Stephen Caswell ©1999
According to an old legend, a man became lost in his travels and wandered into a bed of quicksand.
Confucius saw the man's predicament and said, "It is evident that men should stay out of places such as this."
Next, Buddha observed the situation and said, "Let that man's plight be a lesson to the rest of the world."
Then Mohammed came by and said to the sinking man, "Alas, it is the will of God." Finally, Jesus appeared.
Take my hand, brother, he said, and I will save you.
Paul lead people from error to the truth by the Gospel.
But he also helped them stay in the truth.
/How Do You Remain Steadfast In Christ?/ /How do you guard against being lead astray by false teachers?/
Last time we looked at Colossians we saw Paul's example as a faithful minister.
Tonight we begin to look at his instruction to the Colossian Church.
Paul is concerned for them because false teachers have come to town.
Paul knew that Satan always seeks to lead new Christians into error before they become established.
Satan offers them something that will supposedly make them complete.
Paul says that you have it all in Christ!
/How do you remain steadfast in Christ?/
By going on to maturity.
Continue the same way you started.
Paul gave three instructions to the Colossians regarding this.
Walk By Faith
/Firstly/ To Watch Out
*Colossians 2:4* /Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words./
Paul was concerned that the Gnostic Teachers might deceive the Colossians with smooth talk.
They claimed to have special knowledge and new revelations that would make the Colossian Christians complete.
/We don't have people who offer this type of experience today, do we?/
So Paul warns them to be on their guard.
In fact Paul said that in Christ were hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
There was nothing more to be known outside of Jesus Christ.
This should have been a comfort to the Colossians.
To know that they didn't need to search any further.
That everything that God wanted them to know was in Christ.
It should also have been a challenge for them to know Christ in a deeper way.
The Colossians hadn't been lead astray yet.
However they were being targeted by the false teachers and Paul thought it best to warn them to watch out.
This is confirmed by verse 5.
*Colossians 2:5* /For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
/Paul rejoiced after hearing the good news about the Colossian Church from Epaphras.
They were maintaining good order and steadfastness.
The words */order/* and */steadfastness/* are military terms.
*/Order/* means well regulated conduct, to keep rank, orderliness.
The Church members were serving like a well drilled army with each soldier in his proper place.
The Colossian believers were working together with their leaders in Christ's army.
The word */steadfastness/* means to present a solid front.
This meant that each soldier was taking up their post against the enemy.
The old saying united we stand divided we fall is very true for the Christian Church.
Believers need discipline and obedience if they are going to make progress in the Christian life.
The Colossians were doing this.
They hadn't turned aside quickly after the false teachers like the Galatian Church had done.
Paul warned the Colossian Church to watch out for false teachers with persuasive words.
We do well to heed this warning.
/Are you careful when people come to the front door?/
Share the Gospel with them.
But don't trust anyone who denies Christ's deity.
Anyone that would try to add some knowledge or experience to what we have in Jesus Christ is a false teacher.
All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him.
We don't need something new.
We simply need to grasp more of Him.
We just need to know Christ better.
In fact the better we know Him the less chance there is of being lead astray.
*/As well as instructing the Colossians to watch out he commanded them /*
/Secondly /To Walk By Faith
*Colossians 2:6* /As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,/
The Story of Blonden
Around the 1850s there was a famous tightrope walker.
He was probably the greatest tightrope walker of all time, his name was Blonden.
He walked over the Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
In fact he also did it blindfolded.
He wheeled a wheelbarrow across and even stopped in the middle for a snack.
At a press conference he asked a reporter whether he thought it was possible for him to carry a man across on his shoulders.
The reporter replied certainly I believe you could do that.
Then Blonden said let's go, you are the man.
However the reporter declined the offer.
His faith in Blonden was only theoretical, he wasn't prepared to put his life on the line.
/How do we receive Christ Jesus the Lord? /By faith!
The word received here implies a one time action.
We receive Christ with the result that we always have Him, or should I say that he has us.
Paul commands us to walk with Christ the same way we received Him, by faith.
/How do we walk by faith?
How did we first receive Christ? Did anyone here see Christ come into their life.
But you did see the difference He made after He came in, didn't you?
/You knew God's forgiveness and peace.
You have received His assurance of eternal life./
/You continue to see answers to prayer.
All these things we receive by faith.
/How then do we walk by faith?/
We simply believe that He is with us and will enable us to live for Him.
We can't see Christ with us, but when we rely on Him for strength and grace He never fails us.
The trouble is that most believers start their Christian life by faith and then try to finish it by works!
It doesn't work.
/The just shall live by faith./