Yesterday I had the opportunity to preach to our church from Colossians 2. As I introduced the topic of the sermon I also gave our church some context for Paul’s letter. Specifically, I wanted them to understand Paul’s mission strategy of reaching the cities like Rome and Colossae. The following is an excerpt from my sermon:
Paul’s fellow minister, a man named Epaphras, had taken a mission trip to the city of Colossae. The city was located in the Lycus River Valley– or what is now southwest Turkey. Populated by Greeks, Romans and transplanted Jews, the city had once been one of the largest in the world. In the century leading up to Epaphras mission trip Colossae had lost a lot of her prominence in the Roman empire. Paul’s missionary focus was on the metropolitan areas in the empire. When he formed a strategy for accomplishing Jesus’ mission to proclaim the gospel to the entire world, he knew he had to go to the great cities in the world.
That’s because change comes to the world from the cities. That’s where culture is created, and that’s where you have the largest and most diverse populations of people. People come from all over the world to the cities. So, if the world is going to hear the good news of God’s rescue in Christ Jesus, then the cities are the pivotal places of ministry.
Do you realize that’s one of the reasons Christ Community Church was started here in North Meck? 25 years ago God knew that this area around the lake would be home to some of the most mobile people in our world– you all. You came to the city for work. And for many of you, the work you found required you to travel.
And what you haven’t yet realized is that God was allowing your company to pay your way so you can be a witness to the light of the gospel all over the nation and this world. The companies in city of Charlotte are sending you out to be a good worker, yes, but as you go you get to influence the entire world with the gospel. To make converts, and plant churches in places that have not yet heard the news of Christ.
That’s exactly how Paul believed the entire world would hear about Jesus. That’s why he went to Rome. He focused on the places where the entire world population was present. And that’s why we are hear in Charlotte. God has called us to Charlotte in order to reach the world.
God called our church to minister in an urban and suburban context north of Charlotte. He calls other churches to other urban, suburban, and rural contexts. The whole world needs to hear the gospel. My prayer for my church, located in a wealthy city, is that we would leverage the opportunities available to us because we live in the city to take the gospel to the ends of the world.
I also want to point you to another church I’m excited about. A fellow pastor that I have huge respect for, Spence Shelton, has announced that he will be planting in Charlotte in the future. I can’t wait for this guy to get to the Queen City. No single church can meet all the needs of a city, and so I am thanking God for sending Spence and his family. If you want to check out his thoughts on our city, what she needs more than anything, and how you can pray for him check out this blog post.
If you would like to read the entire text of the sermon you can here: Abandon Irreligion and Religion- Colossians 2- Notes.
Photo by: Dave Morrison Photography. Used in under the Creative Commons Attribution License. View the original here.