Colossians – Chapter 3

Position of the Believer

Verse 1 – If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

Verse 2 – Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Seeking and setting our minds on things above: Striving to put heaven’s priorities into daily practice. We should keep in mind that these things on earth are only temporary, not eternal.

Verse 3 – For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

When we became born-again, we died to sin and should have little desire for the things of this world. The Christian’s real home is where Christ is. This truth gives us a different perspective of our lives on earth. We should look at things with God’s perspective and see what He desires. If more Christians really believed this, it would wipe out depression altogether. The things we go through are only temporary. They will pass!

Verse 4 – When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Verse 5 – Therefore put to death your members which are on earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

I always wondered why covetousness is associated with idolatry, so I’ll try to explain. When someone has a strong passionate desire to wrongfully desire to have what another has, without regard of their rights, then the passion that is put behind that desire is placed on the wrong object or person. All of our desire and passion should be going towards God and if it doesn’t, that’s when covetousness becomes an idol.

Be content with what God allows you to have and keep your focus on Christ and you won’t let the lust of the eyes take over.

Verse 6 – Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon sons of disobedience,

Verse 7 – in which you also once walked when you lived in them.

Paul is talking about the former way of life we all lived before we came to Christ. Those who don’t choose Christ will face the wrath of God.

Verse 8 – But now you must also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.

Let me explain something about “filthy language.” Someone that used to talk filthy before becoming a Christian, cannot any longer use this type of language. I know people will slip once in a while when they are a new believer, but they should try with every effort to “Stop it!”

Someone posted the question on Facebook one time, asking if someone that calls them-self a Christian can still cuss like a sailor? No they can’t. That is the old person and that behavior is to be put away. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

Verse 9 – Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with his deeds,

Verse 10 – and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,

Verse 11 – where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

Our behavior, our attitudes, and our language, all change because Christ lives in every believer through the Holy Spirit. If you call yourself a true Christian, then act like it and sound like one, period!

Verse 12 – Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

Verse 13 – bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you must also do.

I’m going to say something that may shock some of you or you may totally agree. It gets harder and harder to just forgive and go on as if nothing has happened in this day and time. Why do you think that is? (I’m taking about Christians with other Christians) I think it is primarily because the Christian today, in many cases, is in name only and not in their actions and attitudes toward others. People seem to think its alright to not treat others the way they wish to be treated. People are selfish and self-centered. However, Paul made no exceptions to forgiving other Christians in these passages. Because we have been forgiven much, we are to forgive much. And like many others, I need help with that and it can only come through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 14 – But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

Verse 15 – And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Peace, not conflict, are to rule a Christian’s heart. A lot of times the only way to keep peace is to let another win the conflict. Wouldn’t it be nice if true born-again Christians would check “that old attitude” at the door? Self-centeredness, and out-of-control behavior, never has peace within.

Verse 16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

And there lies the key in the first few words of this verse. If we, being a Christian, want peace with God and others, then know the word of Christ and then act like we know it.

Verse 17 – And whatever you do in word and deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Doing all in the name of the Lord Jesus means bringing honor to Christ in every aspect and activity of daily living. As a Christian, we represent Christ at all times – wherever we go and whatever we say.

Verse 18 – Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Verse 19 – Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.

Verse 20 – Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

Love is still the bases for these three verses. When someone loves their spouse, they will respect and submit to them. Be very careful how you treat your spouse, because you will answer to God one day.

Verse 21 – Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Continuously finding fault with a child will break their spirit and cause them to hate.

Verse 22 – Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men pleasers, but in sincerity heart, fearing God.

verse 23 – And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,

We should do everything without complaining or resentment.

Verse 24 – knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance, for you serve the Lord Christ.

Have you ever lived or worked with someone who complained about everything, including the weather? I think it’s because they are ungrateful of what they do have. We should remember how unpleasant it is to be around that person when we start to complain. God hears it all and when a person does that, they are really complaining about God.

Verse 25 – But he who does wrong will be repaid for the wrong which he has done, and there is no partiality.

God does not discriminate when it comes to disciplining bad behavior. This verse goes back to “You reap what you sow.” If you constantly sow discord and strife, that will be what comes back on you. On the other hand, if you sow love, peace, and joy your life will bear much fruit, pleasing to God.

 

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Colossians – Chapter 2

Verse 1 – For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh,

Laodicea was located a few miles northwest of Colosse. Like the church at Colosse, the Laodicea church was probably founded by one of Paul’s converts while Paul was staying in Ephesus. In the book of Revelation, Christ would criticize the believers of this church for being lukewarm.

Verse 2 – that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,

Verse 3 – in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Believers need solid, firm, relationships with other Christians. Sometimes that’s hard to find, because even within the church, we find people living any way they want and some of us do not want any part of that. In and through Christ, all wisdom and knowledge is found. In reference to this wisdom and knowledge, a great treasure is housed.

Verse 4 – Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.

Verse 5 – For though I am absent int he flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

The problem that Paul was combating in the Colossian church was similar to Gnosticism. This heresy undermined Christianity. It’s contrary to Bible doctrine. (1) It insisted that important secret knowledge was hidden from most believers. (2) It taught that the body was evil. (3) It contended that Christ seemed to be human, but was not. Paul taught that Christ was fully human and fully God.

People can be easily persuaded by false doctrine when they don’t know the truth. The only way to know heresy when yo hear it, is to know true Biblical doctrine.

Freedom From Vain Philosophy

Verse 8 – Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

Christian’s obtain their doctrine from Scripture. The world has a way of sliding their traditions into the worship of Christ and into the modern church. This is a strong warning to all believers. When man-made laws, rules, and rituals become part of your religion, then that is heresy. We must know God’s word to avoid anything that is not associated with faith in Christ. (And yes, there are principles and standards we live by.)

Verse 9 – For in Him dwells all the fullness of the godhead bodily;

Every system that denies this is in denial of the doctrine which Paul had taught. Almost all heresy began by some form of denial of the great central truth of the incarnation of the Son of God.

“In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,” means that all of God was in Christ’s human body. When we have Christ we have everything we need for salvation and right living.

Verse 10 – and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

There is a completion in each believer, filling us up with: wisdom to guide us; the atonement to be made for sin; the merit by which a sinner can be justified, and the grace which is needed to sustain us in trials, and to aid us int he duties of life.

Freedom From Judgment of Men

Verse 11 – In Him you were also circumcised with circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,

Verse 12 – buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

The circumcision of the Messiah was spiritual and associated with circumcision of the heart. Baptism relates to Christ’s death and burial. Believer’s baptism symbolizes union with Christ in death and complete separation from the former way of life. Believers are raised with Him through faith, according to God’s power.

Verse 13 – And you , being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

Before believing in Jesus, our nature was evil. We did not love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind. The resurrection of Christ was the means of imparting to us spiritual life. Now, the Christian has a new nature. That old rebellious nature is replaced with a loving nature. The penalty of sin died with Christ on the cross. God has declared us not guilty, and we need no longer live under sin’s power.

Verse 14 – having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

The written requirements that was wiped out were the legal demands of the Old Testament Laws. The law demanded payment for sin with a blood sacrifice. That blood sacrifice was paid in full on Calvary by Jesus Christ. Our sins were forgiven and forgotten by God, washed away, but only if you believe.

Verse 15 – Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

By Christ’s death, He subdued and defeated Satan and his fallen angels, and recaptured those who had been held in bondage by sin.

Verse 16 – Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths,

Verse 17 – which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

Paul told the Colossian Christians not to worry about others criticizing them for not observing Jewish diets and religious ceremonies. This goes for today’s Christian also.

As Christians, we don’t live up to other people’s standards. We follow the Bible and our focus stays on Christ!

Freedom From Improper Worship

Verse 18 – Let no one defraud you of a reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, introducing into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

Verse 19 – and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body is nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase which is from God.

The false teachers were full of pride for their humility. They brought attention and praises to themselves, not God. They were puffed up! People do this today when they talk negatively about themselves, so others will think them more spiritual. False humility is self-centered.

Freedom From Doctrine of Men

Verse 20 – Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations –

Verse 21 – “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”

Verse 22 – which all concern things which perish with the using – according to the commandments and doctrines of men?

Verse 23 – These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Simply put – Our salvation does not depend on our own discipline and rule-keeping, but on the power of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Here’s some of the ways we can know we are following man-made laws: Ask yourself these questions: (1) Am I doing a man-made taboo rather than God’s grace? (2) Does what I am doing make me have a critical spirit towards others that don’t follow certain rules? (3) Do I stress more importance on visions and dreams, more than the word of God? (4) Do I elevate self-righteousness more than honoring Christ? (5) Do I think discipline of the body means spiritual growth?

Keep in mind: Following religious rules and laws that are man-made cannot change your heart. You may look super moral to others, but only the Holy Spirit can change the heart!

 

 

Colossians – Chapter 1

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.

Chapter 1

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.