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BE ENCOURAGED (Kent Smith Notes 11/26/23)

BE ENCOURAGED

Colossians 2:1-6

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The rainbow was a sign from God to encourage Moses and the family members that survived the great flood when He promised to never again destroy mankind by a flood..


But can you have a rainbow without rain?

Can we appreciate the beauty of life without pain?

Can we appreciate the depths of love without also experiencing suffering?


To the first question concerning rainbows: Rainbows only form as light passes through water droplets and is refracted into the various wavelengths that are evident in the differing colors.


Occasionally you may witness a rainbow apart from the evidence of rain, however, be assured that the rainbow is only formed through the refraction of light through water, and that on rare occasions the water may evaporate before falling as rain.


But can we know the great things of God’s love, beauty, grace and mercy, without also knowing the struggles of sin, sickness, and death?


Paul has a word for us as he encourages the church at Laodicea from a distance.

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Paul’s Frustration

LIFE RARELY WORKS OUT THE WAY WE HOPE OR DESIRE.

Paul wrote specifically about his frustration having never personally made it to Laodicea, a city only eleven miles from Colossae.

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v. 1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,


Though written to the church at Colossae, as with most of Paul’s letters they were to be read in all the churches in the region.


Paul is disappointed that he has not met personally with all who will hear the reading of this letter, especially those in Laodicea, as he never had the opportunity to visit there.


In life we will always face a level of disappointments and difficulties in some measure or another, Let’s read Paul’s advice and counsel to his friends in Colossae and Laodicea,

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Paul’s Encouragement (to the Ladiceans)

  • The heart is the seat of our emotions

  • You have been knit together in love

  • You have the riches of genuine understanding

YOU KNOW GOD’S PLAN FOR SALVATION

In Jesus Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge

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v. 2-3 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth [b]that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.


Let your hearts be encouraged: (emotions, fears, and disappointments, all find their source in our hearts.)

You have been knit together in love (knit together illustrates our connectedness (we are not alone) by the craftsmanship of a loving God.)

You have the riches of genuine understanding (having genuine insight into the greater values of God’s “economy” you are rich!)

You know God’s plan for salvation: Jesus Christ (If you have Jesus – you have all you need – you have EVERYTHING OF VALUE!)

In Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (If you think otherwise than you have corrupt knowledge and are unwise)


Note that Paul uses the language of wealth , riches, and treasures.


The point is the SURPASSING VALUE of knowing Jesus Christ

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Paul’s Advice


DO NOT LOSE SIGHT OF WHAT YOU HAVE!


Some will try to delude you with persuasive arguments

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v. 4 I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument


Delude::

deceive

fool

trick

mislead

misinform

dupe

con

Sucker

bluff

spoof


Far too often we are influenced by people who lack understanding, and who shamelessly promote an empty vision of wealth, success, and happiness.

Even professing Christians have misled God’s people into false beliefs and worldly lusts for earthly things.


We can all become distracted by the pleasures and riches of this world.

Jeremiah 45:1-5


Illustration of Baruch


This is the message which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written down these words in a book at Jeremiah’s dictation, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying: 2 “Thus says the Lord the God of Israel to you, O Baruch: 3 ‘You said, “Ah, woe is me! For the Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning and have found no rest.”’ 4 Thus you are to say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, what I have built I am about to tear down, and what I have planted I am about to uproot, that is, the whole land.” 5 But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh,’ declares the Lord, ‘but I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go.’”


God’s only promise to Baruch is more hardship, but that his life will be spared in the midst of these events.


Jeremiah speaking as the prophet of God asks Baruch the question: Are you seeking great things for yourself?


An illustration from history: When Charles Spurgeon applied to college, he was required to have an interview. Through an unfortunate misunderstanding he missed his interview and was not admitted. Discouraged and disappointed he went for a walk to calm down. God’s Spirit prompted him with this verse “Are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them!” Ultimately, Spurgeon never went to college, but nevertheless became one of history’s most powerful and persuasive preachers, whose sermons are still read today by many preachers and Christians more than 130 years after he died.


The world is always seeking to deceive us into pursuing our own welfare, grandeur, pleasure, and fame.


God asks us today, “Are you seeking great things for yourself?”

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Paul’s Remedy

Yes, acknowledge your Present Reality, but LIVE IN THE SPIRITUAL REALITY

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v. 5 For even though I am absent in body,

nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.

Present Reality: I’m not with you in body!

Spiritual Reality: I am with you in spirit (we are knitted together)

Therefore : I am rejoicing because I’ve seen evidence of your responsible behavior and your steadfast (unwavering) faith and trust in Christ Jesus.

The Laodiceans may have been disappointed having never met Paul face to face. Paul reminded them of what was most important: They knew JESUS!

You may have a level of dissatisfaction with your present reality but understand that this present reality is NOT what ultimately matters!

AS Christmas comes upon us quickly, far too many are thinking “what will I get?”

Ask yourself first, what have I got? What more could I want?

Today regardless of your present financial, physical, emotional, or social needs: Be encouraged,

if you know that your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Look around you at all that God has done, all that Hi is doing, and learn all that He has promised to do!

And

Be encouraged!

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