The Unconditional Foundation Back to all sermons

Colossians

Date: December 3, 2017

Speaker: Sean Grossman

Series: Colossians

Scripture: Colossians 3:18–4:1

Tags: Christ, Children, Slave, Parents, Family, Foundation, Bondservant, Slavery, Master, Husband, Wife, Husbands, Wives

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Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.
 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.  Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven - Colossians 3:18-4:1

 

  • Colossians 3:18-4:1
  • The Unconditional Foundation

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

(Colossians 3:18, ESV)

Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

(Colossians 3:19, ESV)

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

(Colossians 3:20, ESV)

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

(Colossians 3:21, ESV)

22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

(Colossians 3:22-25, ESV)

Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven

(Colossians 4:1, ESV)

  • Main Point
  •  They provide the “household table” for the believers in Colossae
  •  The differences provide the Colossians a firmer foundation to stand on
  •  The head of the household is accountable to God
  •  The understanding of the Christian households leads to a stronger foundation for marriage, and family
  • Application Points
  •  On Slavery
    • We notice slavery is mentioned in the discussion
    •  During the time period slaves sold themselves into slavery to pay a debt…hence “bondservant”
    •  Yet, the term for slave referred to a number of different circumstances…bondservants…war…slave trade
    •  It is hard not to relativize the passage
    •  It could be easy to change “master” and “slave” to “employer” and “employee”
    •  Both can certainly learn from this, but we want to careful
    •  Slaves back then had little hope of escaping
  • Application Points
  •  On Slavery (2)
    • They recognize many of their readers are slaves
    •  Likewise, Onesimus is one who delivers the letter (see chapter 4)
    •  Slaves needed to be reminded of their place in Christ, and in turn this would cause slave owners to remember it as well
    •  Paul, for example, eventually encourages Philemon to not accept Onesimus as slave, but fellow brother (see Philemon 15-20)
    •  We see this especially when masters are called to act justly and fairly
    •  Masters could abuse power, but if they are in Christ they will not
    •  They will do what is right even with those whom society considered to be the lowest of the low
    •  Thus, they go against the norm, by reminding masters that they are themselves slaves to Christ, and should treat their slaves kindly
  • Application Points
  •  On Slavery (3)
    • The apostles never condemn slavery, but neither do they call it a good thing
    •  They said a great deal to give hope to the hopeless
    •  We can also be sure that the apostles themselves would have rejected the practices of slavery found in the U.S. Europe, and Africa during the 16th-19th centuries and the slave trade we see today
    •  Such slave trade was prohibited, and condemned in the prophets (remember Amos)
    •  Stealing people from their homes for profit was always considered an abominable act according to the prophets and the Law
  • Application Points
  •  On Slavery (4)
    • We should stand against such acts in our own societies
    •  We can never justify slavery, of treating human beings as a commodity
    •  We should also publicly denounce any form of slavery
    •  Whether child slavery, or the sex slave trade which permeates our society
    •  We are called to seek justice, so let us make sure we do so
  • Application Points
  •  Family Matters
    • Though we can see how much of the themes and forms are similar to the culture at the time, they show a difference, and as such how the family continued to be important
    •  The issue some have is with, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.”
    •  It is similar to Galatians 3, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.” When we read these verses it can be hard to understand why there are then commands for wives to submit, or children and slaves to obey, when there appears to be a liberation of such cultural concepts.
  • Application Points
  •  Family Matters (2)
    • The passages quoted are discussing different issues
    •  They are dealing with soteriology and our new identities in Christ
    •  We can’t read the one into other lest we miss the point of both
    •  Paul and Timothy recognize we do in fact have a new identity in Christ
    •  Once this fact has been established Paul and Timothy then deal with what the lifestyle will look like in Christ (see Colossians 3:12-17)
    •  They now show what the family would look like
    •  Will the family look like other families? No
    •  There is a change for family life for those in Christ
  • Application Points
  •  Family Matters (3)
    • The differences between the world believed about family and what Christians believed are important
    •  For example, in the broader culture women were to obey, not submit
    •  With their own redeemed wills they will submit to their husbands as the head of the household and final decision maker
    •  Consider what they say concerning husbands
    •  They are to love their wives, not being harsh with them
    •  Wives and submission, husbands and love
    •  Is this added because of the liberty found in Christ?
  • Application Points
  •  Family Matters (4)
    • Is it possible wives would have a hard time being submissive, and husbands loving their wives?
    •  Does it have to do with personality?
    •  Wives need to be loved
    •  What do men desire? Respect
    •  Perhaps, Paul and Timothy recognize these as ways to treat each other as they need to be treated
    •  Regardless, the interesting thing is how husbands are called to love their wives
    •  Love here is not necessarily emotional, but the word comes from the same word in I Corinthians 13 (Agape)
    •  Thus, husbands are called to faithfully reflect the love of God
  • Application Points
  •  Family Matters (5)
    • They are to make it easy for wives to submit…a safe place
    •  There is no fear in submitting to God, because we know God
    •  As such, husbands are called in the same way, to make it safe by loving their wives
    •  Husbands, this is a high calling
    •  S. Lewis says, “It is painful, being a man, to have to assert the privilege, or the burden, to which Christianity lays upon my own sex. I am crushingly aware how inadequate most of us are, in our actual and historical individualities, to fill the place prepared for us.” (Pao, 281)
    •  We find the same thing stated in Ephesians, husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Eph. 5:25)
  • Application Points
  •  Family Matters (6)
    • While husbands are called to be the head, they are not called to be tyrants
    •  Just as Christ laid down His life, rather than lording over us, so we are to be toward our wives
    •  Submission is not a scary thing if husbands are being faithful
    •  There will likely be far more times of mutual submission in such instances as husbands love their wives in such depth
    •  As Christ washed the disciples feet, so it is with husbands to wash and care for their wives
  • Application Points
  •  Family Matters (7)
    • Yet, it is not only this relationship which is established
    •  We also see parents and children, as children are to be obedient
    •  Regardless of age children are still called to honor and respect their parents (see Exodus 20, Eph. 6:1-2)
    •  Yet, in the Christian household it is not enough for children to be taught to obey
  • Application Points
  •  Family Matters (8)
    •  Parents have their own responsibility not to lord over their children
    •  Parents can discourage by being too hard or soft
    •  They can do this by showing anger/wrath rather than grace/love
    •  It reminds us to be wise
    •  Discipline is good, but not in absolute anger
    •  The wise parent will learn early that discipline should always seek to reconcile, and teach, rather than harm
  • Application Points
  •  Family Matters (9)
    •  When it comes to family and roles we find that such things are not abolished, but properly placed
    •  Just as humanity bears the image of God, and how it is tainted, through Christ the image is restored
    •  So in this, the family, the image, is restored to what it should be
    •  One which has a great foundation
  • Application Points
  •  The Unconditional Foundation
    • Something to consider is, nothing is conditional
    •  What happens when your wife disrespects you?
    •  What happens if your husband does not love you?
    •  Children, what if your parents cause you consternation?
    •  Does that mean the other side can say, “I’m through! I’m finished!”
    •  Can these examples hold?
    •  Simply put, all because one side fails does not mean we have an excuse from being faithful
  • Application Points
  •  The Unconditional Foundation (2)
    • We can know this is the case for two reasons
    •  The first is, we often assume full families are listening to this letter
    •  But we do not know this is the case
    •  There are likely wives with unbelieving husbands (vice versa)
    •  Slaves with unbelieving masters (Vice versa)
    •  There is nothing in the text to assume that all those listening are in perfect family situations
    •  Thus, we find immediately a sense of foundationalism which goes beyond how someone might treat me and how I should treat them in response
    •  I am to treat unconditionally
  • Application Points
  •  The Unconditional Foundation (3)
    • What could cause us to live so unconditionally with each other?
    •  What can cause us to persevere?
    •  The answer is in the foundation, and the foundation is Christ
    •  Consider it…”as it is fitting in the Lord”
    •  “For this pleases the Lord”
    •  “Fearing the Lord” “Work heartily, as for the Lord” “knowing that from the Lord you will receive an inheritance” “You are serving the Lord Christ”
    •  “Knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.”
  • Application Points
  •  The Unconditional Foundation (4)
    • How many noticed just how often Christ is mentioned?
    •  Far too often while discussing these human issues…Christ has redeemed
    •  Christ has redeemed even our institutions such as family
    •  By Christ we are given a foundation for our families which is lasting
    •  Some people get married for the emotional love
    •  What happens when it fades?
    •  For the Christian, what happens when there is a loss of connection?
    •  You stay, you persevere…why?
    •  Because Christ has redeemed marriage
  • Application Points
  •  The Unconditional Foundation (5)
    • Christians have the greatest foundation…Jesus Himself
    •  It is because of Him we can remain faithful
    •  I will continue to love my wife because it honors Christ
    •  It is unconditional because our devotion to Christ is unconditional
    •  Who wouldn’t want to serve a master such as Jesus?
    •  If I do, then I will be faithful in what He has called me to be as a husband
  • Application Points
  •  The Unconditional Foundation (6)
    • This teaching is important for us
    •  Many would fear…good!
    •  Know the hardships and the costs
    •  Our sons need to be taught what it means to love their wives
    •  Our daughters need to be taught what it means to submit to their husbands
    •  Maybe they will begin to ask the right questions about the persons they might date?
    •  I want my daughter to say, “This man can lead me further into the image of Christ.”
  • Application Points
  •  The Unconditional Foundation (7)
    • I find it important to continue teaching these things
    •  Marriage and family has become so denigrated that it is hard to see
    •  Now is the time for Christians to stand firm in what they know
    •  Christ has redeemed, and we can see it by living faithfully
    •  The world is in need of us to be faithful in these areas
    •  So, be faithful
    •  The world is in need of us to show what marriage and family is all about
    •  Be faithful, and know the fruits that a faithful household will bring, forever pleasing to our King, our Savior, Jesus Christ, for His glory
  • Application Points
  •  The Gospel of Christ
    •  Origins
    •  Fall
    •  Redemption
    •  Glorification