Colossians 1:1-8 A Godly Reputation Is reputation important? Pro 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. People do not seem to think much of their reputation any more. We have more ways to keep up with people than ever before—and sadly, they are all needed for a lot of people do bad things. Today, honor purity, honesty, and integrity seem to be archaic words with no meaning. This is true not only of individuals but of churches. In the restaurant business, Christians are known as the worst tippers. In the business world, churches have gotten the reputation of not paying their bills. Is a church’s testimony important? Yes, it is. I. The testimony of a church is important. A. A church’s testimony is important to Christ. 1. What people say about Christ’s body is important to Christ; however, perhaps not in the sense that some might think. 2. Christ concern for His church is not that it be thought of in a FAVORABLE light but in a GODLY light. 3. Those two are NOT always the same. Mt 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. B. A church’s testimony should be important to the church. 1. A church should be concerned what they appear like to the community they live in. 2. Is the church godly or carnal? 3. Is it friendly or not? 4. Is it a help to the community or a hindrance? 5. When sin is coming into the community, can the community count on the church to stand against it, to be silent, or—worse—to support it! a. There are a lot of purely political issues that I have thoughts on about which I say nothing unless it effects the immediate welfare of our community or some of our believers—immigration, imminent domain, zoning laws, appointments to positions, etc. b. However, a lot of what the government seeks to control deals with sin and Biblical authority—alcohol sales and consumption, education, marriage, capital punishment, justice, etc. c. When the community takes to dealing with issues of Scripture and sin, the church should have a reputation of siding with God! 6. It should matter to a local church what standing they have in a community. C. A church’s testimony should be important to the community. 1. Sadly, in our day, WHAT the church stands for is not as important to the community as it once was. 2. People today are more concerned with WHAT the church CAN OFFER than WHAT the church BELIEVES or DOES. 3. In fact, some communities want the church to shut up and sit quietly so that they can do whatever they want. 4. Regardless of whether the community wants an active, vocal church in the community or not, they need one. Mt 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. II. The church at Colossi’s had a reputation. A. \\#4\\ They were a church with faith in the power of Jesus Christ. 1. That could mean several things and I think it did. a. They had faith that Jesus would save. b. They had faith that salvation would change lives. c. They had faith that prayer would change circumstances. 2. Faith in Jesus means you depend upon Him. a. Too many are claiming faith in God but looking to other means to meet their needs. b. Sometimes we depend on God because we have no other choice, but wouldn’t God like it if we started depending upon when we do have other choices? (1) Israel had no choice but to trust God at the Red Sea. (2) During the days of David, Israel with a mighty army, chose to trust God. Ps 33:17 An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. c. We need to choose to depend on God instead of man’s inventions. (1) In the medical field (2) In government aid (3) In retirement (4) In jobs 3. To trust and depend upon God means that we not only accept His YESs, but His NO’s as well. a. For whatever reason, God sometimes says NO. b. When God says NO it does not mean He is not going to take care of you. It just means that He is not going to take care of you the way you thought. c. Believe it or not, God has better other thoughts and BETTER thoughts for your life. d. I don’t know them all but I have learned a few for my life. (1) God doesn’t want me to have everything I want. (2) God doesn’t want me to have everything others have. (3) God doesn’t want me to do everything others do. (4) God doesn’t want me to purchase everything I can. (5) God wants to use His NO’s to teach me. e. The measure of a Christian’s faith is not how he accepts God’s YES’s, but how we accept God’s NO’s. (a) How do we deal with God saying it is time to do without? (b) How do we deal with God saying it is time to suffer? (c) How do we deal with God saying it is time to deny self? (d) How will we deal with God saying it is time to die? f. To have faith means we must accept God’s NO’s as part of His plan and trust Him. 4. This church had that kind of faith! B. \\#4\\ They had love for the saints. 1. Jesus set the tone for Christianity. Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. 2. Remember, Bible love is not a heart-felt love. It is an action-based love. a. In the Bible, you don’t just get goose bumps when you love someone. b. Biblical love is doing things to help and care for them. 3. Biblical love is what allowed the poor New Testament church the ability to spread the gospel around the world. a. The church took care of the church. b. Not with 401-Ks, dental plans, and cruises, but by feeding, sheltering, and doing whatever they could for them as they passed through. c. In part, this the personal hospitality that the Bible places such a premium upon. Ro 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Tit 1:8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 1Pe 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. d. Our modern-day lifestyle has just about removed this kind of interaction between the saints. (1) About the only way it still exists is with independent missionaries coming through. (2) If that trend continues, the church will lose something significant. (3) Supporting a co-op is not the same as loving the saints! e. However, loving the saints would have to be more than just being helpful. (1) Loving the saints would be standing by and with them through sickness, persecution, loneliness, old age. (2) The body of Christ had, and should have, the courage to stand together—even unto death. Joh 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 4. Biblical love is what won so many of the lost to Jesus. a. Churches created and operated hospitals, orphanages, schools, colleges, shelters, food kitchens, and on the list goes. b. They stood against alcohol, prostitution, abortion, pornography, slavery, wife abuse, child labor, and so many other wrongs. c. They did this because they were concerned about the unsaved. C. \\#5\\ They had hope of heaven. 1. These Christians were literally serving Jesus for the hope of those things promised them in heaven. 2. Like what? 1. a place in heaven Joh 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 2. rewards Mt 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. 3. a glorified body 1Cor 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 4. a victor’s crowns Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 3. Can others see that our hope is not set in the things of this life but in the things of eternity? D. \\#4\\ They were fruit bearers. 1. Fruit for the Christians is two things. a. It allowing the Holy Spirit to manifest Himself in you. Ga 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. b. And it is wining others to Christ. Jer 8:20 The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. 2. A godly church is both! E. \\#5\\ They had listened to the Word of Truth. 1. I take this as literal. 2. These people heard the Word of God, believed it, and began to act upon it. a. A lot of our Christian lifestyle is determined by our background; that is, some were brought up to believe that Christians do certain things. b. The early church had no past expectations. They were first generation Christians who had never seen Christianity before. c. So they searched everything out and made their decisions based on the Bible. d. While many of us are blessed to have a Christian heritage, we should and must get back to the Book! Ga 6:4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 3. Are our lives, habits, jobs, hopes, and future based on the Bible? F. \\#6\\ They knew the grace of God. 1. Grace is God’s power to work in and through us. 2. These New Testament churches were testimonies to the work of God in the lives of people. 3. God does work! a. Grace is God changing us. 2Cor 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. b. Grace is God changing circumstances. Mr 11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. G. \\#8\\ They had loved Paul in the Spirit of God. 1. Preachers are not always easy to love! a. Most believe that Paul never went to Colossi. b. Paul was likely their spiritual grandfather, his ministry touching the lives of some of the people who lived or ministered there. 2. So the church loved Paul and cared for him. It is the mark of a good church to care for their spiritual leaders—all of them. The things we are seeing in these words are not deep theologically, but they will help us to build a godly church in this place. As I have said before, I think God some times is less concerned with what we believe and more concerned with how we live. Let us live as a godly people should.
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