Colossians 1:1-8

Dr. Steve Viars August 27, 1994 Colossians 1:1-8

- I'd like to challenge you in several ways as we begin this series:

  1) I'd like to encourage you to make the goal of gaining a solid
       understanding of this book in it's entirety.

     - I realize that for some of you, you've just recently become a
         Christian, or you've just recently begun studying the Bible.
     - that’s OK, but the way you learn the Scripture is learning it verse
         by verse and book by book.
     - I hope many in our class will say, "I want to make the book of
        Colossians mine" in the sense that I work hard this fall at
        understanding the message of this book.

     - that will require several things:
         a) being as faithful to our studies as you possibly can.

         b) it will require some outside reading and study.

             - perhaps make a goal of reading the book all the way
                through each week, in several different versions.

              - perhaps buy a commentary and follow along:
                  recommend several.

         c) if questions come up, please jot them down as you study, and
             we can either discuss them as a class or get together on the
             phone or for a meal.

             - point is - I hope you'll make it your goal to get a good
                solid handle on the book of Colossians this fall.

  2) I'd also like to challenge you to look for as many opportunities as
      possible this fall to apply truths from the book of Colossians to
      daily living.
        - we always study Scripture to learn how we can grow and change
           as we apply God's truths.
        - the message of this book will help us know our Lord more
            completely, and challenge us to serve Him more faithfully.

        - I hope each week you'll look for concrete and specific ways to
           take the truths we're studying and apply them to specific
           situations you're facing.

  3) I'd also like to ask you to think about a friend who may be
       benefited by our study together.
       - it would be great if we were able to "add to our ranks" through
          sharing the message of this great book.

- before we look at the first 8 verses together this morning, I'd like to
   give a very general outline of the book. (from Dyte)

I. Christ, the Perfect Source of Our Salvation (Chapter 1)

II. Christ, the Perfect Object of Our Worship (Chapter 2)

III. Christ, the Perfect Lord of Our Life (Chapter 3)

IV. Christ, the Perfect Master of Relationships (Chapter 4)

- perhaps the key verse of the book is Colossians 2:10 - READ

    - I'm not saying that every last verse fits into this outline, but
       what I like about it is:
         1) it's simple to remember
         2) it puts the focus on our Lord, which is exactly the focus of
              the book.
         3) it directs us to key areas of life which are affected and
              influenced by our Savior.

- with that in mind, let's move over today to the first 8 verses of
   chapter 1.

- we're talking about "the gospel truth."

- most of us had heard that phrase and used that phrase, usually when
   we wanted to stress the sincerity of something we were saying.
- "this is something I strongly believe, and I want you to believe it--
    it's the gospel truth."

      - I don't know that anyone knows where that phrase originated, but
        it very well could have come from verses like Colossians 1:5--
          "for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you
            heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel."

- these 8 verses are going to tell us what the gospel truth is -- and how
   it will affect those who have truly believed.

- READ 1:1-8

- let's just take a minute and make a couple of observations about the
   salutation in verses 1-2.
- you know who Paul is - and Pastor will be studying many of the personal
   details of his life and conversion in the coming weeks in the book of

INPUT - what do you make of the fact that Paul included Timothy in his
         greeting?  (a team player, not a one-man show)

INPUT - what did he mean when he addressed them as "saints"?  (saved
        ones, holy ones, those who have been saved and growing in

INPUT - was he talking to a different group when he spoke of the
         "faithful brethren?" (no)
        - INPUT - what can we make of that? (people who are genuine
            saints are growing in their faithfulness, they also cherish
            their place in the family of God--they are brethren).

- in the rest of the verses of this section, Paul is telling the
   Colossians about how and why He regularly thanks God for them.
- his thanks for them is "gospel centered" - how they received the gospel
  when they heard, and the gospel has had a profound impact on their

I. The Gospel Truth Is Received By Faith

    - read verse 4a

    - Paul was always very clear about what it was that brought a person
       into the family of God.
    - He didn't want there to be any confusion about this matter of how a
       person enters the family of God//how a person is reconciled to the
       - the message of the Bible is that salvation is by faith in Jesus

    A. Faith's definition

       - please turn over to I Cor. 15:1-4
       - when we think about the word "gospel," we need to think about
          this passage.
       - it's often referred to as "the gospel in a nutshell."
       - READ

          - the essence of the gospel is believing in the death, burial,
             and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

        - let's remind ourselves about some important truths concerning
            biblical faith.

        1) involves belief/trust

            - biblical faith isn't just intellectual assent
            - we're not talking about saying things like:
               - I believe in God
               - I believe the facts of the Bible
               - I believe Jesus died on the cross

            - biblical faith involves personal belief and personal trust

            - we're talking about personally accepting Christ's free gift
               of salvation by staking our lives and our eternity on the
               shed blood of Christ.
            - Paul reminded Timothy "For I know whom I have believed, and
                am persuaded that He is able, to keep that which I've
                committed, unto Him against that day."

            - the writer of Hebrews said it this way, "Now faith is the
               substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not

            - point is - biblical faith involves personal belief/trust--
                 not mere intellectual assent.

        2) involves repentance

            - repentance means to turn around
               - it's a repudiation of the old life and a turning to God
                   for salvation.
            - please look over at I Thes. 1:9 for a good example of this.
            - READ
- now we're not saying that "faith plus repentance equals salvation"
   - we're saying that biblical faith always involves repentance.

   - it's a turning to God
   - a turning from sin
   - an intent to serve Him

        3) involves a desire to obey

- again we're not adding to biblical faith, we're seeking to define it.
   - the word faith comes from a root that literally means "obey"

   - so often times the Bible uses "faith" and "obedience" interchangeably

   - you may remember this verse from Acts 6:7 - "And the Word of God
      increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem
      greatly, and a great company of the priests...??? - were obedient
      to the faith."

   - there are many, many examples like that in the Scripture.

   - again, we're not talking about faith plus works--we're not talking
      about faith plus anything...but we have to define biblical faith

- let's make one more observation about what this passage teaches about

    B. Faith's object

        - notice in verse 4 that Paul didn't stop by saying, "since we
            heard of your faith."
        - it's adequate for a person to say things like:
             - "well, I have faith"
             - "I believe"
             - "I've made my peace with God."

        - biblical faith always has an object, and that object must
           always be the Holy Son of God who died on cross to pay the
           penalty for our sins.

- now, let's pause here and ask a couple of questions:

    1) I realize that you might say--PV, I've known these ideas for years
         and years.  I cut my eye teeth on hearing presentations of the
           - that’s great--I'm glad you were blessed in that way.
           - but let me ask you this--do the people around you know it?

           - I believe that our world is not gospel hardened--it's gospel
                - many of the people that live and work right around you
                   and me would not know the truth of gospel, because no
                   one ever told them.

           - you have to ask yourself, why would that be?
              - perhaps one answer is -- because we've become less and
                  less "gospel centered" in our own lifestyles.
              - perhaps the issue of whether or not a person has trusted
                  the gospel of Jesus Christ isn't that important of an
                  evaluator to us.

- Paul is modeling something for us here that we ought not to miss--
     - he didn't say - I'm thankful to God that your business is going
     - I'm thankful that you have plenty of nice clothes to wear

     - when I think of you, the most important thing to me is whether
        you've accepted the gospel--and whether that gospel message is
        having the impact on your life that God intended it to have.

    2) a second question - are you seeking to make your presentations of
        the gospel as thorough and biblical as possible?

        - we've taken the time we have this morning on this subject
           because we want to be sure we don't fall into a syrupy
           presentation of the gospel.
             - God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.

        - We would request your prayers for the implications of this to
           our counseling ministry.
             - it's tempting to fall into a "just take Jesus and He'll
                 make your life better mode."

                 - Develop

- so the gospel truth is received by faith

II. The Gospel Truth Results In Love

    - verse 4b

    - Paul regularly thanks God the gospel they believed is changing
       their life
         - especially in one of the critical areas of life for a
             believer--that is their love.

    - let's look over at the book of I John for a minute and see how
       important this quality is.

    - read I John 2:9-11, 3:10, 3:14-15, 4:20

    - let's ask a couple of questions to help us apply this to our

        INPUT - what are some ways we can show love to one another in our
          SS class and church family?

    - notice also that this verse says that the Colossians showed love
       for whom?  (all brethren)

       INPUT - what are some groups of folks who may be overlooked in a
         church ministry and what can we do about that?

- INPUT - what's the last question we need to ask before we leave this
    section?  (How would you evaluate yourself in this critical area, and
    what would you have to do to improve?)


III. The Gospel Truth Rests In Hope

    - verse 5a

    - now we've got the "biblical triad" that we see so many places in
       Scripture -- faith, hope, and love.

    - Paul thanks the Lord that these dear believers are filled with

    - there's a number of verses we could study in this regard
       - let me just ask you to jot down I Peter 1:3-4, Heb. 6:18-19, I
           John 3:1-2.

    - see, why were they willing to sacrifice and show love one for
       - it's because they had hope.
       - they sacrificed the present on the altar of the future.

       - we need to see that that approach to life is exactly opposite of
          our world
            - our world says, buy now--pay later.
            - the Christian is willing to sacrifice now and receive
                rewards later.

      - Paul said it this way in Romans 8 - "For I consider the
         sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared
         with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

      - God's people want to change and grow and have a life that is
          effective for Him because they have hope.

      - Jim Elliot, the missionary who gave his life to reach the Auca
          Indians for Christ said, He is no fool who gives what he cannot
          keep, to gain what he cannot lose.

      - a good question for each of us to ask today is, what evidence is
          there in my life that I have biblical hope?

IV. The Gospel Truth Reproduces Fruit

    - verse 5-6

    - Paul and others could tell that the Colossian's faith was genuine
        because of the fruit it produced in their lives.
    - John 15:16 - Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and
        ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit...

    - these people were changing themselves, and others were being saved
         as a result.

- the point of this section is - the Lord Jesus Christ is a sufficient
      - He's all you need to reconcile you to the Father
      - He's all you need to change your life into a vessel that is
          pleasing to Him, and effective for Him.
      - He's all you need to be sure you're on your way to heaven.

      - you are, as Col. 2:10 says--"And you are complete in Him, who is
          the head of all principality and power."

- The Lord Jesus Christ is our sufficient Savior.
- but that’s the rub.
   - it was the problem in their day, and it's a great problem in our

   - many voices are saying--the life-giving and life-changing gospel of
      Jesus Christ is not enough.

   - INPUT - ways that is being said today?

       1) works

       2) tongues

       3) psychology

       4) mysticism

       5) materialism

- the question for you and me is -- will we live in a way that
   communicates that we believe the gospel of Jesus Christ is sufficient?

- what a great gospel--this gospel of truth!

    1) Proclaim it - Mark 4:23

    2) Defend it's veracity - Phil. 1:16
         believers are "appointed for the defense of the gospel"

    3) Work hard to advance it - Phil. 1:27
         - "strive together for the faith of the gospel."

    4) Pursue the fellowship of the gospel - Acts 2:42

    5) Be ready to suffer for the gospel - II Tim. 1:8

    6) Don't let your lifestyle hinder the gospel - I Cor. 9:12

    7) Never be ashamed of the gospel - Rom. 1:16

    8) Realize that the gospel carries divine empowerment - I Thes. 1:15

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video