mysterious, invisible force produced an unusual community event in April, 1994
in Cuylerville, New York. Residents awakened one morning to find the community
sinking. Huge sinkholes began to form when a nearby salt mine collapsed. Portions
of farms, homes, roads and parks began to sink. One lady woke up to find her
backyard gone along with her patio furniture. Residents lived in the adventure
of, “What’s going to happen next?”
first century church at Colossae lived in the drama of, “What’s going
to happen next?” Paul writes to fill in the gaps of their sinking faith
and to strengthen the weaknesses of the foundation of the church by proclaiming
Christ. Paul’s letters rebuild faith, renew a spiritual foundation, and
anchor the soul for the storms that come. They also instruct people in the way
of Christ and His upward calling in the downward pull of evil. What does Paul
say to strengthen the foundation of the Colossian Christians?
Work: Reconciliation (1:15-20).
knows that Christ’s upward call to His light overpowers the downward pull
of evil’s darkness. Christ is the deliverer (Col. 1:13), the redeemer (Col.
1:14), the creator (Col. 1:15-16), and the God who holds all things together
(Col. 1:18). In the words of an old song, He’s got the whole world in his
scholar Lightfoot says, “He [Christ] is the principal cohesion of the universe.”
God supplies spiritual glue for the soul to hold life together.
primary work is to lift up what is being pulled down by reconciling all things
to himself (Col. 1:19-20). It was God the Father’s good pleasure for all
fullness to dwell in Christ so that Christ’s fullness could work in you.
Christ’s fullness ushers in reconciliation. The Greek word for reconciliation
means to exchange hospitality, to create a bond of friendship, and to renounce
wrath by replacing it with grace. The invisible God works in you.
work is simple: to deliver peace to the soul of a person and to the world. Frederick
Buechner says, “Peace has come to mean the time when there aren’t
any wars or even when there aren’t any major wars. Beggars can’t be
choosers; we’d most of us settle for that. But in Hebrew, peace, shalom,
means fullness, means having everything you need to be wholly and happily yourself.
. . . For Jesus, peace seems to have meant not the absence of struggle but the
presence of love.”
fullness reconciles us to His love demonstrated through the cross.
Work in You: Change the Soul (Col. 1:21-22).
work on the cross becomes a work in you. God’s work is soul work: the scrubbing
of the soul, the cleansing of the soul, and the revitalizing of the soul much
like refurbishing the interior of a home. God’s reconciling work invites
you to make room for God. What takes place when you make room in the soul for
reconditions your heart through the cross so that you are no longer alienated
from Christ but become a friend to Him (Col. 1:21). Paul indicates that believers
are welcomed into Christ’s circle to participate in his obligations as
a citizen of the kingdom of God. These obligations end hostility toward God
and rearrange personal priorities.
W. Tozer says, “The whole course of life is upset by the failure to put
God where he belongs.” Christ’s upward call sets the soul’s priorities
on God as the head (Col. 1:18).
work in you to change the soul places you near Christ in such a manner that
the interior life fills with Christ, thus supplying holiness, blamelessness,
and a life beyond reproach (Col. 1:22). Christ’s work on the cross becomes
a work in the soul.
Work in You Secures Hope (Col. 1:23-28)
regresses back to the foundation of the Gospel, an established and firm foundation
in Christ (Col. 1:23). Christ establishes the foundation past, present, and
future. The foundation finds daily meaning in personal faith which cannot be
dislodged or shifted or moved away from the hope of Christ (Col. 1:23).
every downward force of evil Christ pulls the believer upward because of his
hope. Hope is something treasured (Col. 1:5), something anchored into life (Col.
1:23), and something for which the believer anxiously waits (Col. 1:27).
shifting sand of culture pulls at us. The shifting sand of evil struggles with
us. The shifting sand of destruction seeks to destroy us. Christ anchors us.
Paul preaches Christ. He ministers God’s Word.
supplies the hope of glory. The Christian need not worry about what happens
next because He is our hope. For those sinking, rise in His hope as Christ fills
brief provided by: John Duncan, Pastor, Lakeside Baptist Church, Granbury, TX