Andrew Fountain - Passionate about Christ - the Hidden Treasure

Sermon notes - Passionate about Christ—the Hidden Treasure

  • There is a difference between knowing a fact, and having an true insight into what it means.
  • Story of the “Failed robbery attempt Australia”
    • Two masked men with machetes attempted to rob Regents Park Sporting and Community Club
    • Local newspaper reported: “we don’t know if they spotted the row of 50 bikes outside, but they failed to have a ‘penetrating insight’ into what that might mean”
    • Have the information in your head, but not deeply grasp the implications

Southern Cross Club

Southern Cross Club

Image source: Warren Lynam

  • The theme of the book:

Truth that brings life

0. The Story so far

  • There are some damaging errors creeping into the churches in this area
  • Instead of answering them 1 by 1, Paul’s responds by making sure they understand the truth
  • He gives a beautifully compact and exquisitely constructed presentation of Jesus and salvation
  • He wrote it for more than just the Colossians —at the end he says “pass the letter on”.

Tree and Roots

  • The first half is the roots
    • Comes together in the trunk
    • and the second half spreads out and brings fruit

Truth that brings life

  • “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith” (2:6–7)
  • “…bearing fruit and growing” (1:6)

Quick overview

From the bottom up:

4:2–18 Among outsiders

3:18–4:1 In our extented family

3:8–17 Among Christian Community

2:20–3:7 Inner Spiritual life

2:8–19 Core of the Truth: Union with Jesus

1:24–2:7 How this Truth comes to Us

1:9b-23 Jesus & the Big Picture

1:1–9a This Truth Changes Us

1. Last week

Paul’s Prayer:

Colossians 1:9-11

Colossians 1:9-11

  1. and asking
    that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will
                in all spiritual wisdom and understanding
  2. so as to walk worthy of the Lord,
          in all ways to please him,
          in all good work bearing fruit and increasing in the knowledge of God,
  3.       in all power being empowered, through his glorious strength,
          in all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father
  • Would you like those things?
    • Most Christians want more power...
  • So what do we need to do to get these things?
    • be filled with knowledge, spiritual wisdom and understanding
  • We saw that Paul is not talking about some cold and indifferent knowledge of God
    • but a penetrating insight that leads to a change of life
  • This then is the first story of the building Paul is erecting
    • It leads us to ask, “What is this great truth, Paul, that is so life-transforming ?”
  • And so for the next three sections, Paul unfolds this truth.
  • Last time we looked at [1:13–22] about our extraordinary, amazing, Jesus Christ
    • It is probably the highest decription of Jesus Christ in the entire Bible
    • Just to remind you, here it is in the form of a song:
      Colossians 1:15-20 as a Song
  • And having built this incredible, extraordinary picture of Jesus
    • Paul needs to build a bridge between
      • him, who is the beginning and the end, and has all things in his hands
      • and us, who have to get up on Monday morning and face another day
    • And today’s passage is the first part of the bridge

2. The Hidden Treasure is Revealed

  • Chapter boundaries are artificial (except in the Psalms)

Outline of 1:23–2:7

  • Paul’s passion to communicate the truth (23–25)
    • The truth: hidden treasure revealed (26–27)
  • Paul’s passion to communicate the truth (28–2:1)
    • The truth: hidden treasure revealed (2–3)
  • Paul’s passion to communicate the truth (4–7)

Colossians 1:23b-2:7

A. 23–25 Paul’s passion to communicate the truth

  • What is all this about Paul filling up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ?
    • Did Paul think that Jesus’ suffering on the cross was insufficient, and needed Paul’s sufferings to complete it?
    • Paul cannot possibly mean that, since only a few verses later [2:13–14] he says that Jesus’ death totally cancelled our sins
  • In Isaiah 49, It was prophecied that Jesus would be a light to the Gentiles
    • But when he ascended to heaven, this work was hardly started
      • Jesus work on the cross was finished, but the work of taking the Gospel to the nations had hardly started
    • We do not help Jesus do his work on the cross—it is done!
      • but we do help him with the work of spreading the gospel
      • and this often entails suffering
  • So the picture in [1:24] is of a container that represents the whole work of salvation
    • It is mostly full—Christ has completed a full payment for sin
    • All that is required to fill up the container it to spread the gospel
    • And Jesus has graciously invited us to participate in this task
  • Paul is entrusted with a “stewardship”
    • he is given the great responsibility of God directly revealing the gospel to him
    • What is it?

B. 26–27 The truth: hidden treasure revealed

  • notice how he builds it up to a climax, leaving the revelation to the end
    • In the O.T. there was a very hazy understanding of what the Messiah would be like
    • It is hard for us (who know) to take ourselves back to that time
      • a king was promised, in the line of David
      • but there was also mention of a prophet like Moses
      • and there were prophecies that hinted of a new priest
      • yet Isaiah talks about a suffering servant who would be sacrificed
        • Some Jews in the Qumran community (Dead Sea Scrolls) even speculated 3 Messiah’s!
    • But nobody would ever have guessed that God himself would become a man
      • and then die as a sacrifice
    • Paul speaks of it as a “mystery”
  • Now if I was come up to you and tell you I was entrusting you with a great mystery
    • that had been kept secret since the beginning of the world
    • you might think that you had to keep it quiet
  • But for Paul it is the opposite, because what God was trusting him to do
    • was not to keep it quiet
    • quite the opposite—he was to proclaim it all over the world
  • So what was this “mystery” ?
  • a “mystery” is something we would never have known unless God had revealed it to us
  • the heart of this truth is Christ in you
    • This is how Paul is building a bridge from the last passage (amazing Jesus)
      • to our struggle on a Monday morning
    • This Christ is in us —and that is the basis for our hope
  • But there is another level to this mystery, which he goes on to explain
    • SKip over the middle verses for now

D. 2–3 The truth: hidden treasure revealed

  • Not only is Jesus hidden in us,
    • but all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Jesus
  • So we are carrying around inside us, all the wealth and glory imaginable
    • inside us!
  • with the result that we have
    • encouragement, love that knits us together, riches of assurance, riches of understanding
    • Do you really know what you have?
  • Do you remember when the angel told Mary that she would become pregnant with the son of God?
    • Can you imagine what it must have been like for her, knowing that the new life inside her body was actually God!!!
      • (probably harder for us guys... :)
    • In some ways it is like that for us, but only more so
      • Mary couldn’t communicate with the Jesus living in her,
      • But we can communicate with Jesus who is in us
    • Is this a bit complicated? —yes —well Paul will explain what it actually means in the next part of Colossians
  • But let’s go back for a moment:

C. 28–2:1 – Why so much about Paul?

  • Now here is a problem (you might have noticed it)
    • Why is there so much about Paul?
    • Show sections 1, 3 & 5
  • Imagine if you are at the church at Colosse and you are reading this letter together
    • It has quite an impact
    • You certainly get the idea that Paul is very emotional about what he is teaching
  • If I say to you
    • “Algonquin Park is very beautiful, you should go there for a visit”
      • You may or may not decide to go
  • If I say
    • I am captivated by the beauty of the place
    • It consumes my every waking moment, it is the jewel of Canada
      • I spend the winters, planning how I can spend my summers in the park
    • My life’s destiny is to tell others about the park
      • I will do whatever it takes to get you there, no matter how much time or energy it takes me
    • Now you take me a bit more seriously—maybe I should go there sometime
  • We cannot separate our message from ourselves
    • Paul cannot talk objectively about the Gospel!!!!
    • This message drives his life, down to the core of his being!
    • The word here translated “struggling” is actually taken from the athletic competitions
  • Now (in [2:4]) we get to see where Paul is going with this:

3. The Application

E. 4–7 Paul’s passion to communicate the truth

  • The problem is that they might get deluded by persuasive arguments [2:4]
    • And so this is why they need to know what treasure they already have
  • If I gave to Anne a diamond necklace, mode of the largest and most valuable diamonds in the world
    • Could someone else tempt her to buy some immitation cut-glass baubles?
  • You will always have people telling you about some amazing new thing that is the answer to problems in the Christian life
    • Let me tell you: You already have everything!
    • You have Jesus living inside you
    • And he is the ruler of the universe
    • He has in his right hand all wealth and wisdom and power and beauty and victory
      • and He is in you!!!!
  • I want to end with verses 6 & 7
    1. Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,
    2. rooted and built up in him and established in the faith,
      just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
  • Three things to remember
    1. Be rooted, built up and established in Jesus
      • by simply grasping hold of the truth, that this extraordiary being we call Jesus is in you
        • and he is yours, so what more do you need
    2. Be as excited as Paul, that you get to be part of the process of spreading salvation
      • this is not intended to be a guilt-trip —How many people have you led to Christ this week?
      • but to be an infectious excitement that others can’t help notice
    3. Thanksgiving is a constant theme in Colossians
      • occurring 7 times in these four short chapters
      • This is how I want us to respond right now.
        Everyone stand and call out your individual thanks to God, either aloud or quietly, however you want

Updated on 2016-10-19 by Andrew Fountain