Colossians 4:16 "Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” 18 This salutation by my own hand—Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen."
I skipped some of the chapter. I could have included it. It was a series of greetings and references to gospel workers familiar to the churches in Colossae and Laodicea. It underscores the fact that at that time real men were travelling by land sea to places that had never heard the good news about Jesus. Two of them were in prison with Paul at the time he wrote the letter. Others were travelling. All them were spilling out their lives into the cause of the One who spilled His life out completely for us all.
As I read the last chapter and the names of strangers I couldn't help but feel we have lost our passion and our sense of urgency.
I will speak more to this tomorrow but the main theme in this letter is that they had the Good News and they are in danger of losing it. The danger was subtle. It was from within. It was dressed in holiness. Paul writes with urgency and conviction and signs off by saying "Read this letter among you and make sure it is read in Laodicea as well." The cancer of Jesus not being enough is spreading through the churches and Paul is attempting to stem the tide.
The hardest thing after embracing the Truth is to keep a hold of Him because the devil will use every means at his disposal to rip Jesus and His all sufficiency away from you. He will try and do it in such a way that you believe that you are fine and good. I don't believe we have any appreciation for how powerful and necessary the Truth is. Cults could never begin if the Truth about Jesus was understood. Islam would melt into peace if they understood the Truth. Muslims today are taught that Abraham offered Ishmael but it isn't true. Their own Koran does not say Ishmael and even their earliest writings outside the Koran affirm that the "unique son" was indeed Isaac. If they knew the Truth they would follow the line of Isaac down to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. That truth alone would negate all the killing because the killing is done to impress Allah and buy heaven. They are literally killing themselves and others to purchase a Home that has long been paid for in full.
Truth. "You will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free." - Jesus
"The time will come when men will kill you and think they are doing God a favour" - Jesus
No one knew the ISIS mentality better than Paul. No one understood the zealous buying of heaven through "defending the faith" like Paul. Paul had been a prisoner of error and now he was free. Free from the yoke of religion. Free from the tyranny of self obsession. Free from the need to appease God. Free from the power of sin. Freed by the Truth of the Lamb. Jesus had set him free. This is why Paul is so passionate. He can see the icy hands of satan starting to grip the churches and steal their freedom.
Are you free? Set your mind on things above. Set your heart on Jesus. He will make you free and you will be free indeed!