Sermons & Sunday Schools


Laboring for Christ’s Supremacy: The Conflict, Part 1

In this sermon, Pastor Joe Babij examines Colossians 1:29-2:5 and the believer’s need to strive for maturity in Christ and contend against false teaching.

Full Transcript:

There are certain words that have been spoken that have actually shaken the world. ‘What hath God wrought’ was the first long-distance message by morse code or by morse telegraph. ‘Mr. Watson come here, I want you,’ were the first intelligible words sent by telephone. ‘This one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind’, the first words from Astronaut Neil Armstrong as he stepped onto the moon surface.

‘Where art though,’ the first words spoken by God to Adam and Even after they had sinned. Ever since then, mankind has been in conflict because they have moved away from their creator. There has been a conflict since then between truth and error, between God’s way and every other way, and between life and death.

Today we are still in that conflict. We feel it as Christians, especially when we know the truth and we know other people do not know it yet, so there’s a conflict.

Let’s pray. Lord, this morning as we look into Your Word, let us not only see the conflict and how the Apostle dealt with and how we are to deal with it, but let us also remember that the conflict has been won on the cross of calvary, that Jesus accomplished everything needed for us to have peace with God and not conflict. We thank You for that. We count that to be the greatest treasure that we could ever hear and know and hold as our own on this side of eternity. I pray that would be so for all of us. I pray that You would receive the glory for all that will be accomplished. Lord, grow us in Christ’s name and in His Spirit so that we would walk in our life in a manner that pleases the Lod. I pray this in Christ’s name, amen.

I said from last time that once you become a Christian and have purpose in your heart that you are going to hold fast to this hope that has been given to you in Christ Jesus. From there, you are determined to continue in it, and that you have been convinced by Scripture that you should not move away from the hope of the Gospel. No matter what, you realize that the bottom line is, as long as a believer in Christ continues growing in the faith, they will be established and made firm, and they will not move away from the hope that is held out to them in the Gospel.

They will actually experience the reality of being new in Christ and that Christ will be their sole focus. Christ will be the center of their life, and also, Christ will give them this new understanding about what has happened to them, so that they can live their life in a pleasing manner.

Since we’ve been a Christian, we are not people that are called just to sit around and do anything. We are actually called into a struggle, into a battle. We have seen so far that we are to labor for Christ’s supremacy, which requires certain things. First of all, it requires suffering. Suffering comes with an attitude in verse 24, which is to rejoice in suffering. Paul is saying that to us. He learned to do it, so we ought to learn to do it too.

Also, the focus group of why Paul suffered was the Church in verse 24. He did it on behalf of the body, the Church, and he did not rejoice in suffering for suffering’s sake. Not at all. It was for him no self-inflicted penance or pain to gain acceptance with God. His suffering was because he took a stand for Christ, and he cared for Christ’s Church and Christ’s people. He wanted others who didn’t know it to be saved.

Laboring to finish the work of evangelizing the lost was all part of the struggle of suffering. It will be for us too, because laboring to finish the work of evangelizing the lost and building the Church, that task, will be met with resistance and many dangers.

The second thing that we already mentioned is that laboring for Christ’s supremacy requires God as the source. Why is that? In verse 25, God is the one who calls. He called Paul to ministry. He is also the one who bestows what that ministry is going to be, and He gave Paul a stewardship from God to be able to open up a mystery that was held secret until his ministry.

Of course, he (Paul) was a committed servant of another person’s property, and that property was God’s property. It was God who conferred upon the Apostle this stewardship. This was for the benefit of the church, it would benefit us today, so that we would know what God would want us to do and what God has done. He was to finish something already started by the Lord Himself.

In other words, he was given a stewardship of God’s plan of salvation. We are also given a stewardship and entrusted with the Gospel to finish and continue on this unfinished work that Christ left us.

A third thing is that laboring for Christ’s supremacy requires speaking for the One in power. Who is in power? God Himself is in power. Christ having the preeminence— the God-man. Verse 25, what do we need to speak? We’re to speak the Word of God. He says here: that I might fully carry out the preaching. Secondly, he is going to speak the mystery of God. The mystery of God that was hidden from ages and generations that is now being made known. Both the Jews and the Gentiles becomes one person when they come to Christ in repentance and faith. Paul is this conduit of this great mystery that has been given to him, and he did it well, passing it on to us.

Then we speak of the message manifest. In Colossians 1:27, it says,

To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

As I said, up until this point in the book of Colossians, it’s been the saints in Christ, but now we see the counterpart that Christ is also in them, in us, as we become real believers. Here is the message, that it’s Christ in you, which is the hope of glory.

The Gospel changes from this Jewish sect to a worldwide opportunity that all the barriers are now down, so that Jew and Gentile, saints alike, are fellow heirs with Christ, because He is in them. This mystery is not simply Christ Himself, it is, but it includes Christ in us. This unbound Christ who is a creator of all things, and holds all things together, takes up His dwelling in us. That is an amazing thought.

This indwelling of the exalted Christ in the individual believer is our assurance of coming glory, where he says in the passage, Christ in you, the hope of glory. Then, of course, this indwelling Holy Spirit is a deposit by God guaranteeing our future inheritance. That is a great wealth that we have been given by the Lord, through the Apostle Paul. We are to continue that on.

This morning I want you to notice the fourth thing, and I will expand on it today, into chapter two. Laboring for Christ’s supremacy requires striving. Striving for what? To reach the goal of maturity. That’s what we’re striving all together for. Maturity for what? For who? For us, that we would be mature in Christ. That we would have the understanding that God wants us to have. That we would have the knowledge that frees us from all the bondages that we had in the past.

In other words, how do we do that? First of all, if you notice in Colossians 1:28, it says this very clearly, we proclaim Him.

The question is, who do we proclaim? We don’t proclaim a philosophy, we don’t proclaim a program, and we don’t proclaim a principle. We proclaim Him, a person, Christ. Once the Holy Spirit indwells you and you truly are a believer, and you know it, He, the Holy Spirit that is in you, must begin to instruct us in two areas.

In the area of belief and in the area of behavior. Both of them go together. From our passage, it includes, if you notice in verse 28, he says,

We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom

We are given this responsibility to admonish each other. This word admonish is a common word, at least amongst us. It’s the word we get nouthetic from, which is noutheto. It’s a combination of two words. The first one is nous, which means mind. The second is tithemi, which is to place or to put to mind. That’s why this word admonish here could be translated to warn or just instruction, to teach.

Instruction is really part of admonishing, and warning is also part of instruction. It’s giving instruction in regard to belief and behavior. The counsel is knowledge based and motive driven.

But where does our authority come from for what we are to believe and how we are to behave? See, now that you are in Christ, and Christ is in you, what should we be looking for? We should be looking for what we believe and how we actually behave.

Quickly take your Bibles over to Acts 20 for a minute. I just want to show you where this word shows up in different places in the Bible. In Acts 20:31-23, it says there,

Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

In that passage of Scripture, the Apostle is teaching the people at length, three years, in what? The Word of God’s grace which gives the people firmness in their faith and a hope for their future. That is what that word does. It always gives the sense of teaching something.

Then again, the word is also used in another place in Scripture. 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15. You should also turn there because it’s a warning for bad behavior. It’s counsel and instruction that is addressed to the mind for the avoidance or cessation of inappropriate conduct. Look at 2 Thessalonians 3:14, it says,

If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

Here this admonishing is to admonish something and warn them to not walk like that in Christ if you’re claiming to be a behavior. It’s warning to do not this in Christ if you claim to be a believer. Instruction is given not only to the congregation on how they deal with them, but to the person who is walking out of step with the instruction of the Apostles or the Word of God.

Let’s turn back to Colossians. You’re going to find out that this admonishing can also be used conversationally or musically. If you notice in Colossians 3:16, it says,

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

In other words, that admonition can be done through music. Music does teach. Music can encourage. Music can warn us. Music really does sometimes get down to our inner heart. It strikes a chord that other things don’t. Music has always been part of God’s program. If you go back in the Old Testament, you will find music everywhere. Music comes from God.

But the music has to be music that is well thought out, and the words have to give good instruction. That good encouragement through the instruction of the Word of God. The Bible does tell us that admonition can come through music to God’s people.

Also, if you notice back in Colossians 1:28, no one at all is beyond the need of this ministry of admonition, both on the receiving and giving side. Notice in verse 28,

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

Every single man. See, Paul says in Romans 15:14, he says,

And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and able also to admonish one another.

In that passage of Scripture, Paul says, listen, if you are going to admonish, there’s a couple of things that go ahead of that. The first one is that you have to be filled with all goodness. That means you have to be doing things because you want to honor God and do the right thing.

Secondly, you have to be filled with the right kind of knowledge to do it. You can’t just do it out of all the worldly knowledge that you’ve obtained in your life, or even psychology or philosophy that you may know. It has to come from the Word of God, and when it does, you and I will become able to admonish one another.

That’s what we ought to be doing as believers in Christ Jesus. We ought to strive to be able to admonish. We do that because we are filled with goodness and with all the knowledge of the Word of God.

We must receive instruction early and often, teaching everyone official doctrine within the church gathering. The instruction must be the wisdom of God that rises from the Word of God, for that is what it says in our text,

We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom

The instruction cannot be good ideas. It cannot be one’s own inventions. It also cannot be human philosophy. It has to be the wisdom that rises out of the Word of God. If you look over to Colossians 2:6-8, it says,

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

In other words, the result of proper instruction, not only taught but received properly, will bear results. Do you know what the result is? Overflowing in gratitude. In other words, the Word of God brings us to a point, as we admonish one another and we’re admonished from the Word of God, to bring us to this point: I am so thankful that what I have I don’t deserve any of it.

It also includes knowing that you’re rich. You’re wealthy. Why are you wealthy? Because you have this knowledge that God has given to you. You didn’t come up with it on your own and nobody else came up with it on their own. God gave it to us, and He gave it to us through holy men.

Why do we need to keep teaching the Word of God in season and out of season? Why do we need to do that? Our text tells us in verse 28. This is why we need to do it. It says,

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

You know what that is? That the Heavenly Father’s purpose that has already been given in the book of Colossians becomes the purpose all faithful ministry. What is that? Look at Colossians 1:22, it says,

Yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—

In other words, you’re getting ready by and through the Word of God for the presence of God. You’re getting ready for that. I am getting ready for that, and I know it. Why? Because the Bible tells me. This is good knowledge to have as you live your life every single day.

What is the Father’s purpose for His children? That we will be ready, blameless, in front of Him on that day. The end-time last day when we shall each stand before God.

Yes, brethren, the task of bringing people to maturity is a daunting project. The Bible is a big book. There’s a lot in the Bible, and you can study it every single day, every day of your life until you die, and you still don’t know everything. You can’t exhaust what’s in the Word of God.

It’s a daunting project, but we work, and we strive like competing to win a prize, or engaging in a battle against difficulty and dangers. Yet we move forward, striving toward the goal of spiritual maturity. That’s what we’re doing together.

How does spiritual maturity actually look? Let me give you just a few things. Number one, spiritual maturity is characterized by Christ likeness. Ephesians 4:13 says,

Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

We become more like Christ. Also, maturity is characterized by sanctification of behavior. I love the Galatian 2:20 passage, which says,

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

That I am being sanctified and I am being sanctified in my behavior and God’s doing from the inside-out, not from the outside-in.

Also, maturity is characterized by the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is easy to find out where it’s at in Scripture. It’s in Galatians 5. That is,

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is now law.

That I am growing in that way is what spiritual maturity looks like. Also, maturity is characterized by clear discernment of biblical truth. I am getting to see what the Bible actually says, and I am understanding it. It says in Ephesians 4:14,

We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.

The last thing I can say is that spiritual maturity is characterized by dependence on God. If you are right there in Colossians, you will find out in verse 29, that we are not left to our own feeble strength and abilities. We must depend on God. Why must we depend on God? Because in ourselves we have no power. I want you to notice that’s why we remain dependent on God. Colossians 1:29, he says this,

For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

Paul knew it. He had no power unless God worked in Him. We have no power unless God works in us, because we are not working in our strength but in the supernatural energy to produce only what God can produce and do through us. The power to live the Christian life and to do the work comes from Christ Himself, through His Spirit.

The promise of God’s presence in suffering is that God will be with you, He will be with me, and make you and I ready for eternal glory. That’s God’s promise to us which will take place.

The work of Christ in us and for us does not exempt us from work nor does the Holy Spirit’s operation supersede human effort, but actually excites human effort. I am excited by God to live the Christian life. I am given the power to do it; to live the Christian life. You know you can’t live it on your own, because as soon as you try to do it in your own flesh you fall right on your face, and you break your nose.

When you’re living in the power of Christ, you are almost amazed that I just had victory over this temptation. How did I do that? That I didn’t go with this person, when in the past they would’ve convinced me to go with them. Or I would’ve had this drink or smoked this joint, but I am not doing it now. Why is that? And you know what, I don’t really desire it anymore. It doesn’t have control over me anymore. Why? Because the Spirit of God has control, and the Spirit of God will gain more and more control as we live for Christ and depend on Him.

While we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in making us holy and spiritual mature on our way to eternal glory, we will expect, and we should experience conflict as a Christian. We really weren’t aware of the conflict when we remained captive in Satan’s dark domain. He kept us from that. The whole point was to be happy, to do things that make me happy. That’s his modus operandi, to give people things that make them happy or ultimately push them in old bondage where they don’t know what to think or do. They are slaves to him.

Once we are moved from the dark domain to the kingdom of God’s dear Son because of our faith in Jesus Christ, at that point we enter into spiritual conflict, but with the strength and power of God—Christ in you and you in Christ. That is the point here. The conflict we entered will have many fronts to it, but the main front will be the area of doctrine, especially the doctrine concerning Jesus Christ.

You test any cult, the first thing you go and test is what they believe about Christ, and you’ll finally have to give it up because you find out their view of Christ is distorted, convoluted, incorrect, and downright heresy. The authority base which upholds our belief system and moral standards must be Holy Scripture. It must be. It cannot be any other way.

Ligonier Ministry actually had a bunch of personnel wander around college campuses doing spontaneous interviews asking religious and theological questions about what they believe. They pretty much wanted them to fill in the blank: I believe ‘this.’ One of the questions was about what they believed about God and Jesus.

One student after another were saying, well, God is whatever you want Him to be. Another said, all religions are equally valid and true. Another said, if your religion is Buddhism, and yours Confucianism, or yours is Judaism, Islam, or Christianity, then they’re all the same. He said, they all believe the same god and they’re all true.

However, all religions are not all equally true because they do not believe the same things. They believe contradictory things. Christianity believes that Jesus was God incarnate. Other religions say that Jesus was a nice guy, He was a great teacher, He was a man of principle, but certainly not God. Jesus is either God or He is not. He cannot be divine and not divine at the same time and in the same relationship.

Somebody is wrong about Jesus. I believe that He is God, and either I am wrong, or Muhammad was wrong. The true claim of Christians and Muslim cannot be both true and any other religion you want to put in there. Remember, ours is not a religion, we proclaim Christ, right? We proclaim Christ.

The true claim of Christians and Muslims cannot be true. There can only be one truth. The difference between each religious group is the location of the authority base that holds up their belief system and standards. Most people use personal preference as their authority.

In fact, this is what some of the students said. They had different feelings about different things and about authority. One student says, “the Bible doesn’t have much authority over my life. I basically go on my own and I have my own certain morals.” Another said, “If I don’t like it, then it’s wrong. And if I like it, then it’s right. It’s as simple as that.” Another said, “I decided whether something is wrong for me and if it’s not morally correct for me or for something like that then I won’t do it. If something is good for me, if it’s going to make me happy, or if it’s going to get me what I want, then that’s what I do.”

That’s their authority base. If you go to religious systems, you will find that their authority base are the holy books and traditions gathered by men for the basis of what they believe or their authority. For example, the Quran, the Islamic scriptures, is divine revelation only in the Arabic language that was communicated by vision to Muhammad. That was communicated by angels and not by God.

The Quran offers vague guidelines and principles. For more comprehensive for living for the Muslim, they have to go to the hadith, which are the life experiences of Muhammad. That’s where they go. That becomes their basis of authority, but most religions have the basis of authority like that. You can examine everyone, but then you come to Christianity.

Christianity locates their authority base in one source. That source is the Scriptures contained in the 66 inspired books which remain the instruction for all life and godliness. That’s what we’re taught and that’s what’s true. One Christian said this about their authority base, “my standard for faith and belief comes from the Bible. I believe the Bible to be without error, perfect, the living God-breathed Word of God, and through those Scriptures is where I obtain my guidance and morals with the way Jesus Christ has told me to live my life.”

That’s the guidance, right? That’s where we ought to get it from. You and I are going to be people that are in a conflict. We are in a struggle for truth and how to live my life in a way that honors God. Satan is not done with you because now you become a Christian, he now has his target on you, like we read in Ephesian. He is flinging at you flaming missiles.

I don’t know about you but flaming missiles don’t sound like a cakewalk. It sounds like, you better have your armor on, or you will be blown to smithereens. We are to put the armor of God on, which is putting on Christ. We are to stand up against this, but we have to know what we believe to do that. We have to be standing on truth to do that.

If you go back to Colossians 2, we now begin to see the conflict more clearly. It says this Colossians 2:1. Paul is saying to the Colossians, listen,

I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf

The Christian life is always described as a thing of energy. As I said already, a journey, which is heading somewhere. A race in which you finish the goal. A boxing match in which you don’t get knocked out. If you do get knocked down, you get back up. See, the Christian life is always like that.

The term here ‘struggle’ jumps off the page in order to inform the readers of the agon, that means the contest. The word literally means contest. If you think of an athletic contest, or metaphorically a race, it pictures the exertion put out in the face of opposition, like a struggle or fighting a boxing match.

The picture here is of an athletic contest which is strenuous and demanding. That should characterize most Christians lives. You are struggling, and I am struggling, but I am doing it in the strength of God. I’m doing it knowing already what the results will be if I am following what God says.

The Apostle is using the word in a more figurative way to describe an intense, non-physical struggle. Paul also includes the word great with the word struggle to describe the size and intensity of his ongoing internal wrestling. The real struggle was his own heart for the believers, that they would mature, grow, and become firm.

What is he wrestling with? He’s wrestling with the very things that will hinder reaching the goal to be firmly established in the faith and remain establish. The greatest conflict we will have will be against false teaching. If the enemy can get us to have a low view of God, and to ignore the Word of God, or mix it together with other teachings that add and take away from the authority of the Word, then he will supply everything that he needs to for you to grapple with that.

He will use any teaching flying around out there to carry us on some wave and then leave us stranded on some distant shore broken, bruised, bleeding, and confused. You say, well, what are some of those things? CRT will do that, what’s going on today, Critical Race Theory. That’s getting into the Church. Race-hatred is abounding in our country, and that will get into the Church.

Lies about what is true that erases common boundaries that we all know and makes them confusing. Like what? Marriage. Marriage has all kinds of definitions today. It’s not just a man and a woman, it’s all kinds of things. Male and female identities. Human dignity. Bullying is on the rise because of this cancel culture, even that young girl that committed suicide here in New Jersey, in Ocean County, because kids bullied her.

People do not have a respect for the image of God in us. That has an effect. That cannot be in the Church. If there’s one place all those things should never be is here. It’s all our jobs to make sure that doesn’t happen.

We may have not been aware of how much error disintegrates the hearts confidence and produces trouble and doubt and confusion. Or how error also snaps the bond of love and splits the Church into parties. Error is seductive and destructive.

The most effective antidote to any heresy is the proclamation of the doctrine of Christ. False teachers also offer a secret knowledge, that’s the whole point here in Colossians, which blind its followers by its failure to rightly exalt Christ and submit to Him.

In other words, truth is worth fighting for. It’s worth the conflict. It’s worth the struggle. I tell you what, it costs something to stand up. It costs something to be counted as unpopular.

You know, the Super Bowl is today, isn’t it? I don’t know if you’re a football fan, but there’s been a little controversy about the Super Bowl. You know what the controversy is? Both quarterbacks claim to be Christians, and I don’t know who they are or their background, but from what some of the conversations I’ve heard, it sounds like they understood what it meant to be a Christian. Both of them.

This has become a big thing for the media. They don’t know what to do with this. A guy’s claiming to give God the glory for where they’re at and that the game is whatever the Lord wants it to be. For the Kansas City Chiefs, I think it’s Patrick Mahomes. Then for the Philadelphia Eagles, it’s Jalen Hurts. Both of them are claiming to be Christians.

If they are really at this point of their life and their willing to speak out in this world, you know what, that’s standing up. That’s standing up at a place where it’s not popular to stand up, especially with all the stuff that’s been going on in sports, and a lot of people aren’t even watching sports anymore because of all the garbage that’s been dumped on it.

Human wisdom of our time says to keep an open mind, don’t be dogmatic, there’s good in all religions, but God says just the opposite. From Jude, He says, contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

In other words, it’s worth fighting and standing for truth, but there will be a cost. You will have people walk out of the room. You will have people curse you out. You will lose friends. You may lose a job. You’re going to lose something. There’s going to be conflict, but God has already told us that, so we shouldn’t be very surprised about that.

He says just the opposite. There is no such thing as spiritual passivism. Service that counts costs. Fight for the truth which produces spiritual strength and maturity. Fight for that.

Paul looks back, in Colossians 2:1, at the people that are his constituents. The ones that he’s wrestling in prayer for. Notice what it says in Colossians 2:1. It says,

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

The Colossians and the Laodicean congregations were only about 12 miles apart from each other, but they were infiltrated by false teaching. Paul was very concerned about them, but they never saw him face-to-face. Paul’s compassion, despite his absence, is given to them in his written concern for his constituents.

The Colossians might think that he cared less for them than the communities he personally planted and watered. They never felt the magnetism of his personal presence and were at a disadvantage from not having had the inspiration and direction of his personal teaching.

Imagine having the Apostle Paul teach you right there. That would’ve been amazing, but he is teaching us. Paul shows them, and he shows us, that they had a very warm place in his heart. His love for them traveled beyond the limits of eyesight. The Apostle expresses how much he cared for them, wrestling in prayer for them, so that they stand firm in their faith.

Paul also had faithful workers who would do the same thing, like Epaphras. If you look over to Colossians 4:12, what do you see there? It says,

Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.

He’s praying for their maturity, but he’s wrestling in prayer. He’s struggling in prayer for them. That’s what prayer is too. Prayer is a struggle. Speaking to the Lord, asking the Lord to do things that we cannot do, to accomplish His will through us. That’s what’s going on here.

Paul’s inward struggle also found its way in outward action. What was that outward action? By his writing ministry. He is writing them a letter. Maybe sometimes writing people notes and letters is more effective than face-to-face communication. I can take a letter or I can take something and print it to have it right there and look at it. Well, we have the Word of God. We can keep going back to look at it.

That’s Paul’s concern. His concern is that I do have passion and compassion for you, and I struggle for you, and I write you these congregations a personal letter from my prison cell. For what reason? So that I can fill you with knowledge. So that I can warn you of the dangers all around you, which are common to all Christians, so that I can supply encouragement or admonitions to firm you up in your faith, so that you don’t wobble. This is so that you stand strong and know what you believe. So that you know what your base of your foundation is and what you’re building on. You know that.

I’m going to have to stop it there, but I just want you to look at verse number two. The conflict has a divine objective, which I will pick up next time. Here is the divine objective. In other words, that the purpose of the struggle is to come alongside the believers at Colossae and at Laodicea and keep their hearts knit together. Notice what it says in Colossians 2:2,

That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love

You may think that’s a bit odd, but I tell you what, as I finish this passage of Scripture and when I am done with it, you are going to find out that knowledge and love are out defense against false teaching. He’s not talking about individual knowledge and love.

He’s talking about the corporate body, not just me, but us. Knowledge in love together as we’re standing together as a body. For what reason? To keep false teaching as far away from us and each other as we possibly can. We stand firm because Satan is slick and if we’re not in it together then he’s going to knock us down.

Let’s pray. Lord, this morning, I do thank You that the Word of God again exposes and reveals to us the truth that we’re able to stand in. Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You accomplish what we could never accomplish. We are in a conflict, but we have peace and victory in Christ Jesus our Lord. Lord, we want other people to have that too. We praise You, Lord. We ask You, Lord, to firm up our faith. Make us strong. Give us the ability to stand in the conflict knowing that there is a cost, but You’ve given us the strength to be able to stand up against that conflict and know that we have the victory in Christ Jesus. I pray this, this morning, in Your name, amen.