Established in Him

Steve Viars February 12, 2017 Colossians 2:1-7

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Colossians 1:28-29 - We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

3 characteristics of people who are rooted in Christ alone

I. Encouraged Hearts

A.  Definition

parakalew – “to call alongside”

“There was a Greek regiment which had lost heart and was utterly dejected.  The general sent a leader to talk to it to such purpose that courage was reborn and a body of dispirited men became fit again for heroic action.  That is what [parakalew] means here.  It is Paul’s prayer that the Church may be filled with that courage which can cope with any situation.” (Barclay, Colossians, p. 129)

B. Worth striving for

Colossians 2:1 - For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face…

Colossians 1:29 - For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

C. Characterized by unifying love

Colossians 2:2 - …that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love…

D. Grounded in the sufficiency of Christ

Colossians 2:2-3 - …that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

II. Protected Minds

Colossians 2:4 - I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.

Colossians 2:8 - See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

A. The possibility of being beguiled

beguile/delude – paralogizomai

“to reckon wrong, to deceive by false reasoning, delude, to lead astray” (Weust, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, vol. I. p. 197)

B. The power of enticing words

enticing – pithanlogia – “persuasiveness of speech, specious discourse leading others into error”

Colossians 1:28 - We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

III. Stable Walk

1. An army that’s disciplined – v. 5 – your good discipline and the stability of your faith

2. A pilgrim who travels – v. 6 – so walk in Him

3. A tree that’s rooted – v. 7a – having been firmly rooted

4. A facility that’s built – v. 7b – now being built up in Him

5. A school where you’re taught – v. 7c – just as you were instructed

6. A river that flows – v. 7d – overflowing with gratitude

verse 7 – …established in your faith…

Outlined Manuscript

- It’s always interesting to me what the Lord sovereignly allows me to experience around the time I’m preparing one of our Sunday messages…

- I generally prepare on Tuesdays as our church family knows…and this week on Monday I was over at the FE community center and I observed one of the ladies of our church sitting down with one of the graduates of Vision of Hope for a time of friendship and mentoring…

- then when I came out of the locker room a little while later…there was one of the retired men of Faith sitting with a graduate from our Jobs to Life program downtown talking about what was happening in his life…

- then I came back over to the counseling center and there were several moms whose kids are grown now and have the bandwidth to share their wisdom with other younger ladies in counseling…

- in the next office was one of our young professional men with his tie still on because he just came from work and was now helping a couple with their marriage…

- then a man who has been a member of this church over 50 years whose counselees absolutely adore him…getting ready to work with yet another couple looking for help and guidance…

- and I thought – what a beautiful picture of the church body in action…this wasn’t a Sunday – it was a Monday…and what tied those stories together was the crucible of a loving relationship…it was friends talking…

- and authenticity – not just about sports or the weather – but important matters of heart and life…

- from the Word of God – in most cases, everyone had Bibles in front of them – but not every case – because you can speak biblical truth to one another in all sorts of ways…

- and ultimately – grounded in Christ…they weren’t discussions about a book – they were discussions about a Savior…

- again – a beautiful picture of the church body in action in the community…very much like…Colossians 1:28–29 - We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

- with that in mind, I’d like to invite you to open your Bible to Colossians chapter 2 this am…page 157 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you.

- our church’s theme this year is In Christ Alone…because this the 500th anniversary of the protestant reformation…and these words summarize the five solas of the reformation, that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to the Scriptures alone, to the glory of God alone…

- in these first months of the year, we’re doing a verse by verse study of the book of Colossians entitled Our Sufficiency in Christ…so this am we’d like to focus on chapter 2 verses 1-7…

- now, just a word about the overall schedule…I explained last week that we have several planned pit stops along the way – which is why last week we paused and gave an Introduction to the Reformation…so we weren’t in Colossians last week…

- I should also tell you that we have another pit stop next Sunday…that’s because we bring in a number of special speakers to help us for the BCTC and we often ask one of them to stay and minister the Word to our church family…

- …I’m happy to tell you that my friend Nicolas Ellen will be speaking to us next Sunday am…then the last of the month Pastors Aucoin and Green will take us back to the book of Colossians – and we’ll also be celebrating the Lord’s Table together in the morning services…

- so there’s a lot of variety around here this year for sure…

- now for our purposes this morning, we’re talking about being Established in Him…let’s learn more about what that means…

- read Colossians 2:1-7

- so we’re talking about being Established in Him, and with the time we have remaining, let’s think about 3 characteristics of people who are rooted in Christ alone.

I. Encouraged Hearts

A.  Definition

- parakalew – “to call alongside”

- it’s a compound word – para means next to, alongside of

- and kalew means to speak or call…

- that’s what the men and women I mentioned in the introduction were doing…

- they were taking time to strengthen or encourage others…

- In his commentary on Colossians, William Barclay said – There was a Greek regiment which had lost heart and was utterly dejected.  The general sent a leader to talk to it to such purpose that courage was reborn and a body of dispirited men became fit again for heroic action.  That is what [parakalew] means here.  It is Paul’s prayer that the Church may be filled with that courage which can cope with any situation (Barclay, Colossians, p. 129).

- part of the beauty of this is that parakalew, or its noun form, paraklete – is one of the names of the Holy Spirit…he is our divine comforter, our divine encourager…

- so when a person sits down with another man or woman and seeks to encourage them with the Word of God…that person is functioning as the hands and feet – perhaps even the mouth of God…

- and what’s required is – first that person has to be established – they have to be encouraged in the things of God themselves…

- and then willing to encourage someone else…established and establishing…strengthened and strengthening…encouraged and encouraging…

- and please notice this…Paul says that’s something…

B. Worth striving for.

- Colossians 2:1 - For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,

- struggle is the Greek word agon – who wants to guess what English word we get from that?...agony…when you get your hands dirty in the life of someone else…you are often entering their agony…and it can be agonizing…which is exactly why choose to look the other way…[even some who call themselves followers of Jesus]…

- but please don’t miss this…this is a very unfortunate chapter break [you understand that the chapter breaks were added later for our convenience…]

- Paul had just used in a form of this word in the previous verse…we read it a moment ago…

- Colossians 1:29 - For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

- when you seek to encourage someone’s heart – their inner person – with the truth of the Word of God…even if it’s agonizing as you join arms with them in their agony – in whose power are you striving?...”striving according to His power which mightily works within me”

- now, please follow the argument of verse 2…what is the effect of an encouraged heart?...

C. Characterized by unifying love

- Colossians 2:2 - that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love…

 - I mentioned that Jerry Jamison’s counselees love him – I know that to be true…

- and it doesn’t matter if he was raised in a different generation…[the one where dinosaurs walked the earth]…

- there is something loving and unifying about the process of encouragement…of strengthening someone else’s heart…

- and it has a powerful impact on the community…

- Francis Schaeffer said – the unity of the church is the final apologetic to the watching world...

- and when you think about how divided and broken our world is…

- along racial and economic lines…and political lines…and so many things over which to argue and fight and divide…

- when a group of people are characterized by encouraged hearts that are knit together…don’t you love that metaphor…knit together in love…what a beautiful sight to behold…

- that’s what I kept seeing in scene after scene after scene Monday…

- and keep reading though…all of this is…

D. Grounded in the sufficiency of Christ.

- Colossians 2:2–3 - that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

- all of this needs to be tied back to the beautiful and extended discussion of the person and work of Christ in the middle of chapter 1 that we walked through a couple of weeks ago…

- if you allow your eyes to just glance over chapter 1 verse 13 and following…and then connect that to what we just read – that it’s in Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…

- that’s why we said at the outset that ultimately all those conversations were not about a book…they were about a person, the Lord Jesus Christ…

- and of course I didn’t eavesdrop – but you can imagine this woman from our church family speaking with a graduate of Vision of Hope – encouraging her to continue to find her joy in what Jesus has done, and is doing, and will do in her as opposed to the temporary pleasure of some destructive habit…

- and it’s one thing to know that intellectually – but to have someone who will link arms with you and encourage your heart through the agonizing struggle with sin…and help you find the treasures of wisdom and knowledge of Him…that is a powerful and god-honoring pursuit…

- or to sit with a man of a different ethnicity who is trying to find a job…and to link arms and go to the throne of grace together –

- “let’s go talk to Jesus about that right now as brothers in Christ…”--- you know how encouraging that has to be…to someone’s heart…

- and all the ethnic barriers are broken down…who cares what color your skin is if you want to go to the throne of grace together?...

- all the economic barriers – you have more money than me…I have more money than you…who cares if we’re going to talk to the one who owns the cattle on a thousand hills?...

- can I ask you two questions about that….

1. are you putting yourself in a position where you’re drawing on the Lord and His people in such a way that your heart is encouraged in Him?...is it established?…strengthened?

2. Do you “strive according to His power” to impact others in that way?...formally and informally?...there’s a place for everybody in the church family in this particular endeavor…

- [develop – Serve 17…accomplishing this goal through children’s ministries…]

- [develop the gospel – all of this assumes that you know Christ personally]…

- a second characteristic of people rooted in Christ alone is having…

II. Protected Minds

- Colossians 2:4 - I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.

- now no one knows for sure what the Colossian heresy was…

- we can make educated guesses bases on what Paul emphasizes in the book…sort of as counter-punches to the false teaching…but we don’t know for sure…

- the Lord may have allowed that so the general principles about the sufficiency of Christ become even more timeless and therefore applicable to where we live today…

- we also know that it was intense – and while I don’t want to cross over into the territory pastors Aucoin and Green will be covering in a couple of weeks – but if we just peek at verse 8 – this is obviously serious business…

- Colossians 2:8 - See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

- so the goal here is – doing ministry and life in such a way that it results in protected minds…because of…

A. The possibility of being beguiled.

- beguile/delude – paralogizomai

- there’s the word “para” again – alongside…

- in this case – just like a mature brother or sister comes alongside someone in agony and encourages him…or encourages her…

- here’s someone who comes alongside “to reckon wrong, to deceive by false reasoning, delude, to lead astray” (Weust, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, vol. I. p. 197).

- and make no mistake about it…

B. The power of enticing words.

- enticing – pithanlogia – “persuasiveness of speech, specious discourse leading others into error.”

- and we see that everywhere we look…

- in education – the view that a child can be properly and comprehensively educated apart from the person and work of Christ – the one in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…

- that’s why I love it when one of the students from our youth group is in a speech class in a public school and he or she uses it as an opportunity to talk about a Christ-centered world and life view impacts the way they think about the assigned topic…

- if everyone else can talk about their favorite book or their favorite philosopher…this young person can surely talk about the Word of God and the person and work of Christ…

- and the clear message from the young person is – I have a Teflon mind – I’m so in love with Christ and have woven Him into the very fabric of my being – that when wrong ideas are presented to me – they won’t stick…I have a protected mind…

- the same is true in counseling…if you seek a secular license in counseling today…you are practically if not absolutely promising that you will not bring your religious beliefs into the counseling room or you stand the risk of losing your professional credential…

- that’s religious discrimination…it’s a violation of religious freedom…

- and so many people have said – you can take your license and…give it to someone else…

- because we have to talk about Jesus in counseling…

- because every person’s fundamental problem in one way, shape or form is sin…

- and every man’s solution, in one way, shape, or form – is the shed blood of Jesus Christ and the joyful reality of the empty tomb…

- so we reject the potentially deluding effect of enticing words that try to make sense of life apart from our sufficient Savior…in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…

- the same is true with all kinds of social service providers…and what’s interesting is that research is becoming more clear that some of the most effective programs are Christ centered…

- [mention Baylor study]…

- a community leader said in a room full of people recently that he was promoting faith based addictions programs because of the effective outcome she was seeing…

- so it is possible to have the kind of community ministry that results in men and women becoming more established, more stable…with encouraged hearts and protected minds…

- now, let’s broaden that out for a moment and talk about how that intersects with the accomplishment of the great commission…

- [Graphic of the four Phases of World Evangelism…]

- if you’ve been attending here for a period of time, hopefully this looks somewhat familiar…because it explains how we practically seek to accomplish the Great Commission…

- every follower of Jesus Christ is to be concerned about going into all the World and making disciples of all nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all Christ commanded…but how does that work practically, from a process perspective?...[walk through the four stages…]

- the point is – we want to use both biblical counseling and community based outreach ministry as a way of practically accomplishing the great commission in our day and age…

- to us, that’s what it means Colossians 1:28 - We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

- and the goal is the same that Paul had in chapter 2 – that men and women would have encouraged hearts, and protected minds…because of their love for, and commitment to our sufficient Savior…

- now, let’s push this a little further…

- [Pic of exterior of NCC]…

- last week we announced the great news that our Northend Community Center project had been selected for full allocation of New Market Tax Credits – a kind of economic redevelopment tool available for projects like this which provides the final $3.5M needed for the $14M project…

- [could develop how this is a victory especially for people around here for 30, 40, 50 years – just faithfully walking all of this out…]

- we love this project for all sorts of reasons…

- it’s in the inner city…where we were asked by our city leaders to begin a CDC, and begin trying to make a difference in one of the most challenging areas of our town…

- there’s a lot of good things in the north…some great history and interesting people…

- but pick practically any demographic measurement – and it will be worse in the north end compared to any other area of town…

- well, that’s where we believe God has called us and that’s exactly where we want to be…

- we’re marshalling the resources of our two suburban campuses in an attempt to meet urban need…

- why?...to build loving relationships where at the right time and right way, we can ask for the permission to turn to God and His Word to encourage hearts and protect minds…to join arms and walk to the sufficient Savior together…

- you could picture it like this…

 - we have a husband and wife at odds with one another…

- and we just dive to our knees – and acknowledge that we need the help of our sufficient Savior…then we grab the wrist of that husband…and that wife, and invite them to join us on our knees…

- or we have a person of one ethnicity who’s at odds with a person of another ethnicity…and maybe this racial tension goes back generation after generation…

- well, we dive to our knees…we’re only going to solve this in Christ Himself…in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…

- so we unashamedly cry out to Him…and then we take that white wrist…and that black wrist or brown wrist or whatever color it happens to be…and we invite those persons to join us on our knees…

- and that’s what we do with old and young…and rich and poor…

- and we seek community redevelopment through the person and power of Christ…

- this is even why we designed the project to be so collaborative…

- [Arvid’s site plan with the Family Promise building circled on 2 click] – why a separate building for Family Promise – a community organization that serves homeless families?...to encourage hearts and protect minds…

- [Arvid’s site plan with the Car Works building circled on 2 click]… why a separate building for Car Works – one of our ministries that provides low cost auto repair for single moms, families in distress, senior citizens, and veterans…along with jobs training for urban youth...to shine the love of Christ…to encourage hearts and protect minds…

- [Arvid’s larger diagram on back of brochure with Reclaimed Hope circled on 2nd click…] – why a retail store for Reclaimed right in the very front?...that’s a program of our own Vision of Hope – our residential program for at-risk girls [develop] – at Reclaimed Hope – they do upcycling, where they take items that are no longer needed and transform them into decorations and other products for sale…all done by VOH residents and graduates…

- [Arvid’s larger diagram on back of brochure with Flour Mill Bakery Cafe circled on 2nd click…] – and right next store to Reclaimed Hope – functioning kind of like Cracker Barrel where you can either eat and shop or shop and eat – is the flour Mill Bakery Café owned and operated by our own Joel and Cara Brovont – but in a socially responsible way where VOH residents or graduates will  be working there so downtown residents can become more aware of what VOH is and how it’s available for those in need…

- then upstairs - [Arvid’s larger diagram on back of brochure – 2nd floor -- with Community Mentoring Offices circled on 2nd click…]…what’s this community mentoring offices?...that’s our counseling center…we’re moving it to the hood…

- and please think about all three of those from the perspective of ministry strategy…

- if you started knocking on doors in the north end – where some of the greatest need exists for overcoming addictions, and domestic violence, and unplanned pregnancies, etc…

- and asked this question – are you aware of Faith Biblical Counseling ministries and the services they offer the community free of charge…

- or Vision of Hope and the services it offers the community for at risk girls

- or Bethany Farms and the new addictions programs for men…

- how many doors would you have to knock on before you would even find one person who even knew the services existed?...

- that’s the problem – and with God’s help – we plan to do something about that…

- then layer in all  our collaborative partners…

- [circle Senior Center/Meals on Wheels, Hanna Center, Bauer, BBBS—second floor]…

- we also just learned that Wabash Center which specializes in serving children and adults with intellectual disabilities would like to be a collaborative partner…

‑ and what are we doing with all of this?...we’re proclaiming Him – sometimes in word – often times in deed (at least on the front end) – so that hearts can be encouraged, and minds can be protected…

- can you just picture us right in the middle of the heartache, and the disagreements, and the addictions, and the violence…just getting on our knees, and crying out to God as the only lasting hope for change at the level of the heart…and then opening our hands and inviting others to join us in that posture of crying out to Him…

- maybe this video will say it in a way that crystalizes the point..

[Toby Mack video – When Love Breaks Through]

- that’s what we’re hoping to do in the north end…and I think it’s fair to say that God has blessed us – exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all we could ask o think as we try to do so…

III. Stable Walk

- Paul then goes into a whole series of mixed metaphors to try to picture the effect…

1. An army that’s disciplined – 5 – your good discipline and the stability of your faith

2. A pilgrim who travels – 6 – so walk in Him

3. A tree that’s rooted – v. 7a – having been firmly rooted

4. A facility that’s built – v. 7b – now being built up in Him

5. A school where you’re taught – v. 7c – just as you were instructed

6. A river that flows – v. 7d – overflowing with gratitude

- all of that is embedded in this crucial phrase in verse 7 – established in your faith

- that’s what I had the privilege of watching the other day…it was the church family in action in our community…

- people who are established...and establishing

- who are strengthened…and strengthening

- who are encouraged and encouraging

- our sufficient Savior makes that possible…

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

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