An Encouraged Heart
For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. NKJV
This verse is a continuation of verse 29 “To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” Paul was more than concerned about these early believers. They were in danger of falling away from the faith. These false teachers who had come to them had the advantage. They claimed to have something new. They claimed to be smarter, brighter and better informed than Paul. There was a mysteriousness to their teaching. That is they claimed communication with angels that no one else had.
So how will Paul approach this? How will he help them overcome these lies?
Paul will first tell them of his own personal interest in them even though he has never seen them. Then he will tell them what will bind them together, love. Then he will tell them that the real source of wisdom and knowledge in the area of spiritual things is Jesus Christ.
I. I want you to know
A. Paul was open with them
B. He wanted them to know what great concern ( conflict)he had for them
C. Many times people we care about do not really know it for we don’t tell them, we just suppose that they know.
II. What great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea
1. The word means agony
2. No doubt Paul had agonized over them in prayers and in his heart cried out to God for them.
B. Paul’s conflict centers around the false teachers that had been among them, teaching all sorts of errors.
1. This was a spiritual battle for Paul was in prison and could not go to them to get them back on the right track
C. Paul knew that what one believes affects the life they live
1. If we neglect our time in the word and out time in prayer then we are more susceptible to error and immorality
D. Paul knew that you could not separate faith and action
E. He knew that the purpose of the false teachers was to undermine the simple message of the gospel that Paul preached.
F. But how to approach this
G. How to convince them against the slick lies of the gnostic
H. Every parent has experienced such conflict
1. Your child comes home and starts doing things contray to what you have taught
2. You know that there is an unsavory influence in their lives
3. But at your suggestion of this they become defensive.
4. Now how do you convince your own child and get them back
I. Every Christian should be concerned about false teachers
1. Those who teach that there are other was to heaven beside Jesus
2. Those who would bring in damnable heresies 2 Pet 2:1
3. We are not to go on a witch hunt but
4. We are to be like the Bereans, for they searched the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul taught was so.
5. Over the centuries Satan has continued to deny the truth of the Word of God.
III. For as many as have not seen my face in the flesh
A. Paul was concerned over these even though he had never seen them.
B. Paul had nothing to gain from them.
C. He was concerned about them and their spiritual standing.
D. Paul wrote at least two letters to groups he had never met
IV. That their hearts may be encouraged
A. Some translate this comforted
1. AMP Col 2:2 that their hearts may be braced (comforted, cheered, and encouraged)
2. It comes from the same Greek word Jesus used of the Holy Spirit whom He would send from the Father.
3. Col 2:2 filled with courage TEV
4. Our word comfort comes from the Latin that means to take courage together.
V. Being knit together in love,
A. One author said this was like the beams of a barn who are not strong enough alone but when the are pinned together and the groves are laid in them they form one continuous support.
1. But if the church was divided over the teachings of these false teachers then the love would be suspect.
2. It is difficult to love those who we do not trust.
3. Paul’s purpose in all his letter is to get the church all following the same standard, the Old Testament and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
a. 2 Cor 11:2-4 2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted — you may well put up with it! NKJV
b. Gal 1:8-9 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. NKJV
c. Phil 3:15-16 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. NKJV
d. Phil 4:2 I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. NKJV
B. Col 3:14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. NKJV
VI. Attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,
A. The whole purpose is that we might have a fuller, richer understanding of the knowledge of God.
B. To understand God’s purpose in your life
C. To understand how that God had a plan for your life before the world began.
D. The drive to find that plan by submitting to God in everything.
E. All of which takes a close relationship with God to understand Him and all about Him.
VII. In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
A. The gnostic teachers claimed higher knowledge.
1. But her Paul tells them that in Christ Jesus is all wisdom and knowledge.
2. In Christ Jesus are the storehouses of wisdom and knowledge.
3. With all the education of the world and without the wisdom that come from God you will come up short.
B. Many in the area academia claim a higher knowledge.
1. By many Christians are considered ignorant.
2. They even say it and print it.
3. But we will see who the wiser is when it all is finished.
4. Those who said live for today for there is no God or heaven or hell.
5. Or those who said the Lord He is God and beside Him there is no other.
C. But only the knowledge of the Holy One will make you truly wise and give you great understanding.
1. I have preached many funerals in my time here. Some I had never met while other I knew very well. I had spoken to them often. I had spent time in their homes. We had talked of their illness. Over a period of time I came to know them pretty well.
2. But the first funeral I ever preached at was my grandmothers. That was different. I knew her in a much different way that I do most people. I could tell you all about her life. How she lost her husband and how we used go there to pick green apples although we were not supposed to. I could tell you about the cows they used to milk and the pigs they raised. I could tell you about every part of her house. And even the old attic where as a child I would roam freely through all the things I probably was not supposed to. I could go on for hours telling you about the fish my grandmother would catch in Jack Creek and on and on. You see I knew my grandmother for I spent countless hours with her.
3. Well that is how I know my God. I can tell you all the things that please Him and what can break His heart. I know what He wants for His children and what grieves Him when they the go astray. I could tell you about all the times that He was there for me in the hardest spots and how He picked me up on the very brink of despair. How he comforted me with His gentile touch like no one else could do. You see I KNOW Him.
4. Do you know God like that? That is not just for the special people. It is for all those who will seek Him with all their hearts.
5. And my greatest fear for all of you is that for any number of reasons you will miss that. DON’T MISS THAT RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM