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For People on the Grow

Stuart Briscoe

Have you ever taken a road trip over several days? Pulled out a map and penciled in where you were starting, where you wanted to be at the end of each day, and where you were ultimately going? You didn’t stop when you hit your first overnight stay, did you? You might have been happy to get there and enjoyed getting out of the car and stretching your legs, but you had your eye on your final destination!

In Paul’s letter to the Colossian church, he’s writing to a young group of believers. They were devoted to growing in Christ, but were surrounded by people who were trying to steer them onto side streets and put roadblocks in their way to keep them from moving forward in their relationship with Christ. In this short letter, packed full of practical wisdom for our own faith journey, Paul speaks specifically to the obstacles that can hinder our growth and directs us to stay focused on Jesus, who empowers us so we can grow to be more like Him.

Messages From This Series:

Paul's letter to the church in Colosse was written in the customary style of his day, but it contains truth of lasting importance for people in diverse cultures in all ages. His opening greetings contain much information about the beginnings of spiritual experience. 

Scripture: Colossians 1:1-1:18

It is ironic that a "growing vanguard of society perceives that Christianity calls the 'good life' to be a threat to self-fulfillment" (Carl F.H. Henry) because God made people to be fulfilled, and only He can make it happen. 

Scripture: Colossians 1:9-1:14

Mention of the "Kingdom of the Son" launched Paul into a magnificent description of Jesus the King. Life in the Kingdom is related to appreciation of the King. Paul knew the Colossians needed to be clear on this point. So do we! 

Scripture: Colossians 1:15-1:20

John Bunyan's famous allegory, "Pilgrim's Progress," described the journey of the believer from the "slough of despond" to "the celestial city." In less picturesque terms, Paul did the same for the Colossians. We, too, need to know how to get there from here. 

Scripture: Colossians 1:21-1:29

Paul's explicitly stated purpose in his ministry to the Christians in the Lycus Valley was that "they may be encouraged in heart." An ounce of encouragement, like a spoonful of sugar, goes a long way.

Scripture: Colossians 2:1-2:7

Having begun their spiritual journey, the Colossians needed encouragement to continue as they had started because factors entered their lives that would take them off course. 

Scripture: Colossians 2:8-2:15

The Colossian Christians were being troubled by people who were confusing them and hindering their spiritual progress. Paul spoke forcibly to the issue and in so doing he reminds us that we should be on our guard against those who would be less than helpful to our spiritual lives. 

Scripture: Colossians 2:16-2:23

Having reminded the Colossians about the things they believe, Paul now turns his attention to how they should behave. Christians recognize that because belief and behavior are inextricably bound up in each other, any erosion of belief will lead inevitably to a deterioration in behavior. 

Scripture: Colossians 3:1-3:10

Having reminded the Colossians about the relationship of belief and behavior in general terms, Paul now turns his attention to specifics. First he emphasises how Christians should behave in church. 

Scripture: Colossians 3:11-3:17

Paul continues his practical instructions by turning to the home life of the believer. He presents brief commands that he amplified in the Ephesian epistle, which was written around about the same time. 

Scripture: Colossians 3:18-3:21

Christians are required to live on earth before they get to heaven, which means that Christianity has to be related to culture. Slavery was an integral part of 1st century Graeco-Roman culture and the church had to deal with it. 

Scripture: Colossians 3:22-4:1

Paul introduced the practical section of the letter by encouraging the Colossians to "set (their) minds and hearts above." Now he concludes it with a similar instruction by reminding them of the necessity of prayer. In other words, they were to keep looking up. 

Scripture: Colossians 4:2-4:18

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