07/10/S – Continue in the Lord

Jeremiah 5:20-6:15; Colossians 1:28-2:7; Psalms 78:1-22; Proverbs 18:23-24

NT: “In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I am saying this so that no one will deceive you with arguments that sound reasonable. For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ. So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.” (‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:3-7‬ ‭CSB)

One of Paul’s great passions, and the reason behind his writing of this epistle, was that people who came to faith in Christ would remain and continue in Christ. It is very common for someone to come to faith in Christ, but then be led away from faith in Christ through aberrant or deceitful teachings. For some reason, people have a hard time settling in one place and allowing themselves to get rooted and built up – especially in church communities and matters of faith where your sensitivities may get challenged. We tend to think that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence instead of allowing ourselves to bloom where we are planted. When our preferences are challenged by the truth, our ears will often search for teachings or philosophies that will allow us to remain in our comforts instead of growing toward maturity.

That was the challenge that Epaphras faced in Colossae. He had brought the gospel of faith in Christ and many had responded in faith – but false teachers had come in and were spreading titillating teachings and philosophies that sounded reasonable. Paul wanted the Colossian believers to know that the grass wasn’t greener outside of Christ – that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge were found through steadfast faith in Christ. The phrase “well ordered” and the word “strength” were military references. “Well ordered” referred to military rank, where everyone is aligned properly, obeying orders and properly arranged in formation. “Strength” referred to a strong and substantive military front that could not be easily defeated. Paul said that he rejoiced in the fact that they were properly arranged and aligned in the body of Christ, and that their faith and order helped them form a strong and formidable front against the false teachers who were attempting to make inroads into the church. His encouragement to them was that they continue walking the well-ordered and strong path in the Lord, allowing themselves the opportunity to get well rooted and established in the faith, so that they may be built up to maturity in Christ.

How do we remain in the faith and continue walking in the Lord, even when the word, the flesh, and the devil are doing everything to get us out of faith and onto the wrong path. Just as the Colossians, we need to make sure that we are well ordered. We need to properly align ourselves in the body of Christ, submitting to our elders and mutually submitting to one another. We need to properly position ourselves – both in Christ and in the body of Christ – and not allow ourselves to get isolated and cut off from the flow of life and grace that comes from abiding in Christ and staying connected to His body. We need allow ourselves to get planted into a life-giving church and stay long enough that our roots are able to go deep, that we may grow up. That, combined with our faith in Christ, will establish us and strengthen our front against those who try to tempt us away.

Psalms: “My people, hear my instruction; listen to the words from my mouth. I will declare wise sayings; I will speak mysteries from the past  — things we have heard and known and that our ancestors have passed down to us. We will not hide them from their children, but will tell a future generation the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, his might, and the wondrous works he has performed. He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children so that a future generation — children yet to be born — might know. They were to rise and tell their children so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s works, but keep his commands. Then they would not be like their ancestors, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not loyal and whose spirit was not faithful to God.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭78:1-8‬ ‭CSB)

A big part of continuing in the Lord is passing our faith down to the next generations. If we do not pass our faith along to our children and the generations that come after us, our faith will only last through our lifetime – and then it will come to an end. At one time, South Korea had one of the most dynamic bodies of faith in the entire world. However, in just one generation, faith in Christ has been supplanted secularism – all because one generation did not pass their faith along to the next. Christ’s commission to evangelize the world and make disciples includes our children. The mission field isn’t just the nations of the world – it is also the schools, playgrounds, backyards and dinner tables of our communities and homes.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in You. I don’t have to entertain titillating teachings and philosophies to gain wisdom and knowledge. I just have to stay rooted and continue walking in You. Help me to be well-ordered and strong in my faith, and help me to place priority in helping the next generations become well-ordered and established in You as well. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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