1. Some questions to consider:
a. Do the heavenly bodies (astrology) have any influence over our lives?
1) The millions of people who consult their horoscopes each day would say "Yes!"
2) In the U.S., there are about 1,750 newspapers, and 1,220 of them carry astrological data
b. Is there any relationship between diet and spiritual living?
c. Does God speak to us immediately, in our minds, or only through His Word, the Bible?
d. Do the "eastern religions" have something to offer those who are Christians?
2. These questions sound very contemporary, don't they?
a. Yet they are the very issues Paul dealt with in his epistle to the Colossians
b. For this reason, we need this important letter today just as they needed it when Paul wrote it in 60 A. D.
1. 100 miles E of Ephesus in Asia Minor
1. Hierapolis was a place known for health, pleasure, relaxation
2. Laodicea was known for commercial trade and politics
3. Colosse, however, was simply a small town
1. We are not sure when the church began, for the scriptures do not say
2. It is likely that Paul himself did not start it
a. He had not seen them in person - Colossians 2:1
b. Rather, he had simply heard of their faith - Colossians 1:4
3. It is possible that it was started by Epaphras:
a. From what Paul writes in Colossians 1:4-8
b. Who evidently also had some contact with those in Hierapolis and Laodicea - Colossians 4:12-13
a. Possibly the founder of the church
b. A native of Colosse - Colossians 4:12
d. A "fellow-prisoner" with Paul at this time - Philemon 1:23
2. Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus
a. By comparing Colossians and Philemon, we can conclude they were at Colosse
b. It is likely that the church met in their home - Philemon 1:2
c. Many think they may have been members of the same family
1) Philemon, the father
2) Apphia, the mother
3) Archippus, the son
a. He was Philemon's slave who had run away, found by Paul in Rome, and was converted
b. He was being sent back to Philemon (cf. the epistle to Philemon), along with the letter to the Colossians - Colossians 4:7-9
A. THE REPORT
3. But from the content of the letter, Paul must have also been informed of a two-fold peril affecting the church
B. THE PERIL
1. There was the danger of their relapsing into paganism with its immorality (implied by comments such as Colossians 3:5-11)
2. There was the danger of accepting what some call the "Colossian Heresy"
a. Which denied the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ
1) For salvation
2) For overcoming the indulgences of the flesh
b. This "Colossian Heresy" involved
1) False Philosophy, which denied the all-sufficiency and pre-eminence of Jesus Christ - Colossians 2:8
2) Judaistic Ceremonialism, which attached special significance to the rite of circumcision, food regulations, and observance of special days - Colossians 2:16-17
3) Angel Worship, which detracted from the uniqueness of Christ - Colossians 2:18
c. The "Colossian Heresy", then, was a mixture of Jewish and pagan elements
A. THE PURPOSE OF THE EPISTLE
1. To warn the brethren at Colosse
a. Against falling away - Colossians 1:21-23
b. Against the "solution" being urged upon them by those who denied that Jesus was all they needed - Colossians 2:8-10
2. To direct their attention to Jesus Christ
a. The "Beloved Son" - Colossians 1:13
b. The "all-sufficient" and "pre-eminent" Savior - Colossians 1:14-18
B. THE THEME OF THE EPISTLE: "Jesus Christ: The pre-eminent and all-sufficient Savior" - Colossians 1:18
1. The value of this letter to the Colossians is that it increases our understanding and appreciation of Jesus Christ
2. From this epistle, we learn that He (Jesus) truly is "the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE" - John 14:6
3. Once we understand that He (Jesus) is indeed the "pre-eminent" and "all- sufficient" Savior and live our lives accordingly
a. We will live victorious lives as Christians!
b. We will assure that we do not fall away nor be carried away by false religions and philosophies of men
-- Don Treadway, April 2009 --