Sermon: Why the Gospel?

Why Evangelism?
Colossians 2
January 29, 2023

All Steve wanted to do was clean his fish tank.  He had no idea of the problems that would create for him.  Here’s a report of the incident:

[He] was trying to get rid of a colony of zoanthids — a relative of corals and sea anemones — that was infesting his aquarium rocks. He had heard that boiling water would do the trick. When he tried it, he accidentally inhaled some of the steam.

Twenty minutes later, his nose was running and he had a cough. Four hours later, his breathing was laboured and he was headed to the emergency room. By the time he arrived, he was suffering from severe coughing fits and chest pains. He was stabilised, but he developed asthma and a persistent cough, and had to use steroids and an inhaler for at least two months.

The reason for his sudden illness was palytoxin, a speciality of zoanthids, and the second deadliest poison in the natural world. One gram of the stuff will kill more than a hundred million mice [or about 25,000 people]. This poison, liberated by the boiling water, had risen into Steve’s airways in a cloud of steam. [Accessed on 11/11/11.]

What’s unclear is how this poison contaminated the zoanthids.  It is possible that it happened through association with other corrals and rock fragments.  Contaminated and uncontaminated rocks are very hard to tell apart and can only be done with certainty by genetic testing.  So, when aquarium owners innocently trade zoanthids, they may also be passing allowing the poison with the rocks.

An innocent hobby almost turned deadly by some innocent looking corals.  What is the antidote for such toxins?  How do you clean and sanctify a toxic environment?  The question for us in the church is, what are the toxins in the world that are attempting to lead us away from Christ, and what are the antidotes for those “spiritual toxins?”  How should we address the false and heretical teachings that might lead us astray?

In Colossians 2, Paul identifies some of these toxins and gives us a simple solution: 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s answer for all the wayward philosophies of the world.

  1. The Many Attempts of the World to Supplant God
  • Man is supreme!” (v. 4)
  • Worldly Indulgence is supreme!” (v. 8)
  • Legalism is supreme!” (vv. 16-17)
  • Mysticism is supreme!” (vv. 18-19)
  • Asceticism is supreme!” (vv. 20-23)
  1. The One Answer from God Against the World (vv. 9-15)

Download the rest of this sermon on Colossians 2.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website by Tuesday.

Zoanthids” by Lucas Thompson is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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