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The Gospel and Discipleship

Rev. Michael Calvert, Ph.D., September 2, 2018
Part of the Colossians series.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

Christians, from the very beginning, have always wrestled with at least two major questions. We find them addressed in Colossians 2:16-23, a most strategic section of Paul’s letter to the believers in the city of Colossae.

Question 1 is, how does one become a Christian in the first place?

Question 2 is, how does one go about living the kind of life that pleases God?

For simplicity’s sake, we might rephrase them this way:

What is the Gospel of Christ?

What is it to be a disciple of Christ?

These are the very issues that are under furious debate today, and this has been the case for two-thousand years! In fact, these were the very concerns that prompted the Apostle Paul to write this letter in the first place, and especially the verses that we will investigate this coming Lord’s Day.

As we work our way through this passage we will discover two competing answers to these questions. One is offered by the false-teachers of Colossae. The other is declared by the Apostle Paul.

As you prepare for worship, it would be very helpful for you to start back in Colossians 2:1 and read and meditate upon the whole chapter as a unit. The radically different and hopelessly irreconcilable answers to these two questions—those offered by the heretics, and those set forth by the Apostle Paul—will become most apparent.

Colossians 2:16-23

16Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. 18Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. 20Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21(Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. (KJV)