May Grace be Your Constant Companion, pt 2

Friends,

I just finished up a 10 part series of expository sermons on the short letter to the Colossian Church. Some of the texts are found here, some of the audio, and I am still working on a verse by verse 90 Days with Jesus series here. Also, if you are interested, you can access the sermons by using the box.net service on the sidebar. I hope, after I edit a little, to have all ten sermons posted there for your perusal. Finally, you can also access them at sermoncentral.com.

Following is the conclusion to the last sermon.

At four significant points in this letter Paul has said something about grace. In 1:2 he greets them in the grace of God. In 1:6 he tells how they heard and understood the grace of God in the message of the truth. In 4:6 he says our conversation should be full of grace. And in 4:18 he writes that grace will be our constant companion in life: Grace be with you.

What I want to say is that those who have been infected or overpowered or overwhelmed or simply destroyed by God’s grace will not make sense to those who have not. We who have been conquered by grace see the world rather differently than those who have not. It is grace that has effectively wiped us out and is now in the process of rebuilding what was murdered.

But the beauty of grace, grace as our constant companion in life, is not that we have become something different, something new, something altogether perfectly human. That matters, but it is not the most significant aspect of grace. What these verses demonstrate is the broad range of God’s grace to radically challenge the very foundation upon which we have decided to live our lives, to destroy us, to recreate us, and to throw us into a heap called church and to expect us to live and grow and mature and become holy in the name of Jesus together. So what we see here in these last verses is as follows.

  • Onesimus—former slave
  • Paul—Pharisee, intellectual, apostle, in Jail
  • Mark—deserter
  • Nympha—a woman (not insignificant in those days)
  • Luke—a doctor
  • Epaphras—from Colossae
  • Tychicus—not from Colossae
  • Aristarchus, Mark, Justus—Jews
  • All the rest—Not Jews, that is, Gentiles
  • Archipus—one with work to do
  • The rest—encouraging Archipus to finish

And what matters is that all of these people Paul mentions are prisoners of Grace—captured as it were, unaware and yet fully aware. All of these people, and Paul writes that their constant companion should be the grace of God. All these people, thrown together into a mix, jumbled up out of what they formerly called life, now serving, wrestling, breaking down, building up, coming, going, staying, sharing, hosting, deserting, returning, hoping, dreaming, working, living, male, female, Jew, Gentile—all because of Grace. What else could hold such a group together?

And so I say to you the same. The supremacy of Christ, spoken and written of so loftily in this short letter, is best demonstrated when you and I are accompanied constantly by the grace of God. Grace at the beginning, grace at the end: May grace enclose you. Grace that you understand: May Grace constantly form you. Grace when you talk: May Grace govern all your relationships. And Grace be with you: May grace be your constant companion in this life.

As we begin a new week here on earth, we approach having no idea what is going on or what will befall us in the coming days. My prayer for all who live, and especially for the church, is that Grace will be your constant companion. Governing all that you are, directing all that you are becoming, creating all that you will be. Go in grace today and every day.

“Grace be with you.” (Colossians 4:18 )

Soli Deo Gloria!

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