Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Colossians 2:6-15

Past notes are on my blog at https://kevinskomment.blogspot.com/search/label/Colossians
I plan to go live on Facebook at 5:00 p.m.

Prison Epistles
Jesus: No Additions Needed
Colossians 2:6-15

SECURING THE TOMB — A joke heard around the Pentagon goes like this:

One reason the Services have trouble operating jointly is that they don't speak the same language. For example, if you told Navy personnel to "secure a building," they would turn off the lights and lock the doors.

Army personnel would occupy the building so no one could enter.

Marines would assault the building, capture it, and defend it with suppressive fire and close combat.

The Air Force, on the other hand, would take out a three-year lease with an option to buy.

It seems to me that there was some misunderstanding regarding the "securing" of a location in Palestine in the first century as well.

"On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, 'Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, "After three days I will rise." Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, "He has risen from the dead." So the last deception will be worse than the first.' Pilate said to them, 'You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.' So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard." (Matthew 27:62-66).

The Jewish and Roman leaders' idea of "securing the tomb" meant putting a big rock in front of it. Unfortunately for them (but fortunately for us), Jesus' idea was to secure the tomb's place in history by rising from the dead. Mere rocks are unable to hold back the one who created the universe! What hope is ours because of what happened that glorious morning nearly 2,000 years ago! Praise God for the resurrection of His precious Son!

Opening Questions — Get Us Thinking:
  • When you were a child or for someone who didn’t grow up going to church, what did you think made a person "religious"?

Spiritual Fullness in Christ — Colossians 2:6-15
6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forcesa of this world rather than on Christ.
9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the fleshb was put off when you were circumcised bycChrist, 12having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made youd alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.e

Research Questions — “Dig Deeper” to find God’s Will
  1. God is ... What do we learn about God?
  2. We are ... What do we learn about people?
  3. What had the Colossians received (v. 6)? What does “living in Christ” (v. 6) involve?
  4. How should Paul's readers understand the phrase "rooted and built up" in verse 7?
  5. What were the Colossians "taught" as indicated in verse 7? What was the focus?
  6. What does Paul see as the source of knowledge for true philosophy (v. 8)?
  7. What are “the basic principles of this world” (vv. 8, 20) and the “powers and authorities” (vv. 10, 15)? How did Christ give the Colossians victory over these?
  8. What kind of circumcision is done by Christ (v. 11)” How did he do it (vv. 12-15)? How does Paul use the word "baptism" in verse 12?
  9. Who made the Colossians (and all other Christians) alive (v. 13)? What experiences does the believer share with Christ (vv. 9-13)? What implications are drawn from this (vv. 13, 16-17, 20-23)?
  10. What is the "written code" Paul writes of in verse 14? What is meant by Paul when he says "nailed to the cross" (v. 14)?
  11. How are powers and authorities disarmed (v. 15)? Is the "he" of verse 15 referring to God or Christ?
Reflective Questions — Live it today.
  1. What additions do people add to God’s plan of salvation today?
  2. Last week we looked at “fine sounding arguments” and this week he points us to Christ and the cross. Do we still need to emphasize the same message? How?
  3. How do we make spiritual progress without adding to the God’s plan?
  4. I will ... What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you in this passage? How will you apply it to your life this week?
  5. You can ... Who do you know who needs to hear this?
  6. How does this equip us be a better disciple and help empower us to “make disciples”?

Unless there is within us that which is above us, we shall soon yield to that which is about us.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Colossians 1:24-2:5

Past notes are on my blog at https://kevinskomment.blogspot.com/search/label/Colossians
I plan to go live on Facebook at 5:00 p.m.
Prison Epistles
Jesus: Share Him
Colossians 1:24-2:5

WHO IS JESUS TO YOU? — How would you answer the question?
Most likely, I would hope, is that he is Savior. If He is not this to you, then anything else He might be is of no real consequence. But in addition to that He might be thought of as teacher, friend, High Priest, Shepherd, sustainer, creator, and so on. All are true, and all are important.
Prophesied concerning the coming Messiah are the various roles He would fill. Isaiah said, “...his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
All of us struggle at times and some more often than others with what we should do. Jesus is the possessor of “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). Is He to me my Wonderful Counselor?
Unquestioned is the place of Jesus of Nazareth as the most influential man to ever walk this earth. But owing to that fact is the truth that He was not merely man. Jesus was God in the flesh. Is He to me, Mighty God?
Among the numerous limitations that define each of us as human is that of time. Our existence is in the present. We have memory the past and anticipation of the future, but reality is in the here and now. No such deficiency hinders Jesus. As deity He is eternal. That not only means He is without beginning or end, but He, like God, is not bound by time. He is the Father of Eternity. Is He to me, Everlasting Father?
Very great among the truths we must know is that of our sin placing us in an adversarial roll with God. He loves us, but our sin He hates. Sin, by its very nature, demands the wrath of God, by His very nature. Jesus, by the blood of His cross makes possible peace with God (Colossians 1:20). Is He to me my Prince of Peace?
What, we ask again, is Jesus to you?

Opening Questions — Get Us Thinking:
  • Are you someone who enjoys a mystery?

Paul’s Labor for the Church — Colossians 1:24-2:5
24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 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.
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.
I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.

Research Questions — “Dig Deeper” to find God’s Will
  1. God is ... What do we learn about God?
  2. We are ... What do we learn about people?
  3. Why is Paul rejoicing in verse 24? For whom is he doing it?
  4. In what sense are Paul’s sufferings a continuation of Jesus’ sufferings? Why would this lead him to rejoice (see 2 Corinthians 12:9-10)?
  5. When Paul "presents" the Word of God, what is his goal (v. 24)?
  6. What is the "fullness" as used in verse 25?
  7. How does Paul use the term "mystery" in verse 26? Compared to other uses from the same time period?
  8. Who are the “Lord’s people” (saints) in verse 26?
  9. What is significant in Paul's inclusion of the "Gentiles" (v. 27) “everyone” (v. 28)? What to "riches" and "glory" indicate for the believer?
  10. Where does Paul's source of strength come from (v. 29)?
  11. In verse 1 what does Paul intend for us to understand when he says he is "struggling" (contending hard)? Why would Paul strain for a people he had never met?
  12. In verse 2 how is "heart" employed by Paul?
  13. In 2:3-4, Paul contrasts clever speech and true wisdom. What does this indicate about false teaching infecting the church?
  14. Why are these treasures from verse 3 no longer considered "hidden"?
  15. What does the expression "in spirit" (v. 5) indicate?
  16. What is the good news indicated by Paul's "delight" with the Colossians in verse 5?
Reflective Questions — Live it today.
  1. Is Paul’s stated purpose (1:28; 2:2) a reality in your life? Or are you still somewhere along the way?
  2. What “fine sounding arguments” hinder you in following only Jesus? How does Paul speak to your concerns?
  3. How has finding Christ been like uncovering long-lost buried treasure?
  4. I will ... What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you in this passage? How will you apply it to your life this week?
  5. You can ... Who do you know who needs to hear this?
  6. How does this equip us be a better disciple and help empower us to “make disciples”?

The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Colossians 1:15-23

Past notes are on my blog at https://kevinskomment.blogspot.com/search/label/Colossians
I plan to go live on Facebook at 5:00 p.m.
Prison Epistles
Jesus: Magnify Him
Colossians 1:15-23


A DIFFICULT WORD -- I heard about an office whose answering machine was set up to instruct callers to leave their name and address, and to spell any difficult words.
Early one Monday, when the secretary was reviewing the weekend messages, she heard an enthusiastic young woman recite her name and address, and then confidently offer, "My difficult word is reconciliation. R-E-C-O-N-C-I-L-I-A-T-I-O-N."
Reconciliation can be a difficult word. It's not that it's difficult to understand. Webster defines the word "reconcile" as "to restore to friendship or harmony, to settle or resolve." The word can be used in a variety of ways, but when it's applied to people it basically means to get two separated people back together again. So we talk about a husband who wants to be reconciled to a wife who has left him. A father who wants to be reconciled to a wayward son. And a lost sinner who needs to be reconciled to God.
While not difficult to understand, reconciliation can be a difficult word to put into practice. It can be very difficult to get two family members who are at odds to be reconciled. And it can sometimes seem very difficult for us (or for others we know) to be made right with God.
 A man once went to a preacher because he was having some family problems. He wasn't a very well-educated man and sometimes got his words confused. He said, "Me and my wife need a re-cancellation." What he meant to say was reconciliation, but the word re-cancellation wasn't a bad choice. Because there can be peace for those who have been separated only when sin has been canceled. As sinners before a righteous God, we need a "re-cancellation". And that's exactly what Jesus made available when he died on the cross.
"....by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight." (Colossians 1:20-22)
Thanks be to God for making this difficult word a reality in our lives.

Opening Questions — Get Us Thinking:
· What animal do you consider the “king of the jungle.”

The Supremacy of the Son of God — Colossians 1:15-23
15The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because ofg your evil behavior. 22But 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— 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Research Questions — “Dig Deeper” to find God’s Will
1. God is ... What do we learn about God?
2. We are ... What do we learn about people?
3. What did Paul want his Colossian readers to focus on? What about Christ causes us to look at Him as supreme?
4. This sounds strange. How can something invisible have an image? What does the term "image" (v. 15) mean?
5. At first glance the word "firstborn" (v. 15) is confusing. Was Jesus the first person created? How can we explain it in context?
6. The “firstborn” has the rights of an heir. What rights does Jesus have (vv. 15-18)? What is his relationship to “all things” and why say it twice? Why emphasize this? (See note below)
7. What is meant by this list: thrones, powers, rulers, and authorities (v. 16)?
8. How is Jesus the "head of the body" in verse 18?
9. What is his relationship to God and the church? What does “fullness” imply (v. 19)? What should we note about God's pleasure in this verse?
10. Why did all things need to be reconciled to God and the “cross” indicate to us (v. 20)? How was this achieved by Jesus?
11. How much do you identify with verse 21, even now? Do you still sense “evil” in your mind? How does verses 22-23 make you feel?
12. Can a Christian lose their salvation or their faith as the word “continue” (v. 23) seems to indicate?

Reflective Questions — Live it today.
1. At times, what people (or forces) seem to be more powerful than Jesus? Why? How do you respond to the fact that even these are under Christ’s authority?
2. How would you describe Jesus to someone who has never become a disciple of Christ? To what would you compare him?
3. I will ... What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you in this passage? How will you apply it to your life this week?
4. You can ... Who do you know who needs to hear this?
5. How does this equip us be a better disciple and help empower us to “make disciples”?

"Anything that one imagines of God apart from Christ is only useless thinking and vain idolatry."



=================
Harding Lectures, 1975, Problem passages— by Ed Sanders

Colossians 1:15 — Christ the firstborn of all creation.
a.    The theory that Christ is a created god: the first of all things or persons made by God in Creation.
b.    Indications of the eternity of Christ.
c.    Discussion of becor and prototokos = "firstborn".
d.    Significance of Revelation 3:14—the beginning of the creation of God.
e.    Solution from these evidences and context.

Materialists - particularly Jehovah's witnesses - Like to cite Colossians 1:15 as evidence that Christ is a created God. The idea is that God created Christ, then everything else. This, it is said, makes Christ the firstborn of all creation.

Of course, John 1:1-3 indicates that Christ is eternal. He is God. He made everything that has been made. Isaiah 9:6 speaks of the promised child born of a virgin as "Eternal Father." Christ is eternal, divine, and self-generating. He is not a created God.

The word, "firstborn" does not indicate order of existence in time. In the O.T., it is the Hebrew word, becor and is used with reference to Jacob (Ex 4:22). Jacob was a twin, but he was born after Esau. Still, he is called God's firstborn. Why? Because the word means "highest honored." It has to do with preeminence. Esau, who was born first, was banished to barren Edom, the rocky desert south of the Dead Sea, while the Christ came from Jacob, God's firstborn--highest honored-- preeminent.

It is also used of David, Psalms 89:27, though David was born last of all of Jesse's Sons, God calls him God's own firstborn--highest honored—preeminent.

The Greek equivalent of becor = "firstborn" is prototokos and this is the word. Paul uses in Colossians 1:15. Christ is God's highest honored—God's preeminent one and that is exactly what verse. 18 says.

Sometimes the "Created God" idea is buttressed with Revelation 3:14. Where Christ is said to be the beginning of the creation of God. What is willingly ignored is that the word "beginning” arche, can mean source. The beginning of the Mississippi River is the outlet of Lake Itasca in Minnesota.  This is the source of the great "Father of Waters." Christ, the preeminent one, is the source of God's creation. Read again the first 3 verses of John's gospel and the first 3 verses of Hebrews.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Colossians 1:3-14

Past notes are on my blog at https://kevinskomment.blogspot.com/search/label/Colossians
I plan to go live on Facebook at 5:00 p.m.
Prison Epistles
Jesus: Thanksgiving and Prayer
Colossians 1:3-14

WHAT CAN GOD DO THROUGH YOU? -- "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Ephesians 3:20).


The greatness of salvation cannot be overstated. In Christ, we have been "delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Colossians 1:13). Though we were "dead in trespasses and sins." and "alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that was in us," we were "raised up together with Christ and made to sit together with Him kin heavenly places."  we have been "reconciled to God through the death of His Son," and are now "heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ" (Ephesians 2:1-2; 4:18; 2:6; Romans 8:17). Now washed from our sins, we are "kings and priests unto God" (Revelation 1:5-6), made suitable for Divine habitation and use.


The Divine power that has been devoted to us transcends the loftiest imagination of the natural mind. Even after we are regenerated, the greatness of this power must be revealed to us. Paul prayed with great fervency for believers in this regard. "Therefore I  . . . do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him . . . and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come" (Ephesians 1:15-21). Because of the sacrifice of Christ, this transcendent power is devoted to us -- but its continued efficacy depends upon our awareness of its power.


This is a power that characterized by "exceeding greatness," and it accomplishes exceeding great things within us. Hear the analysis of the Spirit on this matter. "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Ephesians 3:20). God can "work in you that which is well pleasing in  His sight" through this power (Hebrews 13:20-21). There are no limitations.


What can God do through you? More than you can think or imagine! Whatever you perceive that requires Divine activity, ask that God do it through you! Ask him to open your eyes to the accessibility of the power, and the extent of your opportunities to glorify Him.



Opening Questions — Get Us Thinking:
· How is Jesus greater than any heroes we have today?


Thanksgiving and Prayer -- Colossians 1:3-14
3We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. 7You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant,c who is a faithful minister of Christ on ourd behalf, 8and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,e10so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified youf to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.



Research Questions — “Dig Deeper” to find God’s Will
1. God is ... What do we learn about God?
2. We are ... What do we learn about people?
3. Paul hasn’t met these believers (2:1), yet he is attracted to them and gives thanks for them. Why? What types of people are you attracted to when you enter a new church group?
4. How does it make you feel when a friend tells you the specific things he or she notices and appreciates about you?
5. What is our hope which is laid up in heaven? Is it more than heaven itself? Why are faith and love the products of hope (v. 5)? Why must hope exist first?
6. When did you first come to know the hope offered through Christ in the Gospel?
7. By the time Paul wrote this letter, how far had the gospel gone outside of the city of Jerusalem? (v. 6) What impresses you about how the gospel spread. (vv. 5-8)?
8. What does it mean to tell the whole truth about God’s grace (v. 6)? Conversely, how does one betray grace? What is the difference between hearing and knowing the grace of God? What truth about grace do you see in verses (12-14)?
9. How does what Paul prays for (9-11) compare with what he thanks God for (12-14)?
10. What is the “Power  or dominion of Darkness” (v. 13)

 Reflective Questions — Live it today.
1. How does your prayer for others compare with Paul’s: (a) In intensity? (b) in thankfulness? © in clarity? (d) in faithfulness?
2. How is the fruit of hope, faith, and love growing in your life: Developing well? Suffering from drought? Destroyed by the last storm? Budding? How will you help this “crop” develop?
3. How have others helped you to hear and understand the truth about God’s grace?
4. Who in the church could you affirm this week for demonstrating those Christian qualities?
5. I will ... What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you in this passage? How will you apply it to your life this week?
6. You can ... Who do you know who needs to hear this?
7. How does this equip us be a better disciple and help empower us to “make disciples”?
 "Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.”
— A. W. Tozer

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Colossians Introduction

Past notes are on my blog at https://kevinskomment.blogspot.com/search/label/Colossians
I plan to go live on Facebook at 5:00 p.m.
Prison Epistles
Jesus: The All-Sufficient Christ
Colossians 1:1-2


Who wrote the book?
The apostle Paul is the author of this epistle. (1:1) The literary structure and style is that of Paul. The historical setting shows it to be the work of the apostle Paul. Most scholars agree it was written by the apostle Paul. It was written to the church in Colossae. Timothy and Epaphras probably established the church in Colossae during Paul’s three-year stay in Ephesus while on his third missionary journey (Colossians 1:7; Acts 19:10, 26). Colossae was located in the Lycus Valley near to Hierapolis and Laodicea. The church was primarily a Gentile church (1:21-27).
Before Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Colossae, he had never been to their city (Colossians 2:1). This helps explain the personal greetings he included at the end of the letter, a practice he usually reserved for letters to churches he had not visited (for example, Romans). Paul sought to develop personal connections with the people he hoped to teach and serve, rather than just going around from city to city asserting his apostolic authority. The more personal tone at the close of this letter would have been especially significant in creating a connection with the Colossian believers, given the fact that part of Paul’s reason for writing involved calling out the heretical teachers who had infiltrated the Colossian church.

Where are we?
All agree it was written from Rome during Paul’s first imprisonment. It is one of the prison epistles. The other prison epistles are Ephesians, Philippians and Philemon. In AD 60–62, during his first imprisonment in Rome, Paul penned this letter to the Colossian church after he had received a report that they were struggling with a Christological heresy. The report came from Epaphras, likely the leader of the church at Colossae and a convert of Paul’s from his more than two-year ministry in Ephesus. Epaphras had come to Rome in part to serve Paul during his imprisonment (Philemon 1:23) but also to confide in him regarding the dangerous teachings the Colossians were hearing. So Paul sent this letter, along with the letters to Philemon and to the Ephesians, with Tychicus, accompanied by Onesimus (Colossians 4:7Philemon 1:10–12). Tychicus was a coworker of Paul who would have been able to help the Colossian believers understand and apply the apostle’s teachings in the letter.
Why is Colossians so important?
The church at Colossae was under attack from false teachers who were denigrating the deity of Jesus; they were teaching that He was not actually God. Though Paul had never been to the church itself, he addressed these issues head-on. The nature of Jesus Christ as Creator and Redeemer was nonnegotiable, so Paul wrote to them that he might bring his wisdom to bear on this difficult and trying situation. It was critical to him that this church know God in His greatness and glory, rather than in the deficient view given them by the false teachers (Colossians 1:252:1–2).
There were Judaizing teachers in Colossae who were seeking to lead the Christians away from the pure gospel of Christ. These Judaizing teachers seem to have been heavily influenced by the Essenes. This combination included keeping the special days of Judaism, angel worship and asceticism of the Essenes. Many see a Gnostic influence in Colossae. This epistle was probably written too early for much Gnostic influence. Gnosticism was a heresy in the second century. Although its roots go back to the first century, it was not fully developed at this time. The false teaching in Colossae was a strange combination of Judaism and paganism. Paul refuted the errors by exalting the person and deity of Jesus. He presented Jesus as the one Mediator between God and man thereby excluding angel worship. Paul taught Jesus was the only means of sanctification, thereby excluding asceticism.

The City of Colossae
The city of Colossae was located on the river Lycus in the southwestern part of Phrygia. The city was located about 110 miles east of Ephesus, in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). It had once been a large city; however, it had declined due to the rivalry of Laodicea and Hierapolis. This valley suffered a devastating earthquake in A.D. 61. Today nothing remains of Colossae, Laodicea and Hierapolis. There were a number of Jews in Colossae. The soil was very fertile. There were many sheep in the area. Both Colossae and Laodicea were noted for their woolen goods. Laodicea was eleven miles south of Colossae. Hierapolis was thirteen miles from Colossae and six miles from Laodicea.

What's the big idea?
In this book, the apostle Paul described Jesus with some of the loftiest language in all the New Testament, focusing on Christ’s preeminence and sufficiency in all things. Colossians is the most Christ-centered book in the New Testament. Paul presented Christ as the center of the universe, not only as the active Creator but also as the recipient of creation—in His taking on of human flesh. Christ was and is the visible image of the invisible God, containing within Himself the fullness of Deity (Colossians 2:9). Because of His divine nature, Jesus is sovereign, above all things with an authority given Him by the Father. As such, Jesus is also Head over the church. He has reconciled all things to Himself through His death on the cross, making believers alive to God and setting them on the path to right living. This proper view of Christ served as the antidote for the Colossian heresy as well as a building block for Christian life and doctrine both then and now.
Paul's purpose is to refute the Colossian heresy. To accomplish this goal, he exalts Christ as the very image of God, the Creator, the preexistent sustainer of all things, the head of the church, the first to be resurrected, the fullness of deity (God) in bodily form, and the reconciler.

How do I apply this?

Your view of Jesus Christ will impact every area of your life. Many today want only practical instruction and helps for living, shunning topics such as doctrine and theology because they seem to be out of touch with their day-to-day reality. Paul’s view was different. He saw that the Christological problems in the Colossian church had practical importance as well. Believers have died with Christ; therefore, we need to die to our sins. We have also been raised with Christ; therefore, we must live well in Him and put on qualities that are motivated by Christian love. And because He is Lord over all, the life of the Christian is a life of submission to Jesus. Are you following after Jesus as you should? Our faith in Jesus Christ should transform the relationships we have in every area of our lives—in our homes, our churches, and our world.

OUTLINE OF THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS
I. Christ is The Head Of All Things In Creation 1:1-29
 A. Address And Greeting 1:1-2
 B. Thanksgiving For The Faith Of Colossian Christians 1:3-8
 C. Prayer For Their Progress In Christ 1:9-23
 D. The Apostle's Joy In His Suffering And Labors For Christ 1:24-29

II. Don’t Be Led Away From Christ The Head 2:1-23
 A. Importance Of The Subject 2:1-7
 B. Exhortation To Steadfastness 2:8-15
 C. Warnings Against Ritualistic Prohibitions And Against Angel Worship 2:16-19
 D. The Importance Of Their Dying With Christ 2:20-23

III. Live As Those Who Have Risen With Christ 3:1-4:6
 A. Fellowship With The Exalted Christ The Motivation To The New Life 3:1-4
 B. Exhortation - Negative And Positive 3:5-17
 C. Special Precepts Concerning Household Relations 3:18-4:1
 D. Exhortations Concerning Prayer And Aliens 4:2-6

IV. Concluding Exhortations 4:7-18
 A. Personal Intelligence 4:7-9
 B. Salutations And Messages 4:10-17
 C. Farewell Greetings 4:18

Monday, November 6, 2017

Jonah

   When a boy went off to college, his father said, "Don't ever let the take away your faith."
   Back home after two years of college the son was asked, "Do you still believe the Bible?  I hope you didn't let them weaken your faith in the Bible.  You still believe Jonah was swallowed by a fish?"
   "Oh, now, Father," said John, "you don't mean to say that you still believe that story about Jonah?"
   The father threw up his hands, horror-stricken.  "Oh, son, you've forsaken you father's faith!"
   "Father, is Jonah still in your Bible?  Have you read about him lately?  Father, get your Bible and show me where you find anything about Jonah."
   With considerable indignation the father took down his Bible and began to turn over the leaves excitedly, but could not find Jonah.
   "Now, Father, I may have played a mean trick, but two years ago when I went to college, I took your Bible and carefully cut out the pages of Jonah, and you have never missed it."
   The father's face revealed an inward struggle.  Then he quietly said, "I see it.  I'm as bad as the unbelievers.  There has been no Jonah in my Bible for two years."

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Moving To Maturity - Series

Moving To Maturity
Benchmarks In Discipleship

              Acts 8:26-40
              Colossians 3:1-17
              1 Corinthians 12:12-27
              John 13:1-17
              Matthew 16:21-27
              2 Corinthians 5:16-20