Archive for the ‘Colossians’ Category

Colossians 4

Colossians 4 is the final chapter in Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae.  He begins reminding masters to “treat your slaves justly and fairly”.  There is a principle here for bosses to understand.  We have a responsibility to the way we treat those who work for us.  While we don’t call employees slaves today, the principle of fairness and justice applies here anyway.  We must not show favoritism and mistreat folks who work for us.  We have a job to do – to lead our employees well.  It is not a situation where we can do whatever we want.  We will be accountable to “the Master” who will require us to give account for how we have treated those in our employ.

Paul goes on and gives direction to the church in how they should live.  He lists a number of things the congregation should be doing:

–       “Continue steadfastly in prayer

–       being watchful in it with thanksgiving

–       God may open to us a door for the word

–       to declare the mystery of Christ

–       that I may make it clear

–       which is how I ought to speak

–       Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders

–       making the best use of the time

–       Let your speech always be gracious

–       seasoned with salt

–       so that you may know how you ought to answer each person

We need to be in prayer with a thankful heart seeking the opportunity to speak truth to all God allows in our patch.  We need to season our words with salt – which makes people thirsty – and will draw them to the “living water” of God’s Word.  How we interact with others matters – we are His representative and speak His truth.  We need to be gracious and have an answer to the questions that others may have.  If we don’t know the answer – we need to seek the Truth from His Word and find it so we can provide them direction.  Paul also challenges us to make the best use of time – time is precious and there is a limited amount, so we need to use it wisely.

He goes on to talk about Tychicus and other faithful men who have been with him as he writes this letter.  We can learn about the key characteristics that God is excited about through Paul’s praise here:

–       “beloved brother

–       faithful minister

–       fellow servant

–       encourage your hearts

–       struggling on your behalf in his prayers

These men are focused on serving and ministering through prayer and encouragement.  What will people say about your life and the impact it has had.  Will you even be mentioned if someone writes about the people who have made a difference?  We need to really get focused on living like Paul and these fellow ministers of the gospel.  It matters how we live.  Are you walking this way?  Will others call you someone who is struggling in your prayers on their behalf?  We need to realize the power we have to make a difference if we live as true Christ Followers and walk with Jesus!

Colossians 3:16-25

Colossians 3:16-25 contains a couple very important topics that Paul addresses.  The first is a list of how we need to live together in harmony in the body of Christ.  Paul tells us to:

–       “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly

–       teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom

–       singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs

–       with thankfulness in your hearts to God

Scripture needs to dwell richly in us.  That means we need to be in God’s Word, know His truth, meditate on it day and night, and have our lives totally consumed with knowing Him through His Word.  Once we begin to know and understand His Word – we need to teach others what it says.  We need to spew truth to all in our patch, and then admonish them to live it daily as their life.  We need to push each other to be Christ Followers.  We can do it in a happy way as we sing songs and hymns, which also normally reinforce God’s Word.  It is another way for us to get deeper with God as we worship through music.  And then we need to express thanks to God – not just quietly – but express it so all can see.  These four things are critical in helping to grow the Body of Christ and to encourage each other in our walk as Christ Followers.

Paul then continues and gives some strong advice for how things need to work in the family and workplace.  These are not suggestions, but they are God’s very plan for how things need to happen, and because we fail here, families are flying apart all over the place.  Look carefully at Paul’s direction here:

–       “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord

–        Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them

–       Children, obey your parents in everything

–       Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged

–       Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord

This is some tough medicine for many to follow.  But there is a reason for God’s design for the family.  There is a reason Paul calls out these specific areas because this is where things break down.  Women don’t want to submit, men don’t want to love and lead, kids don’t want to obey, fathers don’t train up their kids in love, and slaves (workers) don’t obey with a sincere heart.  So things fall apart.  The family and workplace disintegrate and bad things happen.  Paul gives us the bottom line no matter what our place is today: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ”.

We don’t work for anyone but the Lord.  He has given us clear instruction in how we are to live in the home and at work.  He has given direction on the attitudes we must have.  When we refuse to obey – when we do it our way and not His – we cannot blame anyone but ourselves when marriages fail, kids rebel, jobs end or other bad outcomes occur.  These are not suggestions on how to live.  These are God’s design.  They are the way things are intended to happen.  When we insist on doing things our way – we get our results – and those are nowhere close to what God intended.  Are you living God’s way at home or at work?  If not, there is no one else to blame than the person in the mirror!

Colossians 3:1-15

Colossians 3 is full of powerful direction for our lives a Christ Followers in a short 25 verses.  There is so much here we will address it over two days.   Paul begins by admonishing us to “set your mind on things that are above”.  He goes on later to tell us to “put on” these characteristics:

–       “compassion

–       Kindness

–       Humility

–       Meekness

–       Patience

–       bearing with one another

–       forgiving each other

–       put on love

–       let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts

–       be thankful

And Paul also gives us a list of things we need to put off and not think about – he tells us to “put to death” these things:

–       “sexual immorality

–       Impurity

–       Passion

–       evil desire

–       covetousness

–       idolatry

–       anger

–       wrath

–       malice

–       slander

–       obscene talk

–       Do not lie

Paul gives us great direction – in order to success with this we have to “put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator”.  We can’t just stop doing things.  We have to replace the things we are trying to stop with things that we need to add.  So often we just try to stop doing things, but that seldom works.  We have to replace bad habits with good ones.  We have to put on something to replace what we intend to put off.  Paul gives us two important lists here.  We are a new creation in Christ – our lives should reflect that clearly.  Are you putting on what God has called us to do?

Colossians 2

Colossians 2 has Paul telling the church that he has been working to encourage their hearts and to help knit them together in live.  Paul wants to prepare them to walk firmly in their faith in Christ.  He tells them this: “as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him”.  When we receive the saving grace of Jesus in our life – it is not the end – it is the beginning.  It is the start of a walk as a Christ Follower that should consume us.  Paule goes on and tells the church what that means:

–       ” rooted and built up in him

–       established in the faith, just as you were taught

–       abounding in thanksgiving

–       no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit

Bottom line is that to walk with Jesus we need to be focused on learning God’s Word.  It has to be something we are taught and rooted in.  We need to know it so we are not led astray by false teaching or deceit. 

Paul goes on to tell us what the impact of Jesus should be in our life:

–       “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily

–       you have been filled in him

–       the head of all rule and authority

–       In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ

–       having been buried with him in baptism

–       raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead

–       you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him

–       having forgiven us all our trespasses

–       canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands

–       This he set aside, nailing it to the cross

–       He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him”.

So what does that mean to you and me?  That we are to live life in a way that oozes Jesus.  We should let “no one disqualify you” by speaking gobblety gook spiritual stuff.  We should know how to handle God’s Word – we should know the Truth – and we need to share it openly and with confidence.  People will try and pull others into all kinds of man-made junk – but there is one God that we must stand firmly for and live continually for.  He alone is worthy of our praise.  He alone is God!

Colossians 1

Colossians 1 is Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae.  He begins by building them up – and recognizing their teacher Epaphras who has faithfully ministered Jesus to them.  Then Paul gives us an example of how we can pray for each other.  Look at the things they “have not ceased to pray for”:

  1. asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will
  2. all spiritual wisdom and understanding
  3. to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord
  4. fully pleasing to him
  5. bearing fruit in every good work
  6. increasing in the knowledge of God
  7. strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might
  8. for all endurance and patience with joy
  9. giving thanks to the Father
  10. to share in the inheritance of the saints in light

What a list of things that Paul lifts the church up around there.  Notice the focus – it is all on knowing God, loving God, pleasing God, thanking God – it is all about living for an audience of One.  There is no “self” in that prayer – it is all focused upward and toward the Father.  We need to pray for each other this way.  Who do you pray for daily?  Who do you lift up with these kinds of words?

But beside the prayer itself, Paul also gives us the reason why we can pray to God.  He lists a bunch of attributes of the Father.  Check these out:

  1. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness
  2. transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son
  3. we have redemption
  4. the forgiveness of sins
  5. He is the image of the invisible God
  6. by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him
  7. he is before all things
  8. in him all things hold together
  9. he is the head of the body, the church
  10. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead
  11. in everything he might be preeminent
  12. in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell
  13. through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross

Paul is praying and relying on the Father.  He alone is king.  He says it this way “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me”.  Paul has one mission – to share Christ.  He poured out his entire life to share the truth of God’s Word with the Jews but also the Gentiles.  He shared it with anyone who would listen, and many who wouldn’t.  He was passionate about his walk with Christ.  How about you?  Are you passionate about walking with Jesus?  Is that what drives you?

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