Introduction: Paul’s purpose in Colossians is to show that Christ is preeminent – first and foremost in everything – and the Christians’s life should reflect that priority. Because believers are rooted in Him, alive in Him, hidden in Him, and complete in Him, it is utterly inconsistent for them to live life without Him.
Colosse was a minor city about one hundred miles east of Ephesus in the region of the seven Asian churches of Revelation 1-3.
Paul’s Greeting to the Colossians
Verse 1 – Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
Verse 2 – to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 3 – We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
Verse 4 – since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints;
Verse 5 – because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,
This hope was the result of having heard and received the message of truth or more specifically, the gospel. Eternal happiness was reserved in heaven for them.
Verse 6 – which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;
The gospel was made available to the world through preaching. God’s word and is not just for our information, it is for transformation! Becoming a Christian means beginning a whole new relationship with God, not just turning over a new leaf, or determining to do right. New believers have a changed purpose, direction, attitude, and behavior. They no longer seek to serve themselves.
Paul stresses here, that since they had heard the gospel, it was producing the appropriate fruit.
Verse 7 – as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf,
Verse 8 – who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.
True Christian love comes from the Holy Spirit. There will be a love for one another that will reach far above just our neighborhoods. This kind of love is not just an emotion. This kind of love is a by-product of the new life in Christ.
Verse 9 – For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
Paul’s prayer for them was that they fully comprehend the full will of God, with all understanding and wisdom, understanding why and making the right decisions in wisdom. God’s intention for us is to fully understand what He intends to be accomplished through us.
Verse 10 – that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Verse 11 – strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy,
Christian behavior that pleases the Lord involves the action of good deeds, continuous spiritual growth, dependence on His power, resulting in endurance patience, and joy, and expressing gratitude for all things because God enables believers to share in the saint’s inheritance.
Verse 12 – giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
Verse 13 – He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
Verse 14 – in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
This passage here proves that we obtain forgiveness of sins through the precious blood of Christ! However that is not all that we obtain when we become a believer.
Christ Is Preeminent in Creation
Verse 15 – He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Verse 16 – For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for him.
Jesus is the exact representation of God because He is God. The title “Firstborn” does not mean that Jesus was created, but means priority and all authority over all and everything created. Christ came from heaven, not dust of the earth and He is Lord of all. Christ is also supreme over the spirit world. As the Creator, He is over the creation.
Verse 17 – And He is before all thins, and in Him all things consist.
Christ was before all things existence, because He had existence before anything was created. He’s eternal. All things are kept “consist” – kept in present state, their existence, order, and continued by His power. If unsupported by Him, they would fall into disorder, or sink back to nothing.
Verse 18 – And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
Jesus was raised from the dead, and His resurrection proves His lordship over the material world. All who trust in Christ will also defeat death and rise again to live eternally with Him.
Christ Is Preeminent in Redemption
Verse 19 – For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
Verse 20 – and 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.
God was pleased that His fullness, the entirety of God’s being, would dwell in the Son. Thus, Jesus was fully divine as well as fully human. Through Christ, God would reconcile (a right relationship) all things to Himself on the cross.
Verse 21 – And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
Verse 22 – in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and irreproachable in His sight –
No means ever used to produce reconciliation between two alienated parties has had so much tenderness and power as those which God has adopted in the plan of salvation.
Verse 23 – if indeed you continue in faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under haven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
The key word in this verse is “if.” The only way a believer will be presented holy, faultless, and blameless, is if they do not abandon their faith in Christ as presented in the gospel. Faith refers to the content of the gospel with Jesus as the object.
Christ Is Preeminent in the Church
Verse 24 – I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,
Verse 25 – of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,
Verse 26 – the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.
God’s plan of redemption was a mystery hidden until Christ came. Through Christ it was made open to all. God’s secret plan is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Verse 27 – To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Verse 28 – Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Verse 29 – To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
The word perfect means mature or complete, not flawless. Paul wanted to see each believer mature spiritually. We have the Spirit of God working in us.
An effective presentation of the gospel includes admonishing (warning) and teaching. The warning is that without Christ, people are doomed to eternal separation from God. The teaching is that salvation is available through faith in Christ. Everyone needs to hear that message.