- V. 1-2 – Paul identifies himself and Timothy as the senders of this letter, the recipients being Saints and faithful adelphoi which is literally siblings – brothers and sisters
- V. 3-4 – By virtue of the fact that Paul is thankful for the faith he has heard about, we can discern that he was not the one to have established this church.
- V.5-8 – We see here that Epaphras is credited with being the minister to Colossae, while Paul has heard about the church. In matters of heresy, it may well be that Paul was sought out to correct error that had crept into the church and may very well have been sought out by Epaphras as he was not as astute with scripture as Paul. Remember, scripture at the time was primarily the Old Testament. Paul being a Pharisee would have a very powerful working knowledge of scripture where a Gentile convert teaching the church would not have necessarily had the tools to combat heresy.
- V. 9-10 – Notice a progression here – knowledge of His will is first on His list, then wisdom and understanding to walk properly, in order to please God through bearing fruit and then increasing in the knowledge of God. Before we can please and understand God, we have to discern His will. The revelation of God's will is progressive:
- We know His revealed will is that we read, pray, fellowship, worship and serve
- only after we follow God's revealed will, do we get specific instructions
- V.11-12 – Paul's prayer for this group is that they have access to all the power available to them from God to accomplish all of His will for them. 1 John 4:17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. Once we recognize we have all the power Jesus had access to as a man, we will be free to step out into more and more opportunity.
- We should not be basing our actions on whether or not we will get in trouble, but whether or not what we are doing brings glory to God 1Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
- Every vestige of this world is corrupted by it's god and the world we live in is truly the kingdom of darkness 1Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.Properly exegeted, this passage is referring to the Jewish believers who fled persecution in Israel to Gentile lands. But, we can also apply this to us as believers living in a corrupted world because we are told we are citizens of heaven, Jesus told us He went to prepare a place for us.
- V. 15 – Image of the invisible GodA. – throughout history, there have been what is called THEOPHANIES. A theophany is an appearance of God. Here we are told that Jesus is the IMAGE of the invisible God, therefore we can call these theophanies more accurately a Christophany. When God appeared to man in the Old Testament, these men were interacting with the pre-incarnate Christ.
- V.16 – All things were created by Christ: John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
- V.17 – Christ being before all things brings us back to John 1:1-3, but the second part of this verse is science on the quantum level.
- V.18-20 – Once again, Paul brings us back to the headship of Christ as it pertains to the church now and one day over all those called the children of God in the 1000 year reign and in the world to come.
- V.21-23 – As we look at this passage, the first thing we notice is our transition from being alienated from God to being reconciled to God. Jesus, in His flesh, acquired for us that which we could not acquire for ourselves. Paul is very specific in his declaration of Jesus accomplishing in the flesh because a heresy had cropped up within the early church called Gnosticism. Gnosticism is teaches the flesh is completely corrupt and therefore cannot be saved. The spirit of man is whole but corrupted by the flesh and can only be set free by secret spiritual knowledge. 1 John deals extensively with this topic. Paul briefly touches on it here in order to show that Jesus came in the flesh, died in the flesh and AROSE in the flesh. Gnosticism taught Jesus did not physically rise, but rose spiritually to free our spirits from the corruption of the material world.
Last week, we spent a good deal of time discussing eternal security in light of verse 23, which seems too indicate one could lose salvation if one does not continue in the faith. The truth of that passage, in light of many other passages listed in last week's lesson, is leaving the faith is an indication that one was never saved and one falls into the first three categories of the 4 types of soil Jesus spoke of in His parable of the sower.
This week, we will look at three verses and discuss the fact that we all have a specific purpose in Christ. We are all called to some type of ministry and we are all equipped by God to function as an integral part of the body of Christ. There is none who is expendable and none who is non-essential
Just think of what part of your body you would gladly live without, and you will quickly realize that no part of our body is expendable and there is no part we would gladly amputate or excise.
- V. 24 – Paul is not saying that Christ's work was insufficient or that somehow he is making up for what Christ could not do. What he is referring to is Christ could not continue on earth and provide salvation. Jesus went to the cross, rose and then arose to heaven. So, in that sense, Jesus could not continue His earthly preaching ministry, so we are left to pick up where He left off. We are to fill the role of testifying to the truth of God, just as Jesus did while He walked the earth.
- V.25 – Paul establishes here that he was called and commissioned by God to carry the message of the Gospel. All of us are called by God to fulfill a specific role and purpose in the body of Christ. Paul recognized his calling was from God and was designed to serve others with the truth of the Gospel.
- V. 26 – the mystery that was not revealed prior to the resurrection of Christ is the church. No where in the Old Testament do we find the church and Jesus did not even reveal His plan of establishing the church until Peter proclaimed Him Messiah in the upper room, and even then, it was not emphatic until the day of Pentecost when the Spirit empowered the disciples and 3000 were saved.
- V. 27 – Because the Jews rejected their Messiah, and then drove His followers out of Israel, the Gospel came to the Gentile world. This was always God's plan from the beginning: Gen 12:1-3 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
- V. 28-29 – This is the goal we all should be working toward in one way or another, presenting everyone mature in Christ. Each of us has a role to play, some directly to the unbelievers, some directly to believers, some to both. Some have a wide swath of influence and same are called to a smaller area of influence. None is more important or necessary than another and all are vital members of the Body of Christ. We work in unison, we work in harmony, we compliment one another and we each support the whole. Christ is our head and if we follow His lead, we will not step on each other, we will, not be jealous or resentful of one another and we will view each member as vital. This is the goal of the servant of Christ and this must be the goal we strive toward on a daily basis!
- V. 1-2 – Paul shows that even though he has never been to these churches, nor has he met these people, he is connected and concerned about them. We also, are connected to every believer.
- V. 3-4 – As believers, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, giving us access to wisdom and understanding to know the truth. 1 John 2:27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
- V. 5 – Again, this is a reference to the connectedness of all believers.
- V. 6-7 – Walk in Christ – be rooted, be built up
- V. 8 – The world has a way of reasoning that is contrary to spiritual truth. In verse 4 we are warned against plausible arguments from false teachers, here we are warned to not be drawn in by worldly philosophies or world order(stoichion). Human reasoning draws us to think with out heart and to be motivated by emotion or erroneous arguments: “Is God really going to send 1 billion Muslims and 1 billion Chinese to hell because they believe differently than you?” See how this question not only draws you into an emotional response, but reduces the truth of scripture to personal belief.There is a natural order to how the world operates and facts will not be allowed to get in the way. Science touts an unsupportable theory of evolution, meteorology knowingly presents false information to support a man made climate change. In 2006, Al Gore said we only had 10 years left before the world became a frying pan. Gore could not have been more wrong, yet he is still flying around the world lying about man made global warming.
- V. 11-12 – circumcision has to do with removing of the flesh. In the sense of our hearts, we must allow God to cut away our fleshly desires and attitudes. Our negative traits and annoying or abrasive mannerisms also fall into this category. Anything that hinders our growth or ability to reach others.
- Colossians 2:13-17Last week, we looked at the deity of Christ and why it is so fundamentally important to our faith that we have this truth settled and understand it from scripture.We also talked about identifying with Christ in baptism and how important it is that we identify with Christ that He does not become sOme abstract idea or mythical creature.I. V. 13-14 – It is so important that we remember our spiritual state prior to our salvation. If we forget what we were saved from, our spiritual life can become stale and we can take our relationship with God for granted. If I forget my sense of lostness before Christ, I will not appreciate what He has given me. This opens us up to the danger of thinking God somehow owes us something for our obedience or faithfulness.Who among us has not at one time or another gotten frustrated with God or at least with life and thought, “hey I deserve better than this...”? When we begin to forget what we owe, we begin to think we are owed something.This is all a matter of keeping things in perspective and not giving into emotion or bad philosophy, as we discussed beforeII. V. 15 – Prior to Christ, the gentile world was owned wholly by Satan and his evil forces. In the resurrection, Jesus not only conquered death, but stripped Satan of his claim to humanity. For the first time in since Mt. Sinai, God is accessible to man outside the Law.All of Gentile culture was designed to acknowledge authority other than God's. Religion was polytheistic and elemental, meaning man worshiped creation rather than the creator. Now, the Gentile world is brought into fellowship with God through the cross.Moreover, our faith is not one of rules but of faith.III. V. 16-17 – The law was designed to reveal our need for Christ. In our faith, we have acknowledged our need for Christ and are no longer bound to observe dietary laws or observe feast days. These were all things that foreshadowed the reality of Christ. Even this world we live in is but a shadow of the true reality we will discover in our glorified state.What we consider reality is no more reality than a stick man drawn on a piece of paper. There are dimensions of time and space that we can only imagine, there are beings and creatures that we catch tiny glimpses of in scripture but cannot comprehend. This will all fade away and one day we will stand in the presence of God, in His fullness, also something about which we can only speculate and imagine.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, See you do it not: I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy
- V. 20-23 – Rules do not save, rules do not change hearts, rules lead to deception and self righteousness. We cannot reduce our faith to a set of rules. Faith is relationship not guidelines or lists of dos and don'ts. Submission to the Spirit of God leads to changed hearts. We cannot legislate morality.
While chapter 2 warns against pursuing righteousness, by living by rules, or by attempting asceticism, one might get the idea that we are at liberty to indulge the flesh. Chapter 3 clears up any misconceptions. In chapter 3 we will see that the righteous are called to live in righteousness by the power of God. Rule observance can affect the behavior but it cannot offer inward change. Inward change comes through God and should affect outward obedience. Rules are religion and religion fails where relationship overcomes.
I. V. 1-3 - If we are believers, we have been raised with Christ. This means our attention and focus needs to be on things above. this does not contradict the previous verses in chapter 2 because those verses were speaking of attempting to live righteously with human effort.
Having died with Christ, we are now dead to the things of this world - we are now heavenly citizens and should have our focus and planning with that in mind.
How much thought do we really give to our heavenly planning as far as storing up treasure. Paul seems pretty engaged with the idea. What if we were more upward focused? Would we be more eager to submit to the transforming power of the Spirit, more eager to surrender to stupid attitudes and habits that seem to define us?
Verse 3 is pretty emphatic - we have died, so when we willingly and willfully live in sin, we are living in death. We acknowledge we are unable to change of our own accord, but we cannot be unwilling to allow God to make the change.
Being hid in Christ denotes a protection and covering. We must utilize the protection and covering
II. V. 4 - Always keep in mind what we will be when Christ returns - we will share in His glory
III. V. 5-6 - Now, in contrast to chap 2, where we are told not to get trapped in obeying rules, we get what seems to be a list of rules. But, notice the inward direction.
"put to death what is earthly in you" We are not talking about looking good on the outside, we are talking about submitting to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. this is all about inward change affecting an outward result, so we are no longer following the rules but changing our desire to break the rules. We need to get away from "I can't do that" to "I don't want to do that."
Last week., we contrasted chapter 2's call to avoid self righteous rule observance with chapter 3's call to inward change affecting outward obedience.
This week, we will look at the things of the world we are to be transformed from. One of the biggest problems is many in the church do not know what is wrong because we either spend all our time on the Gospel message or we spend too much time speaking about how to be fulfilled in our Christian walk.
I. V. 7-8 - Paul Acknowledges that this is the normal for unbelievers. This is one of the biggest obstacles we face in the church, society's normalization of sin. For some reason, we just accept co-habitation as the new normal, we never bother to address issues of pre-marital sex, nor do we seem to put expectations of celibacy on adult dating couples. Purity is discussed in youth group, but how much time do we spend on discussing purity in grown up church? We seem to spend an inordinate amount of time speaking against the gays, who are, for the most part, unbelievers, but we ignore a tom of sin within our congregations.
Sinners sin, that is their job, it is not the business of the church what sinners do. It needs to become the business of the church what believers do. If we are not teaching transformation and freedom from the sins of society within the church, we have no moral authority to address the sins of the lost. From what are we calling people to repent?
We seem content to sit and criticize society while we fund sin with our entertainment dollars. We are content to sit and judge the sinners outside the church as long as the sin outside is greater than the sin inside. We must never fall into an "at least I don't ...." attitude. Lost sinners need our love, not our judgment, the church needs to police itself, not allowing love to be an excuse for ignoring sin in the camp.
Notice verse 8, these are things that spring from within. Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
- 9-10 – this passage is saying that we need to be real with one another. The word for lie pseudomai means to utter a falsehood. It is from this word we get the term psuedo as in pseudo-christian, meaning a fake believer. One of the biggest tragedies in the church is people faking faith.
- V. 11 – prejudice has no place in the body of Christ. This means we do not discriminate nor segregate. Sadly, Sunday is the most segregate day of the week, as multitudes of people intentionally separate themselves from one another based on color and national origin.
- V. 12-13 – We have seen the lists of all the don'ts, here is the list of dos. These are the attributes the world may view as weaknesses. These are the things, when practiced, we may feel as if we are punching bags or door mats. This is not speaking of extreme cases where we or someone in our charge is in physical danger. This is speaking of life as it is lived among other people who have a predilection, like ourselves, to serve self.
I. V. 14 – this is the conclusion Paul comes to, love binds all these things together. Love is the one thing that allows us to move on from slights. Do you love me more than I annoy you?
II. V. 15 – by practicing these things, we naturally produce peace, which is a fruit of the Spirit. Worry, anxiety, fear, these are all natural go tos for most people. The pharmaceutical industry is making billions of dollars per year marketing drugs aimed at producing what we can get naturally from God, peace. Is it always wrong to take medication, no, but it may not necessarily always be right in every circumstance, either. That is a matter for personal prayer and decision.
III. V. 15 - Notice how loving one another means teaching and admonishing? We are sometimes polite to the point of detriment. We never want to hurt someone's feelings so we never correct anyone or address difficult situations unless we absolutely have to.
Dealing with issues when they are small can often avoid big hurts later.
We are also called to worship with one another -
- V. 20-21 – God uses the parent child relationship in order to pass along the knowledge of Himself. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 "You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
- V. 22-4:1 – A believer in the work force has a responsibility and opportunity to share his faith by his work ethic. I have been incredibly disappointed by people who serve in their church and come to work and do a terrible job. In my experience as an employer, the more outspoken a person is about their faith, the less quality work they do. If you are going to proclaim your faith at work, you had better back it up by your life and work performance.
- V. 2-4 – this is an important call to prayer. Not only does Paul tell his readers to pray with thanksgiving, but also to pray for his ministry. We need to be praying for each other's ministries. None of us has it all together and we all need guidance from God and power from above. It is important we are constantly lifted up to the Father that we do not get discouraged or off track.
- V. 5-6 – this is instructions on how we ought to live towards outsiders. When we are with unbelievers, we need to make the best of our time WITH THEM in order to have the salvation of their souls in focus.
- V. 7-9 – We do not know much about Tychius, but we do know a little bit about Onesimus. Onesimus was a run away slave who met Paul and became a believer. As it so happens, Onesimus' owner was a man named Philemon, a man apparently led to the Lord by Paul. The book of Philemon is the letter Paul wrote to Philemon on Onesimus' behalf asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus and in essence, grant him his freedom.
- v. 10-11 – Paul completes the list of Jewish ministry partners and notice Mark the cousin of Barnabus. Paul and Barnabus had a falling out over Mark who left the first missionary journey for less than honorable reasons. Barnabus reconciled with Mark and wanted to bring him along on the second journey, Paul said no way and this cause Paul and Barnabus to split. The work was now doubled as Paul went with Silas and Barnabus went with Mark.
- V. 12-18 – Paul's last instruction that has real application to us is in verse 17 – be sure to fufill the ministry received from the Lord. - God has entrusted each of us with a specific purpose and function in the body of Christ. It is up to us to put the effort into our spiritual lives in order to be effective in the work God has called us to.