The Epistle to the Colossians was written to a… (1) Declining city (2) Threatened church (3) Concerned apostle (4) as a Timely response.
Warren Wiersbe says Colossians is “one of the most profound letters Paul ever wrote.”
“Being knit together in love.”
· “Knit….together…” W. H. Griffith Thomas, “The word translated “knit together” means “compacted,” or harmoniously fitted, Eph 4:16, and this is to be in the bond of love, doubtless referring to God’s love to us in Christ.”
· The word was used of people “walking together.” The drumbeat of a marching church is “love.”
· “Welded together into genuine unity,” H. C. G. Moule.
· “In love…” Agape…out-of-this-world kind of love.
1. Love was Proved on the Cross of God the Son.
· “We love Him, because He first loved us,” 1 John 4:19.
2. Love is Produced by the indwelling of the Spirit of God.
· Romans 5:5 “Shed abroad in our hearts….”
· Galatians 5 “The fruit of the Spirit is love….”
Real love, “agape” love (love love) is a God-thing.
What are men and women naturally? We are all naturally selfish. One of the first words uttered with enthusiasm by a child is, “Mine.” Without God in the picture, human history is one of the exploitation and manipulation of other people for selfish purposes. In Christ, we can be supernaturally “loving.”
Naturally, we are also selective. We love who we choose to love. And all others are left out. But it different when we are Christians. God brings into our lives people would not naturally love. Hay, all believers need to be loved, even the ones who don’t seem to deserve it.
3. Love is Practiced by Believers Among Believers.
Our public love for others is the acid test of our private life with Christ.
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye loved one another, ; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another,” John 14:34-35. Three times in only two verses Jesus says to His followers, “Guys, love each other.”
Love for Christ is what brought us together. We would not have known each other apart from Christ.
Love is for Christ is what keeps us together. When we “do church” right, its all about Christ….
· The object of our worship.
· The attendant of our prayers.
· The initiator of our labors.
· The subject of our witness
· The lyrics of our singing.
· The recipient of our tithes.
To Christian husbands, God says, “Husbands, love your wives,” Ephesians 5:25. A reader’s Digest magazine (Feb 2003, p. 103) told about two girls age five and six who were playing “wedding.” Their mother overheard them as they were at the point of the vows. One of the little girls said, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you. You have the right to an attorney. You may now kiss the bride.”
To Christian wives, God says, “The aged women..teach the younger women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,” Titus2:4.
To Churches, God says, love your pastors. “Esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake,” 1 Thessalonians 5:13. Some years ago I preached a message to a church in a revival meeting about their need to love their pastor and let him know that regularly. A man came up afterwards and said, “I don’t tell my pastor I love him, but he knows I do.” Oh, really? How crazy is that!
To church members, we are to love the church. That doesn’t mean we are to love the buildings, or the bricks, or the pavement. A few times the word “church” is used when no particular congregation is in view so it is used institutionally. But the majority of the time “church” in the New Testament was a “local body of baptized believers who are covenanted together to carry out God’s will on the earth.” Congregations are made up of people. 1 Thessalonians 4:9 says, “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” There it is. Paul says fundamental to being a Christian and a church member is a God-taught love for God’s people.
Church is more than cookies and Kool-aid. Loving God’s people is the church means that we will be….
· Faithful...there are too few being faithful.
· Forgiving...We exercise the privilege of forgiveness to those who need it. “Great peace have they who love thy love, and nothing shall offend them,” psalm 119:105.
· Fellowship...spend time with each other. Church members are like the broken down cars we see on the side of the road. They started “missing” before they “stopped” all together.
I am more than a little concerned about people who do not love the church and who have the idea that when they die they are going to heaven and that they are doing to love being there. I hate to disappoint you—but heaven is a whole like a church, without the hypocrites.
Now, this part of the message may be the help you are needing or looking for. Some people could honestly say (wouldn’t it be great to have some honesty in church?), “Preacher, if you and the other people here knew what God already knows, I don’t have much of the right kind of love for the right things you’ve mentioned. What is my problem and how can I begin to fix it?”
Q: Why don’t people love God and God’s people like they should?
A: Because we are giving our live to so many other, lesser things.
We give our love…..
...to our self, 2 Timothy 3:2.
...to the world, 1 John 2:15-17.
...to pleasure, 2 Timothy 3:4.
...to preeminence, like Diotrephes of 3 John 9.
...to family, Matthew 10:37.
...money, 1 Timothy 6:10.
I read about a young man who was determined to win the heart of a young lady who refused to even talk with him. He laid out his strategy –he would write her love letter. He wrote and mailed a letter every day. When she didn’t respond, he double his efforts and wrote and mailed two letter every day. In all, he wrote and mailed her more than 700 letters. She ended up marrying the postman! Love is not about words; its about who or what you are spending time with.
Look at a couple of Scriptures.
· 2 Thessalonians 3:5 “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God.”
Did you get that? Love can be directed, so evidently it can be misdirected.
· Jude 21 “Keep yourself in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” What is the verses saying? Its like a hot August day in Texas. You can’t keep the sun from shining, but there are things you can do to keep the sun from shining on you. When it comes to God’s love. We are not to hide from God’s love, but hide in His love.
While, Jesus did teach we are to love our enemies, Matthew 5:44, the real laboratory of love is among those we are around all the time.
Every person who makes up this church should be given this minimal guarantee: You will be loved—always, under every circumstances, with no exceptions. Sometimes you will feel good about that love; sometimes you may feel bad—both kinds of love are necessary to have the right love.
Here is something that may surprise you: we will not already be in agreement in the church about everything. I have even argued (negotiated) with my wife. But one the issues that really matter, we are in total agreement.
Q: “How do I have God’s love flowing through me to others?”
A: Love who and what God loves.
(1) Love God’s Son, 1 Corinthians 16:22.
(2) Love God’s Word, John 14:15.
(3) Love God’s people, Jeremiah 31:3.
(4) Love the Lost, John 3:16.