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The Conversion of the Colossians - Colossians 1:21-23

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Introduction

1. We noticed in the previous lesson that Paul was describing the pre-eminent Christ

2. The last point made by Paul was that Jesus was the reconciler of all things

3. As a case in point, Paul reminds the Colossians they too had been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ

4. In this study we will examine the conversion of the Colossians as described in this passage, with a view towards understanding and appreciating our own reconciliation with God

 

Body

I. THE CONVERSION OF THE COLOSSIANS

A. BEFORE THEIR CONVERSION

1. Paul said they were alienated and enemies

a. The word alienated means to be shut out from one's fellowship and intimacy

b. The word enemies describes that which is:

1) hated, odious, hateful

2) hostile, hating, and opposing another;

3) used of men as at enmity with God by their sin

2. Why were they this way?

a. Because in both THOUGHT and DEED they were sinners!

b. As Paul writes: enemies in your mind by wicked works

B. BUT NOW THEY ARE RECONCILED!

1. How so? Two things are mentioned in the context

a. Earlier, in verse 20, Paul mentions the blood of His cross

b. In verses 21-22, they were reconciled in the body of His flesh through death

c. Both of these phrases emphasize that Jesus suffered IN THE FLESH, something some people in those days denied 2 John 1:7; Hebrews 2:9,14

2. Through the offering of Jesus' body and blood, they were now reconciled to God; they are now presented to God as:

a. holy - sanctified, set apart for God's use

b. blameless - without being guilty of anything worthy of blame

c. irreproachable - guilty of nothing that can be called into to account; unreproveable, unaccused, blameless

3. Note that this wonderful condition is how GOD viewed them (in His sight)!

C. THEIR RECONCILIATION TO GOD AND EXALTED CONDITION CONTINUES IF:

1. They continue in the faith

2. They remain grounded and steadfast

3. They are not moved away from the hope of the gospel

D. IN THE CONVERSION OF THE COLOSSIANS, WE HAVE SEEN:

1) That they had been grave sinners, enemies and alienated from God

2) Yet, they had been reconciled to God

a) Through Jesus' death on the cross

b) Such so they were now holy, blameless, and irreproachable in His sight

3) But their reconciliation appears conditional, dependent upon their continued faithfulness and steadfast hope!

 

II. OBSERVATIONS AND APPLICATIONS

A. THE COLOSSIANS' CONDITION PRIOR TO RECONCILIATION WAS NOT UNIQUE

1. True, they had been wicked sinners, enemies, and alienated from God

2. But so were we all! Ephesians 2:1-3; Titus 3:3

3. Anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant of:

a. The terribleness of sin

b. The awesome holiness and justice required of God's character

4. To better understand how the opposition of sin and God's holiness

a. Consider what ONE sin will do: make us as guilty as though we have broken the entire law! James 2:10

b. Consider the price necessary to redeem us from sin - the death of God's Beloved Son!

c. Contemplate the words of anguish uttered by Jesus as He bore our sins upon the cross (My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?) - Matthew 27:46

B. OUR RECONCILIATION WITH GOD IS MADE POSSIBLE ONLY THROUGH JESUS' DEATH ON THE CROSS

1. Good works cannot reconcile us back to God

a. Such as church-going, acts of mercy and kindness, etc.

b. If so, then Cornelius would have been saved by them

1) For he certainly was a good man - Acts 10:1-2

2) But as recounted by Peter, the angel told Cornelius that he still needed to have Peter tell him what to do to be saved - Acts 11:13-14

2. Though good works are essential as disciples of Jesus Christ (Titus 2:14; 3:1, 8, 14), the bottom line is this:

a. We are justified (declared not guilty) by Christ's blood - Romans 5:9

b. Only the blood of His cross can cleanse us from sin! - Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:7

3. The crucial question, then, is how can one benefit from the blood of Jesus?

a. At first, through a penitent faith when we are baptized into Christ - Acts 2:38

1) For in baptism, we are united with Christ in His death - Romans 6:3-8

2) And in baptism, we are clothed with Christ - Galatians 3:27

3) So united with Christ and clothed with Him, we enjoy all the spiritual blessings to be found by being in Him, including redemption through His blood! - Ephesians 1:7

b. Then, as needed, we have access to the blood of Jesus through repentance and prayer - 1 John 1:9; Acts 8:22

4. Only in this way can we be holy, blameless, and irreproachable in God's sight!

C. OUR RECONCILIATION IS CONDITIONAL!

1. Notice again that Paul says IF INDEED YOU CONTINUE... Colossians 1:23

a. Once saved (reconciled to God), we can still be lost!

b. What about the security of the believer?

1) Though the Bible does teach the security of the BELIEVER

2) It also teaches the insecurity of the UNBELIEVER

3) And it teaches that a BELIEVER, if not diligent, can become an UNBELIEVER! Hebrews 3:12-15; 16 - 4:2, 11

2. And so, Paul emphasizes that we must continue in the faith, which involves:

a. Being grounded and steadfast (thus the need for follow-up)

b. not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which can occur through:

1) Error or false doctrine - 2 Peter 3:17

2) Temptations to sin - 2 Peter 2:20-22

3) Trials and hardships in life - Revelations 2:10

 

Conclusion

1. What have we learned from the conversion of the Colossians?

a. First, a reminder to those who are Christians

1) Of where they once were

2) Of the blessings they now enjoy in Christ

3) Of the need to remain faithful to the end

b. But also, a lesson to those not Christians

1) Pointing out where they are right now in their sins, as God views them

2) Revealing where they can be, if they will respond so as to benefit from the blessings of Jesus' death on the cross

3) That being a Christian will require continued steadfastness and growth on their part

2. We close with an observation concerning Paul's remark about the gospel, which even in his day was preached to every creature under heaven

a. In this lesson, I have shared the basics of the gospel to every person who receives this lesson

b. Have you obeyed the gospel? If not, why not now? Remember it was Jesus who said: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Mark 16:15-16

 

Are You Saved?

 

-- Don Treadway, May 2009 --

 


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