Christ in Us
The primary allegiance of the Christians in Colossae, and of the Christians elsewere in the Roman Empire, was to Jesus Christ, not to Caesar. This put them in conflict with the Roman authorities, which saw their faith as a threat to Caesar's power. As a result, many of them were persecuted, imprisoned, and even executed.
Anyone who publicly declares that their primary loyalty is to Jesus Christ is bound to come into conflict with the powers of this world in one way or another--this is as true today as it was in the days of the Roman Empire. In some parts of the world today, Christians are still routinely presecuted, imprisoned, and even executed. In parts of the world that such overt persecution does not occur, the followers of Jesus are often looked down upon or mocked.
The apostle Paul was not immune from the persecution that the early Christians endured--indeed, he wrote his letter to the Colossians in a jail cell. Note, however, that he did not complain or wallow in self-pity because of his sufferings. Instead, he considered it an honour to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ. Paul and many of his fellow believers were suffering for the Gospel, but that same Gospel gave them hope for the future, and the strength to continue to preach that Gospel in spite of their sufferings. Let us have the attitude of Paul when we encounter opposition because of our faith.
To see this sermon in the context of the larger entire worship service, please open this bulletin.