COLOSSIANS 2-2 (c) (2, 3) [4/12/20]

(c) Personal Commands for Holiness <3:18-4:6>

(2). Holiness in Work Life    <3:22—4:1>

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters” <3:22 (NIV)> Just as we are called upon to be obedient to our “Heavenly Master”, Paul urges us to be obedient to our “earthly masters”; and we should be obedient “in everything”. Here again, he is not suggesting that if we are called upon to break the law of God or country that we should do so when requested by our employer, rather, what he is suggesting is that we display the love that we have for God in our willingness to please the request of our employer. Furthermore, we should show our respect “not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.” (NIV), understanding that a good employer allows us to carry out our duties, doing so with the ability and knowledge of our job, for we know that in the end we will have to account for our actions whether good or bad. So, our willingness to be obedient should be “a sincere expression of your devotion to God” (J.B. Phillips). The goal of all our obedience should be sincerity and reverence for The Lord, and “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” <3:23 (NIV)>, knowing that your real reward, “a heavenly one, will come from God” (J.B. Phillips), for in our obedience to our earthly masters we display our respect and reverence to God, “It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” <3:24 (NIV)>.

“Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.” <4:1 (NIV)>. Paul reminds all employers of their responsibilities – “be fair and just towards those whom you employ, never forgetting that you yourselves have a heavenly employer” (J.B. Phillips). So often employees decide to stand for their rights for unreasonable demands and lack of fair compensation from their employer, but believers in Christ should continue to serve God and understand that God will command everyone to give an account for our motivations and actions towards one another and to His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ <see Rom.14:10b-12; Matt12:36-37>, so, whether or not our earthly employer believes or does not believe, there will be a day of accountability.

(3). Holiness in Public Life   <4:2-6>

Here Paul describes what the Christian’s prayer life should be like; “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” <4:2 (NIV)> We need to dedicate ourselves to a life of prayer in which we do not “give up”, for our hope is in the Lord our God; we need to be faithful in prayer, praying at all times and in all circumstances Lk.18:1; Isa.40:31; Rom.1:10a; 12:12; Eph.6:18>. We should also remember to praise and thank God for ways in which He responds to our prayer. When this is our mind-set, God will open ways for us to share the gospel.

He also addresses the Christian behaviour in his statement “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders” <4:5 (NIV)>, meaning that we should “be wise in our behaviour toward non-Christians” (J.B. Phillips), especially in what we say to them in conversation. In his translation, J.B. Phillips expresses it “Speak pleasantly to them, but never sentimentally, and learn how to give a proper answer to every question.” <4:6>; and when we consider this, the only way that we can give a proper answer to their questions is for us to know what the Scriptures teach. Let us all consider that hurried formal devotions, thoughtless disregard for others and idle words, too often are characteristic of our lives; far removed from the ideal expressed in this segment; “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” <Eph.4:29 (NIV)>

 

COLOSSIANS 2-2 (c)(1) [4/3/20]

THE PRACTICE OF THE BELIEVER <3:5-4:6>

(c).  Personal Commands for Holiness <3:18—4:6>

             (1). Holiness in Family Life  <3:18-21>

Holiness, sanctity, or godliness is necessary in the families of all believers in Christ since we are to allow the teachings of Christ to guide us in every aspect of our lives; so here Paul addresses each member of the family.

“Wives, submit” <3:18 (NIV)>. What does he mean by “submit”? A check of the word in the Webster’s Dictionary gives the following meanings: to give over or yield; to subject to; to defer to; and if these are applied directly to the context of what Paul is teaching here it may give an incorrect concept. In his letter to the Ephesian Church he uses the same word in relation to how believers are to conduct themselves: “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” <Eph.5:21 (NIV)>, and we should notice here that submission should be due to our respect for Christ in the sense of what He has done for us individually. We respect Him because of His great mercy that He has shown to us in forgiving and accepting us in kind-heartedness considering what we were, and this should be the attitude that we show to each other as we read earlier <see Col.3:14, 16-17>. Paul also indicates that this is a direct result of The Holy Spirit working in and through us <Eph.5:18b>. Paul also teaches the reason for submission: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church” <Eph.5:22 (NIV)>; so here we see that submission is more of a peace-making attitude that should be seen in “wives“, as they recognize the spiritual position of their husband in the home – “head of his wife as Christ is head of the Church”, and the truth that Christ was in submission to His Father <see Heb.5:7-8>. It should also be observed and understood that the Scriptures use the word submit and not obey in respect to wives; also that Christ is not  to be replaced by the husband but the wife should submit as an act of submission to Christ <Eph.5:24>.

“Husbands, love your wives” <3:19 (NIV)>; again Paul expands on this statement in his letter to the Ephesian Church: “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” <Eph.5:25 (NIV)>; a higher expression of devotion than what the wife is called to do – “give himself up”, the example is what Christ has done for The Church. Husbands are further encouraged to “love their wives as their own bodies” <Eph.5:28 (NIV)> for he says that no one ever hated his own body but feeds and cares for it as Christ has done for the Church.

“Children, obey your parents in everything” <3:30 (NIV)>; he expresses it to the Ephesians “obey your parents in the Lord” <Eph.6:1 (NIV); cf Acts 5:29> which suggests that such obedience should be in accordance with what is taught by Scripture. Respect of parents is taught by Scripture and was the first command with a promise “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” <Eph.6:3; cf Deut.5:16>.

“Fathers, do not embitter your children” <3:21 (NIV); Eph.6:4>; Fathers are not to corrupt or frustrate their children in forcing them to be obedient in sinful actions in consideration that the command is that they should obey their parents; “instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” <Eph.6:4 (NIV); cf Deut.6:5-9>; the duty of every believing parent is to offer continual Scriptural instruction and example to their children, for it is in the home that they will see the influence of Scripture; but when there are conflicting or questionable instructions the children become cynical about our Christianity. The responsibility of parental instruction should not be left entirely to the Church leaders.

Unfortunately, hurried devotions, thoughtless disregard for others, and idle and unkind words often characterize our lives. So godliness begins with the family, and when each family abides by Paul’s, and Scriptural teaching, the Church as a whole becomes a godly institution and spreads the gospel by example.

 

COLOSSIANS 2-2 (a, b) [3/28/20]

THE PRACTICE OF THE BELIEVER    <3:5—4:6>

 (a).  Put Off the Old Man     <3:5-11>

Here Paul instructs us as believers in Christ to “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature” <3:5 (NIV); cf Rom.6:1-2>; what does he mean by “put to death”? It is obvious that when something or someone dies any influence or control is no longer experienced from that source, so he says that any influence or control from our past sinful life should be considered as “dead” so that desires that plagued the early believers, and definitely current believers such as, “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” <3:5 (NIV); cf Eph.4:22> do not control our lives any longer. Christ’s death and resurrection put an end to sin and the effect of sin in us <see 2:13-15>, and now we are alive in Him <3:1>, so we are able to “put to death” all that belongs to our earthly nature. Paul continues to express God’s warning to us and the entire world who continue in these practices: “Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.” <3:6 (NIV); cf Zech.1:2-6>: and although the believer in Christ will escape the wrath of God, we will still have to give an account to Him as to the way we conduct ourselves while we follow Christ in this life <see Rom.14:10b-12; Matt.12:36-37; 1 Pet.4:5>; and Paul reminds us that we all “used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.” <3:7 (NIV)>.

So then, as believers in Christ we “must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” <3:8 (NIV)>; neither should we lie to each other to hide the sinful things that we continue to practice, for our “old selves and practices” <3:9b> have been replaced, through our belief in Christ, by the “new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” <3:10 (NIV)>. We are being renewed in our nature <2 Cor.5:17>, knowledge <1:10; 2:2-3> and the image of God daily <see Gen.1:26>; and we are continually being “made holy” by God while we wait for the day of our final redemption <cf Ex.31:13b; Heb.10:10; 12:14; 1 Pet.1:15-16; 1 Jn.3:2-3>.

Paul closes this section by pointing out the fact that because of our belief in Christ and our conversion, we can recognize all other believers in Christ as our counterpart, resulting in no rift in the Body of Christ because “Christ is all, and is in all.” <3:11 (NIV); cf 1:18-19>, and in Christ there is no disunity, disagreements or distinction, for He transcends all barriers.

 (b). Put On the New Man     <3:12-17>

As we are instructed to “take off” that which represented our old nature <3:9b>, we are now instructed to “put on” that which represents our new nature <cf 2 Cor.5:17>; since it is necessary that the “old” must be replaced by the “new” <cf Matt.12:38-45>.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” <3:12 (NIV)>, for if “Christ is all, and in all” <3:11>, we must reflect the virtues that were evident in His life. As God’s chosen people; a reference to the Jewish Nation <see Deut.10:15; Rom.9:25>, and also a reference to the members of His Body – The Church <see 1 Pet.2:9>; we are called to be representatives of Christ in all of our ways exhibiting compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience in all our interaction with our fellow believers and those who are not believers, for this was the Character of Christ when He walked on this earth. Since each believer has received eternal salvation by the grace of God, each and every believer must now provide evidence by endeavouring to live a godly life.

Paul urges us to be like Christ <see Eph.4:1b-2> and shows us one way of doing so:  “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” <3:13 (NIV)>, for it is not easy to engage with each other in our daily routine since we are all different and have different needs, but we should be mindful of the fact that God has forgiven us individually of all our sins and unusual, strange, or unconventional viewpoints and actions, so we must make every attempt to tolerate each other and forgive as we have been forgiven <cf Lk.11:4>.

One approach to do this is to show the love of Christ in all our words and actions as we interact with each other; “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” <3:14 (NIV)>, and the other is to “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” <3:15 (NIV); Eph.4:3> since as members of His Body we are to make every effort to be peaceful and this should be the rule in all our relationships.

Finally, the most important thing for every believer in Christ; “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” <3:16 (NIV)> or as it is stated “Let Christ’s teaching live in your hearts” (J.B. Phillips) which makes us rich in true wisdom for all our interpersonal interactions, and gives us the ability for whatever we do or say to “do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” <3:17 (NIV)>

It is extremely important to understand Paul’s teaching here, and to put it into practice.

 

COLOSSIANS 2-1 [3/22/20]

THE SUBMISSION TO CHRIST IN THE CHURCH <3:1 – 4:18>

  1. THE POSITION OF THE BELIEVER <3:1-4>

The position (standing or status) of the believer in Christ is a result of God’s grace, because of Christ’s death and resurrection, God has now accepted us in Christ as His children and has blessed us in the heavenly realms, and Paul expresses this in his statement “you have been raised with Christ” <3:1; cf Eph.1:3>. In His letter to the Ephesian Church he states; “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” <Eph.2:6 (NIV)>. So, as he has already stated that we have “died with Christ” <2:20>, he now continues to say that “we have been raised with Christ” <3:1>; and although this is not yet the reality, for we are still confined to this earth, God sees us in the heavenly realms with Christ. This thought should be humbling to us as we consider our position in Christ, and cause us to recognize Christ’s Headship <2:10> and to live a life well pleasing to Him <cf 2:12; 3:3; Gal.2:20; Rom.6:4-6>.

With this in mind Paul encourages us to, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” <3:2 (NIV)>, we should now give ourselves to Godly things and not be too concerned with earthly things, for as far as this worldly system is concerned we are already dead, but our true life is hidden in Christ. This should be our earnest aim for “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” <3:4 (NIV); cf Rev.22:7>, and we do look forward in anticipation to this event.

 

COLOSSIANS 1-3 (c,d,e) [3/18/20]

(c).  Freedom from the Judgment of Men  <2:11-17>

Paul continues to describe our freedom; not only because of what Christ is, but also that He gives us freedom from condemnation of self-righteous individuals. Here he addresses the subject of circumcision which was a contention between Judaizers (Jews who were converts and formed the early Church in Jerusalem) who taught that Gentiles could not become Christians unless they first became a Jew which included circumcision; and Paul emphatically opposed this teaching in his ministry.

The direction for circumcision was originally given to Abraham when God said “I am God Almighty…..I will confirm my covenant between me and you…” <Gen.17:1-2 (NIV)>; God continued to indicate that this covenant was to include all of Abraham’s descendants <Gen.17:10>. Circumcision signified that the infant was being accepted into the covenant community, and that an uncircumcised person was considered to be heathen and would be “cut-off” from the covenant community by divine judgment <Gen. 17:1-14>; and this practice has been faithfully observed by the Jewish community to the present day. God further expressed through Moses the real meaning of circumcision; “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways” <Deut.10:12 (NIV)> observing all His Laws and Decrees, and clarifying what circumcision really implied: “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.” <Deut 10:16 (NIV)>. The physical act of circumcision was to be followed by the spiritual act of observing God’s divine Laws, and the physical act was annulled by Christ’ death and resurrection, as far as our salvation is concerned.

“In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ” <2:11 (NIV)>. Paul teaches here that the Christian believer has been circumcised in Christ through our salvation “having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” <2:12 (NIV)>; making our need of physical circumcision for our salvation null and void. Our salvation and subsequent confession of Christ in our baptism is the evidence that our hearts have been circumcised as we seek to follow Christ and be obedient to His commands. “You, who were spiritually dead because of your sins and your uncircumcision (i.e. the fact that you were outside the Law), God has now made to share in the very life of Christ” <2:13 (J.B. Phillips New Testament in Modern English)>; we who were condemned by the Law because we were not circumcised <cf Gen.17:14> have been fully pardoned from that Law by Christ’s substitutionary work on the cross. He forgave all our sins by cancelling the written Law which condemned us by “nailing it to the cross”; “Christ has utterly wiped out the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it over his own head on the cross” <2:14 (J.B. Phillips New Testament in Modern English)>

Paul now concludes this section stating what Christ has done for us; that as a result of His death Satan and his demons were “disarmed” and do not have the power to force believers to follow false teaching about Christ, but we should be cautious and trust the Holy Spirit to help us <2:14-15; see Eph.6:12>. Paul further states, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.” <2:16 (NIV)>, indicating our total freedom from the judgment of those who would cause confusion and concern to our faith in Christ: reminding us that “These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” <2:17 (NIV); cf Heb.8:5; 10:1>.

(d).  Freedom from Improper Worship      <2:18-19>

Therefore, we should not allow anyone that delights in false humility and the worship of angels to exclude us from our fellowship with Christ by denying the reality of our salvation. Such teachers are inflated by worldly imagination and are approaching issues that they do not, or cannot understand, since through their worldly minds they are not honouring “The Head”, who is Christ. The whole body, or Church, is supported and held together and grows as God causes it to grow.

The apparent error in the Colossian Church was a faulty understanding of Christ in that He was less than Deity <cf 2:9; 1:19>, and Paul has to correct them by showing that Christ is God, and that they should not allow false teachers to influence them. True worship can only be centred on the fact that Christ is God <cf Jn.1:1; 4:23-24; 14:6-10; 8:14-16>.

(e).  Freedom from the Doctrine of Men     <2:20-23>

It is clear that false teachers were underlining the observance of holy days, the worship of angels and demanding self-denial <see 2:16, 18, 21>; so Paul has to show that they are erroneous, ineffective, and inappropriate, as a means for our salvation by questioning their reasoning; “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules” <2:20 (NIV); Gal.2:20; Rom.6:4-6; cf Gal.4:8-10>. He states that these are all destined to perish <2:21> because they are all based on human reasoning and directions; “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” <2:23 (NIV)>. Such are the teachings of these people which will always be useless since they are based on human efforts. They will fail, for it is a fact that with such there is no restraining physical indulgences.

So then Paul emphasizes that we should not be enslaved by doctrines taught by false teachers, we should check and compare all doctrine with what the scriptures teach.

 

COLOSSIANS 1-3 (a) [3/5/20]

  1. THE FREEDOM IN CHRIST <2:4-23>

(a).  Freedom from Enticing Words    <2:4-7>

Paul’s emphasis on teaching the pre-eminence of Christ is specific, in that they may understand that in Christ is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and that they may mature in this knowledge of Christ, “so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.” <2:4 (NIV)>. Throughout the history of the Church many false teachers have emerged and Paul warns the Church in his day, as well as the Church in the present age, of these false teachings; encouraging believers to live by what the Scriptures teach and to disregard the false teaching that arise. We learn what the Scriptures teach by our individual study of the Word of God as we compare Scripture with Scripture and not what some teach by their “fine-sounding arguments”. Paul desires in all believers that they have a firm faith in Christ which can only be realized through constant and intense study of Scripture <2:5b>.

Additionally, he instructs us, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught” <2:6-7 (NIV)>. Since we have received Christ as Lord of our life we must continue live by His rule, we are deep-rooted in Him and should mature in Him, so that our faith will become stronger and stronger, in accordance with what we are taught through Scripture. In so doing we will be “overflowing with thankfulness” to Christ.

(b).  Freedom from Vain Philosophy   <2:8-10>

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” <2:8 (NIV); cf Gal.1:6-7; 3:2-5>. Paul further teaches that we should be very careful of those that teach meaningless and misleading beliefs based upon tradition and worldly opinions rather than what is taught by Scripture; this is very evident in the present day as God is removed from all teaching and thoughts of the society in which we live, and unfortunately several such beliefs being embraced by the Church. Some of this has resulted in captivity to false teaching brought about by fired up teachers seeking their own individual interests and welfare rather than the glory of Christ in His Church <cf Mk.7:6-12>.

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” <2:9-10 (NIV)>. Christ is our absolute Saviour because of what He is; He is God – Deity! <cf Isa.7:14; 9:6; Matt.1:23; Jn.17:5; 20:28; Col.1:19>. The very essence of deity was totally present in His human body, a fact that is rejected by false teaching especially those who profess to have a deeper understanding or wisdom (Gnosticism) which is based on human reasoning, prevalent in Paul’s day and in our current age. Every believer in Christ participates in this “fullness in Christ” as we recognize His Headship, Power and Authority.

 

COLOSSIANS 1-2 [2/27/20]

2.   THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST <1:15—2:3>

(a).  Christ Is Preeminent in Creation      <1:15-18>

In this section we observe three important facts: Christ’s relationship to God The Father; to the creation; and to the Church.

  1. “He is the image of the invisible God” <1:15 (NIV)> “he represents to mankind the perfections of God, as an image, figure, or drawing does to the object which it is made to resemble. The meaning here is, that the being and perfections of God are accurately and fully represented by Christ. “(from Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997-2014 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.) Our Lord Jesus Christ is an exact representation of God, and in Him the unseen God is revealed, the unknown God is identified <cf Jn.14:8-11>.
  2. Christ is “the firstborn over all creation.” <1:15 (NIV)> “Among all the creatures of God, or over all his creation, occupying the rank and pro-eminence of the first-born. The first-born, or the oldest son, among the Hebrews as elsewhere, had special privileges” (from Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997-2014 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.) He has the priority, pre-eminence and sovereignty over all creation. “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” <1:16-17 (NIV)> Not only is He the firstborn, He is also the creator of all things, for scripture declares that “The Word” or Christ was with God in the beginning of creation, and furthermore “The Word   was God” and through Him all things were made <see Jn. 1:1-3>.
  3. “And he is the head of the body, the church” <1:18 (NIV)> “What the apostle has said in the two preceding verses refers to the divine nature of Jesus Christ; he now proceeds to speak of his human nature, and to show how highly that is exalted beyond all created things, and how, in that, he is head of the church-the author and dispenser of light, life, and salvation, to the Christian world; or, in other words, that from him, as the man in whom the fullness of the Godhead bodily dwelt, all the mercy and salvation of the Gospel system is to be received.” (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright© 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.) <cf Eph.1:22-23; 5:23>.

“so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” <1:18 (NIV)>. Paul’s teaching here emphasizes that in all things Christ is absolute, and that all believers, Colossians and current, must acknowledge this fact.

(b).  Christ Is Preeminent in Redemption    <1:19-23>

Here in this section Paul explains the pre-eminence of Christ in the salvation of sinners from sin and eternal separation from God, and speaks first to the qualification of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him” <1:19 (NIV)> In Christ resided all God’s comprehensiveness, and Paul in his expression “fullness” means that in Christ resided the totality of God with all His powers and attributes <see NIV Notes; cf 2:9>.

“and through him to reconcile to himself all things” <1:20 (NIV)>; “through him” meaning through Christ, all people are reunited with God. This, however, does not teach that all people are saved from sin by the death of Christ, for sin entered God’s creation because of Adam’s sin <see Rom.5:12, 18; 8:19-22> and all mankind is under the curse of sin <see Rom.3:23; 6:23>. Christ’s death restored “in principle” the peace between God and mankind, but such peace is only enjoyed by those who have believed in Christ for salvation; and will be enjoyed by all creation only at the second return of Christ to establish His kingdom <Rom.8:21>.

Having shown that Christ was fully qualified to be our Redeemer, Paul now continues to show the process and results of our redemption: “by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” <1:20 (NIV)>; the peace that believers enjoy was made possible by Christ’s blood shed on the cross. Just as in the O.T. era, the blood of the animal sacrifice was poured out on the altar, so Christ’s blood was poured out on the cross <cf Heb.9:12-14, 22>, and the scriptures go on to teach that we have peace with God through our faith in Christ <cf Rom.5:1, 9-11>.

As unrepentant sinners we were alienated from God because of our evil behaviour <1:21; cf Eph.2:11-14>. “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—” <1:22 (NIV); cf Rom.8:1; Eph.1:4>.

Paul now concludes that “This is the gospel” <1:23b>, and the condition of our continued peace with God depends on whether we continue in our faith or not, “if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.” <1:23 (NIV)>; for those that depart from their faith no longer enjoy complete peace with God <cf Heb.9:4-6>. Here again Paul is not teaching that our salvation can be lost, for Scripture teaches that God’s sheep (followers), although they stray can never be lost forever <cf Jn.10:27-30>, but they will suffer turmoil until they return to Him in repentance <see Jn.6:66; 2 Cor.6:1; Gal.4:9; 6:1; 1 Tim.1:18-20; Heb.2:1; 3:12-14; 10:39; Rev.2:4-5>.

(c).  Christ Is Preeminent in the Church    <1:24 – 2:3>

“But part of my work is to suffer for you; and I am glad, for I am helping to finish up the remainder of Christ’s sufferings for his body, the Church.” <1:24 (TLB)> Paul rejoices in the fact that “it gives me a chance to complete in my own sufferings something of the untold pains which Christ suffers on behalf of His body, The church.” (J.B. Phillips New Testament in modern English), as Christ suffered in the reconciliation between God and mankind brought about by His death for sin; so Paul experienced many adversities in preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, but Paul’s suffering did not atone for mankind’s sin.

“I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness” <1:25 (NIV)> Paul considers himself a servant to the Church, having been commissioned by Christ to preach the gospel to the Gentiles; fully declaring God’s Word, which as a sacred mystery was kept hidden in previous ages and generations, but now has been made clear to all who trust in Christ for their salvation: “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” <1:27 (NIV); cf Eph.3:2-12>. He declares Christ, reprimanding and teaching in good judgment, “so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” <1:28 <NIV)>.

“To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” <1:29 (NIV)>, to this end he is constantly working with all the strength given to him by Christ <cf Matt.28:20>. Paul confesses that he is unrelenting for them and for the Church in Laodicea, that they may be encouraged in the relationship of Christian love, “in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ” <2:2 (NIV)> so that their spiritual experience may be enriched as God’s great secret is revealed more and more to them “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” <2:3 (NIV)>. To this end is the pre-eminence of Christ in His Church.

 

COLOSSIANS 1-1 (2/14/20)

Part 1: THE SUPREMACY OF CHRIST IN THE CHURCH <1:1 – 2:23>

  1. INTRODUCTION <1:1-14>

(a). Paul’s Greeting to the Colossians         <1:1-2>

“To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ” <1:2 NIV> the word brothers used here is inclusive of all believers, male and female.

  • “holy”: not because of what we are, for we are all unworthy sinners in God’s sight; but because of who we are; we are “children of God” <Jn.1:12-13>, born into His family of believers because of our faith in Christ, and God sees us as holy in Christ <Eph.1:4>. This thought of our being holy should be humbling to us when we consider that we still sin because of our human nature, but we should be conscious of the fact that we are called to be holy <see 1 Pet.1:14-16>, and this should be the characteristic of our life <see Psa.15:1-4>, it is the true measure of our spirituality <see Rom.14:17-18>, and should be the attitude of our minds and our life-style <see Phil.4:8-9>.
  • “faithful”: all servants of Christ must exhibit the characteristic of faithfulness. This is evident in an undivided heart, one that serves God only <see Psa.86:11>, and should be our primary duty <see 1 Cor. 4:1-2>. Our faithfulness should be unmovable <see Josh.24:14-15; Isa.7:9b>.
  • Our holiness and faithfulness is the result of Christ’s substitutionary death, and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

(b). Paul’s Thanksgiving for the Colossians           <1:3-8>

“We” (Paul and Timothy) constantly give thanks to God in prayer for the Colossian believers; “because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints—the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth” <1:4-5 (NIV)>. He expresses thanks for their faith, love and hope; and it should be understood that God is the source of these three virtues. Paul describes this as he gives gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ:  “..our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” <Rom.5:1-2 (NIV)>; and we are encouraged to demonstrate these virtues in our lives as we follow and serve our Lord Jesus < cf 1 Cor.13:13; Gal.5:5-6; 1 Thess.1:3; 5:8; Heb.10:22-24>. The hope that we have is not blind or wishful thinking but a firm assurance given to us by God through His Word <see Titus 1:2>.

Paul speaks to the universality of the Gospel as it had spread to every part of the Roman Empire since Pentecost <cf 1:23; Rom.1:8; 10:17-18>, and the fact that the Church in Colosse began through the preaching of Epaphras: “this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras…who also told us of your love in the Spirit.” <1:6-8 (NIV)>.

(c).  Paul’s Prayer for the Colossians          <1:9-14>

Because of the report regarding the Church at Colosse that Paul heard from Epaphras, he prays for the Church “asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” <1:9 (NIV); cf Psa.32:8-9; Prov.16:9>. Paul’s requests six things in his prayer:

  1. “that you may live a life worthy of the Lord” <1:10 (NIV)> A believer in Christ should never forget that he/she is a child of God, and our lifestyle should reflect the fact that God is our heavenly father, and as such our conduct must display this relationship so as to be pleasing to God in every way.
  2. “bearing fruit in every good work” <1:10 (NIV)> Every aspect of our service to God must display the fruits of The Spirit <see Gal.5:16-18, 22-23>
  3. “growing in the knowledge of God” <1:10 (NIV)> Just as in humanity, a person grows and matures into adulthood, the child of God must also display growth and maturity. Our spiritual maturity results from feeding on the Word of God; the necessity for every Christian. Otherwise there could be a “falling away” as we are warned of in the Scriptures <see Heb.5:1 – 6:1>
  4. “being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might” <1:11 (NIV)> Here again we observe that as physical growth improves our physical strength, in similarity, spiritual growth results in spiritual strength. Paul referred to this growth previously <1:6> and we should understand that such strength is derived from a firm knowledge of the Scriptures <cf Phil.4:13; Jn.15:5>.
  5. “so that you may have great endurance and patience” <1:11 (NIV)> To live the Christian life to the fullest requires endurance and patience; so often we forget to include God in our daily living and forget to rely on the help of The Holy Spirit <cf Eph.4:2>. The knowledge of God that Paul refers to produces this endurance and patience as we are faced with opposition from within the Church and outside the Church.
  6. “giving thanks to the Father” <1:12 (NIV)> We do so “joyfully” as we consider what we were and what we have become <cf Eph.2:11-13>, and that we now inherit all things in Christ as God’s children <cf Eph.1:3, 13-14>.

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” <1:13-14 (NIV)>

To what extent are these blessings experienced by you? <cf Acts 26:18; Eph.1:7>. Have you, like the Colossians, experienced this freedom in Christ?

SLAVE OR FREE? (1/20)

Slave; a slave is considered as a property of another as the one controlling them purchases them or owns them [Source: Google search]. Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is “free” if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state…it is associated with having free will and being without undue or unjust constraints, or enslavement, and is an idea closely related to the concept of liberty. [Source: Wikipedia.org]

The populace today strives, or claims freedom from many things including speech and actions, and there is a constant struggle for freedom. The question is “What is freedom”? Is there such a thing as real freedom? The difficulty that arises from this debate is that freedom for one party brings about slavery for the other.

Slave3
Source: Google Search

Conversely, we are all slaves to something or someone. We are slaves to what we do on a regular basis, some of this may be good, but the majority of people become slaves to things that are harmful – physically and spiritually; slaves to our professions allowing no time for family and even more tragic is the slavery to substance abuse, gambling and sex.

The Scriptures teach us that all slavery is related to the sin that each individual inherited when born into this world; that sin controls us and causes us to do all that is contrary to what God expects of us; therefore, there must be some way out of our predicament.

THE PRODIGAL SON <Lk.15:11-24>

 “There was a man who had two sons.  The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.” <Lk.15:11-13 (NIV)>

He went off to a foreign land and squandered his money in the wildest extravagance. He was attracted to a life where there are no standards; the easy life; freedom from rules. A terrible famine arose…. he began to be desperate; he went to work for one of the citizens of that country; an occupation that was totally uncharacteristic to his nature. He got to the point of having to eat of the pigs’ food, no one cared or gave him anything; he became a slave to his circumstances.

“The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.” <Prov.5:22-23 (NIV)>

You may say “I am not wicked; I have lived a good life; I am not a slave to anyone or anything”; but here is Jesus’ response: “They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” <Jn.8:33-34 (NIV)> We are a slave by choice to our sinfulness and all that it brings upon us, but as we are taught in the Scriptures, we can make a change – slave or free <see Deut.30:15-16>. “Don’t you realize that you can choose your own master? You can choose sin…. or else obedience……The one to whom you offer yourself, he will take you and be your master and you will be his slave.” <Rom.6:16 (L.L.); 2 Pet.2:19b>.

Then the Prodigal came to his senses, he got up and returned to his father: “I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.” <Lk.15:18-20 (NIV)> This is the

Slave1
Source: Google Search

choice that each individual person needs to make; we need to turn to God in repentance and seek His forgiveness and pardon from our sins and our sinful ways; and God’s response will be similar to the response of the father in the parable.

The father’s response: “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” <Lk.15:24 (NIV)>. The same response is applicable to any, and all who turn to God and confess their sins, God makes us His child. “You my brother, are not a servant/slave any longer; you are a son. And if you are a son, then you are certainly an heir of God through Christ” <Gal.4:7 (J.B.P.); cf Jn.1:12-13>Slave2

DARKNESS COVERS THE LAND (1/20)

darkness
Google download

DARKNESS, (even a picture cannot depict what this is like) the absence of light such as existed before the light of creation <Gen 1:2>, is associated with the chaos that existed before the creation; also came to be associated with evil, bad luck, or affliction, and death <Job 17:12; Job 21:17>. In the land of the dead, there is only darkness <Job 10:21-22; Job 38:17>; symbolizes man’s ignorance of God’s will and is associated with sin <Job 24:13-17>.

As the prophet Isaiah began his ministry he is given a mental picture by God concerning the northern kingdom of Israel: “…Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.” <Isa.1:3-4 (NIV)>. The country had turned against God by worshiping idols in direct disobedience to God’s command <see Deut.8:11; Deut.12:1-5; Deut.13:4>; consequently God’s judgment is about to fall on them because of their sinful ways. Isaiah chapter 5 is a long poem telling the story of Israel’s rebellion; God had summoned the Assyrian’s to invade and conquer the kingdom of Israel, take them away as captives, and destroy Samaria their capitol city. There was nothing that the citizens could do to escape this judgment.

“And if one looks at the land, he will see darkness and distress; even the light will be darkened by the clouds.” <Isa.5:30 (NIV)>; “Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.” <Isa.8:22 (NIV)>

Those who have not yet seen the light concerning The Lord Jesus Christ, and those who deliberately turn away from the light are considered as being in darkness <see John 1:4-5; John 12:35; Eph 5:14; John 3:19-20>; and those that detest being in the light of Christ will be in condemnation <Col 1:13; 2 Peter 2:17>.

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” <Jn.3:19-20 (NIV)>

Those that continue to live in extreme darkness describe those who at the end of time have not repented; “The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.” <Rev.16:10-11 (NIV); 18:23>

There is no doubt that the times in which we are now living is described by the condition of the kingdom of Israel in Isaiah’s time. Mankind is in complete rebellion against God and refuses to listen to the truths of Scripture; all the lies of Satan will be explored rather than truths that Christ taught us to live by. The New Testament describes some of these rebellious activities <see Rom.3:10-18; Acts 19:9; 17:30; 2 Pet.2:10-12; 3:3-4>; and mankind will continue in rebellion and darkness until God’s judgment falls upon all who have rejected Him.

Where will you stand – in the Darkness, or in the Light of Christ? <Jn.3:21>