THE GREAT PILLARS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
Our lesson aim is to help you learn to build your life on the great pillars of faith, love, and hope. 1 Corinthians 13:13 proclaims, "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." God gives us ample instruction in today's text, Colossians 1:3-8, to encourage our development and growth in these three great pillars.
When we claim to be followers of Christ, we must assume that our lives will be closely examined by the lost. People will inspect our lives for any flaws and failures. How then can we be strong in the Lord? How can we keep from collapsing and from being a poor testimony before the world?
This passage covers the great pillars of the Christian life - the pillars of faith and love. It also covers the great hope of the Christian and the source of hope which is the Word of God. Note how it lays a solid foundation against false teaching, the great threat which the Colossian church was facing and which churches of every generation face.
1. The great pillars are good reasons for giving thanks to God - vs. 3.
What is a pillar? According to Webster's Dictionary "it is a firm upright support for a superstructure." Pillars are vital to the support of a building. How much more important are the pillars of the Christian life? They are so great, such wonderful qualities of life, that they stirred Paul to thank God that the pillars existed in the lives of the Colossian believers. The pillars are the very supports that hold together the lives of believers. The Colossian believers could not exist as a church without the foundational support of the pillars.
Paul gives thanks to the only living and true God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no God except the Father of our Lord Jesus. This stresses something of critical importance: Jesus Christ is the Son of God; He is exactly who He claimed to be.
2. The great pillars are faith and love - vs. 4.
Paul notes that they (he and Timothy) had heard of (1) the Colossians’ faith in Christ Jesus and (2) their love to all saints. Faith always has an object. The only correct object thereof is Jesus Christ. The modern power-of-positive-thinking philosophy—the faith-in-faith concept—is as empty as it is unscriptural. However, these Colos-sian Christians also had developed a reputation of having love for other brethren. Throughout the New Testament, an injunction to love one another is oft repeated—first by our Lord, then by His apostles. Paul complimented the Colossian church for their love for others. That report had reached all the way to Paul at Rome, no doubt, via Epaphras.
Faith and love are the two basic qualities of life for true Christians. In fact, they form the one great commandment of God Himself. "And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment" (1 John 3:23).
3. The great pillars have one great basis: the believer's hope - vs. 5.
Hope, the hope that God gives, is the reason we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and go to such limits to love one another. Only one thing could make a man love to such a point that he would sacrifice himself for another man, especially when the man is attacking or trying to destroy him. That one thing is the hope of some great promise, the hope of some great reward. Note what the hope or reward is: it is the hope that is laid up for us in heaven. What is that hope?
It is the hope of being raised from the dead and being given a new, perfect, and glorious body, a body just like Jesus Christ. (Acts 24:15)
It is the hope of the Lord's return and of being with the Lord Himself forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
It is the hope of entering heaven and of living there forever. (John 14:2-3)
4. The believer's hope has one great source: the gospel - vs. 5-8.
Note that both "the Word" and "the gospel" are mentioned in Colossian 1:5. It is the Word of God that reveals the great hope for man. Man cannot find hope—not a permanent or eternal hope, not a hope that lasts forever—anyplace else. The only lasting hope ever offered to man is found in the Word of God, in the glorious message of its gospel (good news). Note what is said about the Word of God or the gospel in these four verses. (These verses provide an excellent study of the gospel or of the Word of God.)
The gospel or Word is truth.
The gospel or Word is for individuals.
The gospel or Word is for the world: it is universal as well as individual.
The gospel or Word produces fruit.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. What are some things that happen to a building that is without strong pillars?
2. What are some pillars upon which unbelievers build their lives? Some pillars that unbelievers choose to support their lives?
3. What kinds of things actually hold life together?
4. What are some things that happen to a Christian without strong support?
5. Why do you think some Christians settle for a life without pillars?
6. What is the believer's source of faith? What barriers do you have to overcome in order for your faith to grow?
7. How can Christian believers show a true love for all believers? How does trusting God help you to love believers who are hard to love?
8. What is the secret to keeping your hope alive?
9. What are some ways you can share the Gospel at work or school? What barriers do you need to overcome in order to be more courageous in sharing the gospel?
Have a great day walking in the will of God!!!
Your Friend and His,