Saturday 21 November 2020


Colossians. Chapter 1


Sunday this week is when the Church celebrates Christ as King of all Kings, Lord of Lords, Son of God, and eternal Saviour of mankind.

 This morning I want to take you back to the time of the first Christian Church which set a model for all time. Without any of our wonderful technological discoveries, the gospel spread across the world.   

 The Church in Western nations, and especially in this country, is losing members almost weekly, and is failing to be of any interest or relevance to the under 50 age ranges. This should give all sincere Christians real concern.  You must have noticed how congregations are falling in attendances, and whilst deaths and illness are causes, it is factual that people are feeling there is little purpose in coming.

 In the Epistle from Colossians.  False teachers had infiltrated the Church just as we experience today, and when there is false teaching there is inevitably division and ill feeling.  We do not know what the trouble was in Colossae, but it was serious enough for Paul to write and admonish them.

 Paul describes Christ as the first born of all creation; pre-eminent over all creation; the One who holds all things together; and the head of the Church. All these statements are to emphasise the deity of Christ and His having Supremacy over all in heaven and earth.

It is in Jesus’ position as head of the Church which I am concentrating on this morning.   Jesus is the one that builds His church, so all His servants need to be careful to follow all He directed.

The last words of Jesus before His ascension were to His Apostles:  ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  AND teaching them to observe all that I have commanded.   Here in the words of our Lord is the purpose for which He founded the Church.

 The first Church was founded on the teaching of the Apostles who took the gospel around the ancient world, and that church was a model from which we might do well to follow as the Bible states the people were devoted to such teaching.

 The Apostles taught the truth about Jesus Christ. They taught about the way in which he fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures in order to bring people to salvation through His sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection. They also taught how salvation in Jesus Christ was to be worked out in the life of the believer. They are not teaching something that they have made up in their own minds, but only things which have been revealed to them by Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

 Jesus had already made it clear to them that their teaching was to be consistent with His.

What should occupy our minds is to consider if the Church is still preaching the message of the Apostles, and is it fit for the purpose Christ and His Apostles built it?  That is a hard question to answer; in places yes, especially the Pentecostal Churches; but in the main denominational Churches, only to a limited extent. In order to justify that let us reflect.

 Jesus gave strict commands on spiritual, moral, ethical and social matters.  Paul warned that there would be those who would not wish to here sound doctrine, and would seek false teachers who would say what they wanted to hear, and there are plenty of them in the Church today. Never forget, the church does not belong to men (or women) it is Christ’s church and he builds it through the teaching of the men who were His Apostles.

 When we hear their teaching on a regular basis, not only does our faith grow, but also our ability to defend and help others to understand, especially those most close and dearest to us who are not yet followers of our Lord.  We may not remember all we hear, but will be inspired by the power of what has been preached.  We will learn to be guided by the Scriptures and will come to know more about God and His Son and how we should live according to His commands.

 Charles Wesley taught that the value of a person’s life was to be measured by their faith, so we need to get our way of life in order to justify our faith.

 I am sure that many Church members do not realise the danger our faith and Church face.  There are forces out to annihilate Christianity from the public arena and silence biblical quotations on moral and ethical issues. This has the consequences of people who are not interested in religion, but who have to make judgements and assessments of people, such as Judges  and social workers being influenced to follow society’s agenda.  Police are arresting people for speaking in Christian terms, influenced wrongly by aggressive activism of groups pushing their own causes.

 Whereas in the United States they now (still)have a President, who has forcefully spoken out in defence of Christian belief, and assured the people of their freedom to express their beliefs as laid out in the country’s Constitution, which they did not have to the same extent previously. We have a Prime Minister who is totally dismissive of the Church, but not so dismissive of loose morality.

If we are to be the witnesses for Jesus, we must first be sure we have experienced His presence, and secondly, tell positively what Jesus stated and commanded. It is not enough to say we know about Him, even the devil could say that, we must have accepted Him as Saviour and believed in all He did and commanded. We cannot amend or put on an application which He obviously would not have approved. 

 The responsibility may principally be upon the clergy to preach according to the commands of Jesus, and the Bible states a preacher is given a solemn task to preach in the name of God and Jesus Christ, and will one day have to answer as to how faithfully we carried out that privilege.  But every Christian is called upon to defend and contend for the gospel.

 We have to tell our faith is not something someone made up. There is testimony from people alive at the time of Jesus’ life on earth, and not only from His followers but from literary men of the time, and it has been recorded. 

 Our Gospel is that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.  This, which was an early Christian confession, give us the heart of the gospel and show that the resurrection is an integral part of the gospel. The reality can be verified by the Scriptures and historical evidence as the empty tomb and the eye witnesses

 Only Christianity has a Cross at the centre of its faith. Only Jesus suffered an horrific death on the Cross, a death made for criminals who were made to parade through the streets, with a crown on his head beaten 39 times with a leather belt fitted with metal studs to cut the skin, stripped of clothes and nailed through His hands and feet on the cross, and all for the sake of paying the penalty for the sins you and I commit.

 He could have refused to go there, but went willingly so we could be forgiven, and put back in to a relationship with God and made us fit for heaven, where we will live on day with Him.  God said this is what man has shown and done to my Son; this is what I have done, and showed by raising Him to life again.

 A new secular agenda has replaced biblical faith with an obsession on equality, sexuality and gender change, which creates irrational and unpleasant behaviour. What exacerbates the situation is that there is not expected to be any challenge to that agenda, although they can vilify religion. In effect, it has caused more inequality

We have come to this stage in the nation’s life since the Church cast aside the Bible, which is just to be noted in passing, and there has been therefore nothing to give credence or realism. It has long been the aim of secularism and an extreme political creed to break up the family and any firm basis of morality.

 In our technological age when so many devices can be used to reach a wide number of people, and sensation is the aim, and widely used by activists, feeble minds can so easily be filled with lies and distortions; which is why we need the strength of the Bible to act as a protective.

 With all our smartphones, ipads and computers; by numerous translations in simple language, we have the Bible more available than ever, yet less read, known or acted upon.  But there are so many eager minds dearly wanting one in their own language, and being made available to them.  Christians who face persecution, injury and sometimes death for just being Christian, but whose faith would put many in this country to shame.

 People tell me there are contradictions in the Bible, but there are not, just different ways of writing which do not diminish the truth one dot.  If I were to give each of you here today a piece of paper and told you to go home and write an account of what happened from the moment you came into the Church until you left, I am confident there would not be any two accounts the same, yet no one would deny you were here.

  Let me close with the words of John Wesley. I want to know one thing, the way to heaven: how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book! O give me that book! At any price, give me the Book of God!  I have it: here is knowledge enough for me.

 May God richly bless and help all who read his Holy Word.

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