Reason #1: Re-introduce hearing & thinking to a generation of seeing & cataloguing.
Reason #2: Because it's written to grow a church primarily not an individual exclusively.
I ran out of time to give the 3rd reason that Paul hints at in Colossians 1:1-8, so I'm giving it via blog.
Reason #3: Because we need someone to tell us more than once.
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of truth, the gospel (Colossians 1:3-5).When Paul says, this is something you've heard before, the "this" is referring back to: (1) faith in Jesus which leads to (2) love for others as you realize He keeps forgiving you and which helps you put your (3) hope, your identity, your sense of satisfactio in being with Jesus forever. In other words, Paul to church: "I know you've heard this before (ie. the gospel - faith, love, hope) and you may not have noticed, but I just told you again."
A human being is prone to trust his/her own abilities, (and since they are on their own) love his/her own needs, and shift his hope toward something or someone that seems to more immediately fill those needs. We do this even though it never works & our sick hearts testify to the wisdom of Proverbs 13:12:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.God our pastor: God has always been preaching this sermon both in word and deed. I was reading in the Book of Joshua, ch. 3 this morning. The Israelite people are just about to cross over the Jordan River into the land promised to their parents. But God, knowing how we as people are prone to self-sastisfaction at an accomplishment (even when it's clear that God is the One really accomplishing it), sends them what I think is a reminder as they cross over:
And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan River, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down shall stand up in one heap.
So people walking across a body of water, God parts the water, and causes it to stand up as a wall or in "one heap." Sounds familiar...and if it does to us, it certainly was meant to for them also. Just one generation removed from God's radical and gracious deliverance from slavery and promise of a land (which culminated with the parting of the Red Sea), God sends to His people a little mini-reminder of His faithfulness through a mini-parting of great waters. We forget quickly, God is gracious to remind us even though in church, in small groups, amongst friends we are quick to say or think: "I know, I know" or "I've heard this before."
Today's pastors. A good pastor reminds more than innovates. Notice how Peter conceives of his pastoral & apostolic role as he writes to God's people towards the end of his life. He has just communicated to them that it is not their own efforts but God's grace that makes them grow:
Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that they putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things (II Peter 1:12-15).An old (but effective) story I've heard a couple times goes something like this: A new pastor preaches his first sermon to his new congregation and seems to go well. So he preaches the same sermon the next week. People respond: "That was nice, but interesting that it was the same sermon." The next week, he preaches the same sermon. And after the fourth week of the same sermon, finally a member of his congregation confronts him: "Look, that is a good sermon, but can you move on to another message." To which the pastor responds, "I'll stop preaching it when you start living it."
The Point. When you're in church and are tempted to say/think, "Is he honestly re-using old material?," "Heard him say this a hundred times," "Yes, we know you love the story of the sinful woman of Luke 7," or you are just generally inclined to check out: Recall that God our Pastor thought we needed reminders, Paul thought they were needed in Colossae, and Peter thought likewise. Each seemed to have a pretty good pulse on a common struggle - namely, we are all prone to depend on self and our own resources instead of on the God of this good news - that through Jesus Christ He has given & surely will continue to give us all good things!
That's something I know I need to hear more than once.