*This blog post was adapted from Pastor Bobby’s sermon on 2/27/2022. You can find the sermon video below.
If you are a Christian living in today’s world, it’s easy to see that we are in an ideological war.
For example, our culture teaches kids that God is within them. Self-belief is elevated and the need for God is removed. This philosophy is known as humanism or “an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.”
There are also issues and various philosophies regarding:
This situation is not unique to us. Christians have faced these kinds of challenges since the birth of the Church.
The Letter of Paul to the Colossians was probably written around 62 AD while Paul was imprisoned in Rome. This letter is a masterpiece and the most vivid sculpture of the image of Christ that we have. In Colossians, Paul gives us a beautiful picture of the supremacy of Christ over all things.
Similar to today, Colossae was also experiencing an ideological war. The primary philosophy was gnosticism, which is “the belief that human beings contain a piece of God (the highest good or a divine spark) within themselves.” Gnostics worshipped knowledge. They did not believe that Jesus was the ultimate savior. Instead, they believed he was one of many options.
Paul addressed this philosophy directly. In Colossians 1:15, he called Christ “the image of the invisible God.” In Colossians 2:9, he added, “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” These verses leave no doubt that Christ was God himself and the one and only savior.
There was also a war over religious legalism. Both Jews and Gentiles lived in Colossae. Many people argued about how to reach God, which meant jumping through countless hoops. This type of legalism either led to pride (“I’m doing great!”) or debilitating shame (“I’ll never be good enough”).
Paul addresses this in Colossians as well. He tells them that everyone can be made perfect in Christ (1:28) and not to be brought into subjection with laws (2:20).
The church in Colossae was feeling the pressure of this ideological war around them and they were struggling with a sense of hopelessness.
In Colossians 1:3–5, Paul writes, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel.”
When you receive the gospel and decide to put the full weight of your trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross, that is faith. We don’t rely on ourselves or in our good works to save us, but in Christ alone. But our faith is active – it changes us.
This faith leads to increased love. We become more patient, kinder, less boastful, less arrogant, less rude. We don’t insist on having our own way. We become less irritable and resentful. We do not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoice with the truth. (1 Corinthians 13:4-6)
The church in Colossae had put their faith in Christ and the reputation their love had spread all the way to Rome!
Where do this faith and love spring from? Colossians 1:5 says, “the faith and love that spring from the hope,” which suggests that hope is foundational.
Hope is a deep conviction and confidence in the future. Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
As believers in Christ at this moment in time, we need to have hope. We’ve just been through a worldwide pandemic and now we are experiencing “rumors of war.” If we don’t cling to our hope in Christ, we could descend into despair.
And where does our hope come from? The gospel – the “good news” of Christ! It’s the image of the war messenger running and yelling, “We won! The war is over!” We no longer have to strive. THE WAR HAS BEEN WON!
The gospel is the most glorious message you will ever hear. It’s real, powerful, and eternal. It’s the hope of the world!
We are living in a world where people are giving up on hope. As followers in Christ, this is our time to rise up. Let’s not be discouraged by the news, but trust in our eternal hope. Let’s thank God continually and put our faith in Him. And let’s spread the hope of the gospel with a world that desperately needs it!
Mandy manages CFC’s social media presence. She started attending CFC in 2016 after God led her to visit the church with her husband, Ben. Mandy also serves on the Writing and Research Team for the Women’s Ministry and as a preschool teacher for Community Kids. She is grateful for the opportunity to combine her love of content creation with her desire to serve the Lord. Mandy lives in Lancaster with Ben and their three girls: Elyse, Evelyn, and Ella.