboring city, Laodicaea (Lay-O-Da-Say-Ya) was a major trade partner- also the city of Hierapolis (Hire-A-Pole-iss) for it’s medicinal production and clean water.
Laodicaea harvested most of the chalk from the river because the chalk happened to be perfect in the dying process of the wool.
Together Colossae and Northern Laodicaea became famous for their wool products and known by many around West Asia.
Later Colossae became farmed out and most people moved to the larger city of Laodicaea which became the political center.
Colossae, at the time of Paul’s writing, was a small city.
Lightfoot, a biblical commentator once said that the letter of Colossians was the most unimportant city Paul ever wrote to.
Paul did not start the church, let alone visit it, but his friend Epaphras (E-pap-Ras) was one of the leaders there and had reached out to him while Paul was in prison.
The Colossian church was founded by believers out of Paul’s 3 year ministry to the area of Ephesus.
Paul’s purpose for writing to the Colossians was to address heresy.
There was heretical teaching going around that dismissed Christ being supreme over all and His part in creation.
Paul also addresses in this letter Christ’s humanity.
In addition the heretics were saying that because of all the demonic attacks there had to be more needed to defeat them other than Jesus Christ.
Lastly, there was still the remnant heretical teaching of the Pharisees with specific traditions, rules and regulations needing to be followed.
The overall heretical teachings could be described as gnosticism.
William Barclay defines Gnosticism in this way...
“Gnosticism was perhaps the most dangerous heresy that threatened the early church during the first three centuries.
Influenced by such philosophers as Plato, Gnosticism is based on two false premises.
First, it espouses a dualism regarding spirit and matter. Gnostics assert that matter is inherently evil and spirit is good.
As a result of this presupposition, Gnostics believe anything done in the body, even the grossest sin, has no meaning because real life exists in the spirit realm only.
Second, Gnostics claim to possess an elevated knowledge, a “higher truth” known only to a certain few.
Gnosticism comes from the Greek word gnosis which means “to know.”
Gnostics claim to possess a higher knowledge, not from the Bible, but acquired on some mystical higher plane of existence.
Gnostics see themselves as a privileged class elevated above everybody else by their higher, deeper knowledge of God.”
I wanted us to get a feel for where this church was at during this time as Paul wrote the letter.
There was probably financial strains, a city that once was booming but now has suffered, small churches were normal and division in churches was prevalent, mostly because of false teachers or another reason.
This letter should speak loudly to most American churches today.
And it should give us some greater insight as where we need to go, and where we need to avoid, as we seek to be more faithful in our spiritual growth and devotion to the Lord, as individuals and as a church!
Paul starts out with his passion and desire for this church.
He lets them know that he has a strong yearning for them to be encouraged in heart and united in love.
These things, Paul says, are evidence to others of the mystery of Christ.
It’s a mystery to others (non believers) because most people don’t understand why certain people from different walks of life, nationalities, races, and backgrounds hang out or love each other.
But the one foundation that brings believers together, no matter what they look like, or where thy are from is Christ.
He is the reason to their faithfulness in unity and love within the body.
See, Paul never knew these people personally, except maybe a few, but he loved and cared for them anyway.
Because he shared with them in the saving work of Christ in his life and theirs.
He had that same joy that they contained because of Christ.
We have that same joy today, amen?
So Paul, after verse 5 makes a transition from talking about how Christ saved them, and creates unity in the body, to the fact that Christ also ultimately creates spiritual maturity.
In verses 6-7 he gives us 4 foundational truths that enables us to be faithful to the Lord:
ONE: The Christian life starts with new birth.
Colossians 2:6
Colossians 2:6 NIV
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,
They have first received the gospel and Jesus as Lord of their lives, personally.
TWO: The Christian life continues when we “walk in Him.”
Colossians 2:6
Colossians 2:6 NIV
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,
First we walk and talk like babies and toddlers.
We put one foot in front of the other.
Then we begin to learn the meaning of the Christian language, grasping basic Bible truths about the faith.
We learn what is expected of followers of Jesus
How to pray, how to read His Word, deal with sin and resist temptation, etc.
As we keep our focus on Him and live our lives for Him, we head in the right direction and gain spiritual maturity.
THREE: The Christian walk continues and we gain stability and growth.
Colossians 2:7
Colossians 2:7 NIV
rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
He begins with walking in verse 6 and continues with a firm picture of a tree planted with deep roots.
Redwoods are communal trees sharing root systems, even growing into one another.
They grow 350 feet plus however have shallow root systems.
Their strength is because they become fused together by their roots and hold each other up when heavy winds, rains and other elements hit.
Do you know which tree has the deepest roots?
There is a wild fig tree in South Africa where it’s roots penetrate 400 feet deep!
Paul’s point is that as we grow in Christ, we become more stable and mature just like a tree with deep or strong roots.
It is so important that as believers we know what we believe and why we believe it.
If we don’t we can be carried away by false teachings pretty easily, just like some of the Colossians.
FOUR: As the Christian walk matures, it is marked by overflowing gratitude.
Colossians 2:7
Colossians 2:7 NIV
rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
The mature Christian knows that their spiritual growth does not come from themselves, it comes from God, who through the Holy Spirit, makes a believer into the image of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7
1 Corinthians 3:6–7 NIV
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
The growth that we receive is not for our pride or self confidence but thanksgiving.
The Colossian church was stuck on the second foundational truth.
They were converted to Christ and beginning to live the Christian life but they were stunted in their spiritual growth because of deception that was influencing them.
So with that in mind Paul transitions by saying to them,
Colossians 2:8–10 NIV
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
The image that Paul is painting is not of people falling into a trap, it’s the image of someone being snatched and dragged off, as in a kidnapping.
It was intended to shock the Colossians into getting back on track to being faithful in their walk with the Lord.
To get them on the road to spiritual maturity which would mean they would need better discernment by relying on the Holy Spirit for guidance and truth.
The false teachers sought to capture them in two ways:
Philosophy and empty deception (verse 8)
Through traditions of men and demons (verse 8)
We talked about the gnostic view earlier regarding evil spirits so we won’t go back into it, however it’s important to note that Paul affirms in verse 9, that in Christ there is all the fullness of Deity that dwells in His bodily form.
This specifically means that he wanted the Colossians to know and remember that Jesus Christ is in fact God incarnate.
John 1:1–3 NIV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
John 1:14 NIV
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
This was important for the Colossians to remember and it’s just as important for us as well.
By saying that the fullness of Deity dwells in Christ in bodily form, Paul agues against the myths in Gnosticism and attacks the dual nature of false religion.
Simply Paul is saying that Jesus Christ is sufficient as Lord.
He is enough.
The question that we should be asking ourselves right now is, with all that this world has to offer, including the lies… are we acknowledging that Christ is enough?
If Christ is enough to us then we will remain faithful, if He is not then we will go astray looking in the wrong places.
The truth is, that Christ is enough whether we think it or not.
He is enough because of His Deity and He is enough because of the work He did on the cross for you and for me.
He is enough because of His resurrection that offers us life beyond death.
And He is enough still today, because He is the author and perfect of our faith and faithfulness to the Lord.
Colossians 2:10 NIV
and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
Are you allowing Christ to be head and the authority over your life?
Being faithful to God, to our devotion and walk with Christ and to others should be our top priority in life.
We’re usually faithful to something or someone- it’s up to us to make sure that the first commitment is to the Lord.
Being a disciple of Jesus is first being humble before God, it is being in fellowship with other believers and it is remaining faithful until he calls us home.
Over the next 36 week, starting September 22 we will be discovering every facet of discipleship.
We will be going from the our life in Christ to being a follower filled with the Holy Spirit and how that impacts our every action.
We’ll be talking bout practical ways of how to walk with Christ and what our character should look like as we follow Him.
There will be an in depth series on what we believe and how we can grow in being a more intention disciple of Jesus.
Also, how we can share our faith and disciple others.
And lastly we’re going to go through the book of 1 Thessalonians to explore how Jesus is our only hope for life itself and what our purpose is.
I’m ready and excited to go with you on this journey!
And I’m really excited to see how we all grow in our faith and community together through this!
Let’s Pray
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