Colossians

"Christ- The Preeminent One"

By Dr. Edgar Pierce

(c) 2007

 

 

 

      Welcome to our study in the book of Colossians. Colossians is a special book in the Bible. I say this because of the special place of preeminence that it gives to the Lord Jesus Christ.

      I have entitled this series “Christ, The Preeminent One.” We will work from the following outline for this study. I cannot guarantee that this will be followed exactly as we go through. It is only my working outline. I have outlined this book a couple of times over the last several months before I settled on this one. You will notice that it carries the theme of preeminence throughout.

      Preeminence simply means having first place or being above, before and superior to any and all things and beings.

      Welcome to the journey.

 

Outline:

1- Introduction...1:1-2

2- Hope in the Preeminent One...1:3-8

3- Prayer That He Might be Preeminent...1:9-12

4- Rescued by His Preeminence...1:13-14

5- Preeminence in all Things...1:15-18

6- Reconciled by the Preeminent One...1:19-23

7- Preeminence in Revelation ...1:24-2:5

8- Preeminence Prevents Captivity...2:4-10

9- Buried Alive in the Preeminent One...2:11-15; 20-23

10- Preeminent in Worship...2:16-19

11- Because He is Preeminent...3:1-11

12- Living Like He is Preeminent...3:12-14

13- Bringing Glory to the Preeminent One...3:15-17

14- Preeminent in Relationships...3:18-4:1

15- Praying for the Gospel...4:2-4

16- Capitalize on Opportunities ...4:5-6

17- Examples to Live By...4:7-18

 

 

1- Introduction: 1:1-2

      Colossians 1:1-2  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,  2  To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. “

I- Introduction to Colossians:

      In what is now modern Turkey along the River Lycus once stood three cities, Laodicaea, Hierapolis and Colosse. They were within about twelve miles of each other. The area was notorious for earthquakes. The area was one of considerable wealth but in the times of the writing of this letter Colosse had become less of an important city than the others.

      The letter to the church at Colosse is in a group of letters that are known as the prison letters of Paul. He refers to himself as, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God…” He addresses the letter to the “saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse…”

      Paul did not start the church but most agree that it was started at the direction of Paul while he was in Ephesus during his third missionary journey. It was probably started by Epaphras. Paul said in Colossians 1:7  “As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ.” If he did not start it at least he was a important minister within it.

      The city of Colosse was on a major road and trade route that led from Ephesus about 100 or so miles to the west. It was during Paul’s time in Ephesus that Acts 19:10   tells us “And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.”

      Some calculate from historical records and estimate the Jewish population of Colosse and the other cities of the Phrygian region as large as 50,000 Jews. The church however that Paul writes to was clearly a Gentile church. Some men that you may know from the Bible that were members of this church were Philemon and Onesimus.

 II- Full Circle:

      You might wonder if the book of Colossians, written to a completely different culture, and a completely different time in history is relevant today. Well in fact it is a very timely book that we need to consider because we have come full circle, so to speak. We have an old wives tale that says what goes around comes around. Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes said, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecc 1:9

      What I mean by this is the same problems that the Colossian letter addresses seem to be the same heresy that we see today. Things have come full circle. I guess it is true that the more things change the more they stay the same. As we take a look at some of the heresy that Paul writes to address in the Colossian letter we see just how relevant this letter is today.  

III- Heresy- Here Today Here Tomorrow:

      In our time today there is what I believe is a concerted effort by the enemy of God to water down the gospel, tell men that they do not need a Savior, or that Christ, even if He did exist, is not all men need. Many today believe that Christ work on the cross was not enough, we must do good works to complete it. As we have stated the problems in Colosse seem to the problems of today. They were the heresy in Paul’s “today”, our “today” and our children’s “tomorrow”.

      The Apostle Paul addressed the problems in the church of Colosse by giving us in the letter the highest view of Christ anywhere in the Bible. He certainly gives Him His rightful place of preeminence.

      The way I wish to make address of some of the apparent problems that Paul was aware of is by briefly showing what he taught. The teachings seem to obviously be addressing the heretic teaching of his day and ours as well. 

A- Christ Was and Is God. The deviation from the truth that Christ was God, and thereby adequate and superior to all others, is seen in this letter. Look at the following.

      Colossians 1:15  “Who is the image of the invisible God…”

      Colossians 1:19  “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.

      Colossians 2:2-3  That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;  3In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

      Colossians 2:9 “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” 

B- All Creation by Christ. Today men are trying to find the cause of creation. We can see the effect of it all around us but what caused all this to exist. Paul addressed this in Colossians 1:16-17  “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”  

C- Consult Christ Not the Stars: Colossians 2:8 says, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

      We live in a time when the philosophy of men and human wisdom seems to be the dominate thoughts of men and certainly is taught in our schools of higher learning.

      The word in the KJV for rudiments here is the Greek word Stoicheia. This verse is translated in the Holman Christian Standard Bible is “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.”

      The Message paraphrase is, Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that's not the way of Christ.”

      William Barclay stated the following concerning this verse and sets it in today.

“Stoicheia can mean the elemental spirits of the world, and especially the spirits of the stars and planets. The ancient world was dominated by the thought of the influence of the stars. Even the greatest and wisest men would not act without consulting the stars.” (The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, p 176)

      Does that not sound like our times? Men are so fascinated with the stars and horoscopes and looking at them every day to see what life holds. I would say that even most Christians know what sign of the zodiac they are.  

D- Christ is Greater than Demonic Forces: Many today are held hostage in the world to dark forces of evil and demonic forces. We may not see it as out in the open in our part of the world but it is a constant in many places where our missionaries work. Paul’s address of this seems to imply that the Colossians were making too much of the demonic powers. Paul counteracts the false believe that demonic forces are greater than Christ in Col 1:16 ,(see page 2 bottom right) when he said that Christ created these beings.

      Listen to how Barclay described the ancient world. “The ancient world believed implicitly in these demonic powers. The air was full of them. Every natural force, the wind, the thunder, the lightning, the rain had its demonic superintendent. Every place, every tree, every river, every lake had its spirit. The atmosphere was filled with them. And they were in one sense intermediaries to God, and in another sense barriers to God, for the vast majority of them were hostile to men.” (ibid. p 117).

      Was Christ alone sufficient to overcome these? Paul taught us in Colossians 2:10  “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Men do not need anything or anyone to overcome the powers of darkness but He who is Light, the Christ. Paul taught that Christ not only is preeminent over them but has conquered them. Colossians 2:15  “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

      While we may not have these openly manifested, may I say that if we will closely observe things that are going on in our nation we see covert operations of these. There are many today that are held hostage to fear of forces of the underworld. 

E- Be Aware of Angel Worship: Our world today is a very spiritual place. There is a lot of so called spiritual energy. Most of it is directed and other beings or principles and not God. Angels are believed upon by most people. The doctrines that are formed are for the most part not from the Bible. Paul seemed to address a problem within the Colossian church of angel worship. He said in Colossians 2:18  “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels…”We will look at the fact that Christ is preeminent in worship in the future.  

IV- Conclusion of the Introduction:

      The book of Colossians is very relevant to our times and beyond because it addresses issues and false teachings that seem to pop up in every generation. When I was considering what to entitle this study I though it certainly would have been appropriately to have subtitled it, “Restoring Christ to His rightful place as head over everything.”

      As we finish this introduction look at what Colossians 1:18 says, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

 

RETURN TO OUTLINE

 

2- Hope in the Preeminent One: 1:3-8

 

      Colossians 1:3-8  “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,  4  Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,  5  For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;  6  Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:  7  As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;  8  Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.”

 

      It has been said that men can live without water for a few days, food for a little longer but living without hope is not possible.

      Just the other day I was visiting a junk yard to find a part for my car. It is a part that is getting harder to find as the car gets older. I have looked for it for several months. I arrived at the junkyard at a place that has several of these older cars. I looked in the first one and the part was gone. The manager called an employee to come show me where the others were. I checked the second one and the transmission control computer was there. I said, “Hope springs eternal” meaning I hoped that this one will work. The mechanic helping me said “eternal hope is in Jesus Christ.”

      He reminded me of a very important thing in our faith; our hope is in the preeminent One. He said he always believed in God but when he met Jesus he now has hope of eternal life.  

I- Faith and Love: 1:3-4

      Paul begins his commendation of the saints at Colosse by telling them that he is thankful to God for them and he is praying for them. The thing that moved Paul’s heart to thanksgiving and prayer was their faith and love. The reputation of the saints in the church was one of faith in Christ and love of all the saints. These two are certainly commended in the Scriptures and commanded by God.

      We are told concerning faith in Hebrews 11:6  “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

      We know that it through faith by grace that we are saved.

      Notice what John 13:34-35 says,  “A new commandment I [Jesus] give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

 II- Rooted in Hope:

      Notice what Paul understands as the motivation for their faith and love. He says is “hope.” The KJV says, “For the hope…”

Col 1:5 in the HCSB translation is,because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. …”

      We see this hope is not in a void because it is based on the Good News of the gospel. The gospel message had been preached to the Colossians by Epaphras. Col 1:7 “As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant…”

      It was also Epaphras that had informed Paul of their faith and love according to verse eight.

      This hope was “laid up…in heaven.” The word translated “laid” is the Greek word apokeimeinēn.

      It is only found four times in the New Testament. One is in the story of the master who gave a pound to three men and one kept it laid up in a napkin. The second is here in Colossians.

      The other two places are when Paul talked about a crown being laid up for him in heaven found in 2 Tim 4:9. It is translated “appointed” in Heb 9:27 concerning death and judgment.

      This same idea of what we might call the treasure chest of heaven is found in Matthew 6:20 “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” And in 1 Peter 1:4 “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”

      III- Our Hope is in the Preeminent One:

      Notice what Peter had to say in 1 Peter 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”

      Hope that moved the Colossians to faith and love was a hope based on the gospel as we have stated. The gospel message is about Christ Jesus.

      Lets take some time to explore what we find here in this portion of the letter that tells us about the hope we have in the Preeminent One.

 1- Hope is for all the world. 1:6 “Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world…”

      The hope that Paul spoke to the Colossians about is the same hope that was preached to our father, grandfathers and great grandfathers. It is a hope for all time but also for all races.

      While it is true that in one sense the gospel had not spread throughout the entire globe during Paul’s time it certainly had spread like wildfire.

      We need not look far in the Bible to see that God has a global agenda. He wants all to be saved. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

      Warren Wiersbe tells the following story to illustrate this about Dr. Walter Wilson of Kansas City.

      “I once heard him quote John 3:16 and ask, ‘If you were to give a gift that would be suitable for the whole world, what would you give?’

      He then listed several possibilities and showed how these gifts could not suit everybody: books (many people cannot read); food (people eat different things in different parts of the world); clothing (climates are different); money (not every culture makes use of money). He came to the logical conclusion that only the Gospel, with its gift of eternal life, was suitable for the whole world; and he was right.” (The Bible Exposition Commentary, Victor Books, p 107)

 2- Hope lead to fruitfulness. 1:6“and bringeth forth fruit…”

            Jesus was very clear when He taught us that we should be fruitful. Joh 15:5  “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit…” The rest of the verse says, “…for without me ye can do nothing.”  

      It is certainly clear that we are to be fruitful but it is also clear that God is the one who must produce the fruit through us. Please notice it is not us who save people but the gospel message of Christ.

 3- Hope is by Grace. 1:6 “…since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God…”

      Some teach in error that Paul was talking about working for our salvation when he talked in verses four and five about their works of faith and love. If there is one teaching that should be plain to any Bible reader it is that we are not saved by works but by grace.

      Grace is first found in the Bible when it speaks of Noah and is last found in the last verse of the Revelation. The word occurs 170 times in the KJV Bible.

Perhaps the greatest verses that applies here are Eph 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

      Notice some others as well. 2 Thessalonians 2:16 “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace.”

      Romans 3:24 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

      Our hope that is based in the Preeminent One is a hope by grace.

 4- Hope is based on truth. 1:6 “and knew the grace of God in truth.”

      The believers at Colosse had hears the gospel from Epaphras and recognized it as genuine and true. He said in Colossians 1:5  “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.”

      Men have been guessing about God since time began but the revelation of God has come in the form of Christ. The gospel is a message of certainty and not guess work.

 5- Hope is to be passed along to/by others. 1:7 “As ye also learned of Epaphras…”

      What if no one had ever told you about the gospel of Jesus? You might say well Epaphras was called to this, I am not. Col 4:12 says, “Epaphras, who is one of you…” He was a Colossian who helped tell his neighbors, friends and family about Christ. We know also that he prayed for them also according to verse twelve.

      The simply point is that the gospel is carried to other men by believers. There is a long line of succession from the time of Christ until now. Someone has summed up evangelism as, “one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.”

      So we see that our hope is wrapped us in the fact that Christ is alive. Our hope is based on the good news of the Gospel. Our hope is in the Preeminent One.

 

RETURN TO OUTLINE

 

 

3- Prayer That He Might be Preeminent    1:9-12

      Col 1:9-10  “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;  10  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

      We have seen the heart of Paul move to prayer by the reputation of the Colossian church. We return to this theme of prayer in this session as we get more specific in our look.

      Warren Wiersbe entitles these four verses, “A Prisoner’s Prayer.” He introduces this by saying. “The prayers in Paul’s prison letters are certainly unique. To begin with, he prays for others and not for himself. The requests in his prayers center on spiritual blessings, not on material matters.” (The Bible Exposition Commentary, p 110.)

      Paul is praying for his friends, howbeit he had never set eyes on them. Col 1:9 “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you…” So how could he have known what they needed to be prayed for? Notice he prays that Christ might have preeminence in their life. Let’s breaks these verse apart and see some of the specific things he prays for. 

I- Know What to Do: 1:9

1- Knowledge of His Will- “…that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will…”

      Paul’s prayer was that they would know the will of God. I love what Barclay says concerning this.

“Prayer begins by asking that we may be filled with an ever-growing knowledge of the will of God. The great object of prayer is to know the will of God. In prayer we are not so much trying to make God listen to us, as we are trying to make ourselves listen to God; in prayer we are not trying to persuade God to do what we want Him to do, we are trying to find out what He want us to do. It so often happens that in prayer we are really saying, ‘Thy will be changed,’ when we ought to be saying ‘Thy will be done.’ The first object of prayer is ot so much to speak to God, as it is to listen to God.” (Barclay, William, The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, p 129-130)

      What greater thing is there than to know the will of the Preeminent One, the One who has first place in our lives?

2- Wisdom to Apply Knowledge- “…and to desire in all wisdom…”

      James contrasted the difference between the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God in James 3:15;17 “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish…. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”

      How many of us are basing our lives on the wrong wisdom? Paul is talking about them having the wisdom to apply what they come to know is the will of God.

   “Notice it is a knowledge of His will, not of His nature. We are not expected to understand and explain the Trinity, but we are expected to understand His plan and His purpose for our lives.” (Liberty Commentary on the New Testament, p. 561)

      William Hendriksen said this wisdom “is the ability to use the best means in order to reach the highest goal, a life to God’s glory.” (New Testament Commentary, p 57)

3- Spiritual Insight- “…and spiritual understanding…”

      This, as one commentary says, “…speaks of clear analysis and decision-making in applying this knowledge to various problems.” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p 671)

      Notice 1Jn 5:19-20  HCSB “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one. 20And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true One. …”

      So Paul prayed that they would have the knowledge of God’s will, the wisdom to know what to do and the spiritual insight to apply it.

II- Do What You Know: 1:10-12

      When they have the knowledge, wisdom and spiritual understanding, he then prays that they might put it into practice. 

1 –Walking Worthy- 10That  ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing…”

            Why do we preach, teach, read, study and learn the Word of God? Is it so we can simply know what it says and what it means? Notice what James said in James 1:22-25 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  23For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

      We do all these things that we might practice what the Word says. The walk refers to all aspects of our life. Paul’s prayer was that they would walk worthy of representing the One who is above all. The one we need to please is not anyone, including ourselves, but Him and Him alone.

2- Be Fruitful- …”being fruitful in every good work…”

      Allow me to borrow an analogy from botany. There are many “annual” Christians. It seems they forget how to bear fruit and need constantly to be replanted. We need to be “perennial” Christians that bear fruit from season to season, year to year without the need to have constant care.

      Listen to Hebrews 5:12-13  “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  13For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.”          

3- Know God More- “…increasing in the knowledge of God…”

      If we tie this into being fruitful, we can say that a tree that is growing bears fruit. A tree when it ceases to grow new branches dies. 2Pe 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ….”

      Our relationship with God should never grow stagnant and not be one of new discoveries in Him and who He is.

4- Get Stronger Each Day- “11Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.”

      The psalmist wrote centuries before, “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Psa 18:2

      Now notice a great truth. We are to be given this strength not in proportion to our faith, strength but “according to his glorious power.” It is by His power we are strengthened.  It is out of His abundant power and strength that we are empowered.

      The purpose of this strength being given is that we might learn to lean on the Preeminent One in trouble with patience and longsuffering. He alone can give us joy in our trials and tribulations.  

5- Be Thanksgiving- “12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”

      The final element of Paul’s prayer that He might be preeminent in their lives is that they would be thankful to the father.

      Nothing is ruder, in my opinion, than someone who is unthankful for things done on their behalf.  Imagine all the things God does for us that go unnoticed and unappreciated by the human race.

      Notice the thing said here about what God has done for us. Notice some translations of verse 12.

      Amplified Bible. “Who has qualified {and} made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God's holy people) in the Light.”

Message.  "thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us."

New International Version “ giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”

      A Christian who is walking in Christ and seeking to make Him preeminent in their life will be one who’s life is marked by thanksgiving.

      Those walking in Christ will also realize that it in Christ and Christ alone who makes it possible for us to partake of the inheritance of heaven. He is the one who qualifies us, makes us fit and will ultimately take us to heaven by His merit imputed to us.

      I wish to conclude based on the outline that Warren Wiersbe used for this section. He said Paul:

      Prayed for “Spiritual Intelligence, Practical Obedience and Moral Excellence.” (p 111-12)

      I simply say he prayed that Christ would have preeminence. Does He?

 

RETURN TO OUTLINE

 

4- Rescued by His Preeminence     1:13-14

      Col 1:13-14  “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”

 

      We have explored the hope we have in Christ the Preeminent One, and how Paul prayed that He might be preeminent in the lives of believers.

      The next thought in Colossians is what Christ has done for us. There are four thoughts that I find here that I feel will help us grow in our understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. I trust this will also help us to grow in our relationship with Him as well as we look at “Rescued by His Preeminence”.

“An old Indian chief constantly spoke of the Lord Jesus and what He meant to him. "Why do you talk so much about Jesus?" asked a friend. The old chief did not reply, but slowly, deliberately gathered some sticks and bits of grass. He made a circle of them. In the circle he placed a caterpillar. Still silent, he struck a match and lit the sticks and grass. They watched the caterpillar. As the fire caught around the circle, the trapped caterpillar began to crawl around rapidly, seeking a way to escape.

As the fire advanced, the helpless caterpillar raised its head as high as it could. If the creature could have spoken, it would have said, "My help can only come from above."

Then the old chief stooped down. He extended his finger to the caterpillar which crawled up his finger to safety. "That," said the chief glowing, "was what the Lord Jesus did for me! I was lost in sin. My condition was hopeless. I was trapped. Then the Lord Jesus stooped down in love and mercy and He drew me out of the horrible pit of sin and shame. How can I help but love Him and talk of His wondrous love and care?" (www.e-sword.net illustration)

      Beloved let us worship Him and praise Him as we study this portion of the book of Colossians.

      Notice four words in these verses with me; delivered, translated, redemption, forgiveness.

I- Delivered:

      “…delivered us from the power of darkness…”

      This portion of the verse is where I took the title of this session. In the NASB, it is translated, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness…”

      A group of atheists were criticizing the Bible. One of them spoke about creation. He said, "What man with any common sense could believe that several thousand years ago, God stooped down and picked up a piece of mud, breathed on it, and changed it into a human being?" A Christian man standing by overheard the conversation and responded by saying: "I cannot answer all the questions about creation, but this I know: One night God stooped down and picked up the dirtiest piece of mud in this city, breathed upon it by His Holy Spirit, and changed a gambling, thieving, drinking wretch into a peace-loving man of God. I was that man." (ibid)

      Christ has rescued us from, as the Message paraphrase says, dead-end alleys and dark dungeons.”

            The Liberty Commentary says:

“God rescued and liberated us from the power, dominion, authority, and tyranny of darkness. Darkness speaks of a miserable, horrible state of being held captive by Satan. Darkness is a symbol of ignorance, falsehood and sin. (p 561)

      By Christ we have been rescued from darkness unto the light 1 Thessalonians 5:5 “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.”

      Ephesians 5:8 tells us, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.”

            Beloved we can worship Christ because he has rescued us, delivered us from the danger of eternity in hell. 

II- Translated:

      “…translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”

      Where is home? No I am not talking about our earthly home. I am talking about our true home.

      It was a common practice in the times of the Bible for a conquering nation to move whole populations out of their homeland and populate another area with them. The city of Colossae was populated in this manner. “History records that Antiochus the Great transported 2,000 Jews from Babylon to Colossae.” (Wiersbe p115)

      So where is our true home? The NASB it says in Philippians 3:20 “ For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Barnes notes says concerning this: “It means, here, that they who are Christians have been transferred from one kingdom to another, as if a people were thus removed. They become subjects of a new kingdom, are under different laws, and belong to a different community. This change is made in regeneration, by which we pass from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light; from the empire of sin, ignorance, and misery, to one of holiness, knowledge, and happiness. No change, therefore, in a man’s life is so important as this; and no words can suitably express the gratitude which they should feel who are thus transferred from the empire of darkness to that of light.” (Barnes notes from www.E-Sword.net)

      Beloved we are citizens of a new country because of Jesus. We have been translated, we have been moved, we have been given a new home in a new land because of Him. 

III- Redeemed:

      “In whom we have redemption through his blood…”

      There are six different Greek words for redemption used in the New Testament. This particular one means, “A buying back, a setting free by paying a ransom price. / “To rescue by ransom” (p 153/672) (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

      We only need to ask two questions to understand this. First, who paid the price for our redemption, and then what did it cost. We see here that Christ is the one through whom we have redemption. We also see it was by His blood.

      Barclay said this, “is the word which is used for the emancipation of a slave, and for buying back something in the power of someone else.” (p 134)

      Perhaps no better illustration can be found of this than the story of Hosea and his wife Gomer found in Hosea 3:1-2 “ Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.  2  So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley.” The prophet was told to go buy back his adulteress wife from the slave market.

            Beloved we have redemption in Christ and Christ alone and by the blood of Christ and His blood alone. You cannot claim redemption without Christ and cannot claim redemption in Christ apart from the blood of Christ.

 IV- Forgiven:

      “…even the forgiveness of sins.”

      You will recall the story of the man who was brought to Jesus by his friend. You remember, the one where they had to let him down through the roof of the house because there were so many people already inside.

      Mark 2:5-12  “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.  6  But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,  7  Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?  8  And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?  9  Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?  10  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)  11  I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.  12  And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.”

      We have forgiveness of our sins by Christ blood. This means he sends our sins away and removes them from our account. Notice a few verses that teach us this.

      Psa 103:12  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

      Mic 7:18  Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

      Isa 43:25  I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

      Isa 44:22  I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

      Beloved there is none like Him. Him who is preeminent in all things. Him who provides rescue from our sins, who redeems us by His blood, who blots out our sins. Praise be to the One who is our rescuer.

 

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5-   Preeminence in all Things…1:15-18

      Col 1:15-18  “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:  16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  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 might have the preeminence.”

 

      The author of the book of Hebrews sets forth Christ as superior to the angels, Moses, the old covenant, and everything and everybody else. Speaking of the Scriptures of Col 1:15-20 The Bible Knowledge Commentary says:

“In this paragraph Paul mentioned seven unique characteristics of Christ, which fittingly qualify him to have “the supremacy” (v. 18). Christ is: (1) the image of God, (2) the Firstborn over Creation, (3) Creator of the universe, (4) Head of the church, (5) Firstborn from the dead, (6) the fullness of God, and (7) the Reconciler of all things. No comparable listing of so many characteristics of Christ and His deity are found in any other Scripture passage. Christ is the supreme Sovereign of the universe!” (p 672)

      Come into this wonderful passage as we see that Christ is preeminent over all things.

I- Was Before Creation:

      “…image of Invisible God.” How can we know what someone is like? An artist can paint a picture, take a photo, or perhaps make a bronze statue but these cannot tell us what someone is like because they are only a glimpse in time. We cannot here their voice or see the mannerisms nor see the way they walk. But if we see them in person or even their identical twin we could know them.

            Notice when the disciples asked Jesus to show them the Father found in John 14:8-9.  “Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.  9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”

            Paul tells us that Christ was the image of God. It is not enough to see Christ as a good man, great teacher, religious leader, founder of one of the world’s many religions. We must see Him as who He is, God.

     A German art gallery had a painting of Christ on the cross which had the inscription, "I did this for thee. What hast thou done for me?" This picture had been painted by an artist three hundred years before. When he had finished his first sketch of the face of the Redeemer, this artist called in his landlady's little daughter and asked her who she thought it was. The girl looked at it and said, "It is a good man." The painter knew that he had failed. He destroyed the first sketch and, after praying for greater skill, finished a second. Again he called the little girl in and asked her to tell him whom she thought the face represented. This time the girl said that she thought it looked like a great sufferer. Again the painter knew that he had failed, and again he destroyed the sketch he had made. After meditation and prayer, he made a third sketch. When it was finished, he called the girl in a third time and asked her who it was. Looking at the portrait, the girl exclaimed, "It is the Lord!" That alone makes the coming of Christ meaningful to the world-not that a good man came, not that a wise teacher came, not that a great sufferer came, but that God came-Immanuel, God with us.

      “…the firstborn of every creature” We can understand two things from this. He, as firstborn was before us. Much like my oldest sister was before me. However, I think the greater teacher here is that of position. The firstborn in a family in biblical times was one of preeminence. They were given more honor and authority and a greater inheritance. Christ as firstborn occupies a position superior to all of creation. This does not in any way need to be understood that Christ was simply another being created by God as we will see in a moment. Christ was more than a man, He was the God/man, God incarnate in the flesh of man.

“A professor of theology once asked his students to get a sheet of paper and divide it into three columns. In the first column they were to write every passage where Christ is spoken of as God-Man; in the second column all the passages where Christ is spoken of as God alone; and in the third, all the passages where Christ is spoken of as man alone. The papers were badly balanced. The first and second columns filled right up, but as to the third column, no one found a passage speaking of Christ as man alone. There just is no such passage.”

II- Creator Is Above Creation:

      “For by him were all things created…” What a declaration of Christ deity. He was not only before creation; He was the instrument of creation.

“We see a table. It is beautiful. We admire it, but more than that, we accept the fact that behind that object there was a concept in the mind of someone. Or consider the Empire State Building. Before it was erected, it took form in the mind of an architect who transferred his thoughts to paper as a blueprint. Only then could the building be put up for everybody to see.”

      How did things come about? God created all things through Christ. John in his gospel declare this as well. John 1:3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

      We next have a list of things, may I say an exhaustive list, that Christ created.

      All things, “that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers…”

            “In heaven or earth…” is the things we see in the heavens, as well as those still beyond men’s possibilities and capacities yet unseen, as well as all the things on this earth.

            “Visible and invisible,” the visible things that men do not have trouble believing in for the most part, but the invisible things that man cannot see. The sunrays that warm us, the radio waves that carry our radio and TV, the souls of men, the microscopic particles that men continue to discover; He created them all.

            “…whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers…”

      This brings us to an important part of this. We know these thrones, dominions, etc. speak about a highly organized dominion in the spiritual world. Notice Ephesians 6:11-12 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

      Let me give us a story recorded for us by George Otis Jr. in a work entitled, The Twilight Labyrinth; why does spiritual darkness linger where it does? He records a story told to him by a man in northern India, a Tibetan Christian, a pastor, named Stephen Hishey.

   “In our neighborhood,” he explained, “a young boy recently became quite ill. His parents took him to several doctors, but none of them seemed able to formulate a workable diagnosis. In fact, the only thing anyone could agree on was the fact that he was dying…After eight months his parents became desperate.

   “One day about this time, my wife and I noticed that a large crowd had gathered around our neighbors’ home. We wondered if perhaps it had something to do with the boy. Out of concern and curiosity, we decided to walk over. Working our way through the crowd and peering through the doorway, we saw to Buddhist monks. On was banging on a brass plate, while the other sat cross-legged in front of a small mound of red coals. The latter was a thirty-year old medium who had been brought in to ascertain the source of the boy’s physical problems. We recognized him immediately as a weak-willed monk whose life was a revolving door for demonic spirits.

   “Moments after our arrival, this medium became possessed by various spirits, including house gods, that were being invoked by the lama. As the demons settled into his body, we watched in amazement as he plucked a live coal out of the fire and place it into his mouth. There was a sickening hissing sound as the red-hot ember came in contact with the moist tissue.

   “As he chewed on the live coals, the monk suddenly levitated six feet into the air. Still seated in a cross-legged posture, he began to fly in a circular pattern just over the heads of the crowd. As he moved about the room, the people bowed in awe, crying, “God, god, god.’ This lasted for about two minutes before my wife and I, unable to tolerate this perversion any longer, began to invoke the name of Jesus.”

   Then Stephen showed a hint of a grin.

   “Do you know what happened next?” he asked. “The oracle dropped to the floor! After a few moments, the lama asked the medium to explain his sudden and unflattering reintroduction to the law of gravity. As he surveyed the room, the monk’s gaze came to rest on my wife and me, standing near the doorway. Pointing a finger in our direction, he exclaimed, ‘These are the people.’ It was clear to me that this knowledge had been given him by a supernatural power.” (p 26-27)

      Beloved Jesus is superior to all the demons of hell and all the cohorts of darkness. No less than five (5) times in the book of Matthew we have recorded that Jesus cast out demons. (See Matt 8:28; 9:32; 12:22; 15:22; 17:15) The demons themselves recognized this fact. Mat 8:29; 31 “And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?... 31So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.”

      This verse closes with, “all things were created by him, and for him.” This repeats the though and gives creation it’s purpose, “for Him.”

III- By Him All Things Continue:

      17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Christ is shown to be superior to all of creation from a different insight here. He not only created it but also keeps it working on schedule. The atoms that make up everything are mostly made up of empty space. He holds them together as well as all the planets, stars, and galaxies. My what a God we serve.

IV- Preeminent in the church:

        18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

      He and he alone is the head of the Church. The next phrase, “who is the beginning” actually means the origin or cause of. He is head because it was He who began the church by the purchase of men’s souls by the blood. Notice Ephesians 1:21-23  “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:  22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,  23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

      By the fact that He was the first to rise from the dead He is the head of a whole new order and shows His triumph over death, the enemy of man.

      “…that in all things he might have the preeminence.” He is the Preeminent One, above all that is and will be.

      Let me conclude with a quote from an unknown author.

To many, Jesus Christ is only a grand subject for a painting, a heroic theme for a pen, a beautiful form for a statue, and a thought for a song; but to those who have heard His voice, who have felt His pardon, who have received His benediction, He is music, warmth, light, joy, hope and salvation, a Friend who never forsakes, who lifts us when others try to push us down. We cannot wear Him out; we pile on Him all our griefs and troubles. He is always ready to lift us; He addresses us with the same love; He beams upon us with the same smile; He pities us with the same compassion.

There is no name like His. It is more inspiring than Caesar's, more musical than Beethoven's, more patient than Lincoln's. The name of Jesus throbs with all life, weeps with all pathos, groans with all pains, stoops with all love. Its breath is laden with perfume.

Who like Jesus can pity a homeless orphan? Who like Jesus can welcome a prodigal back home? Who like Jesus can make a drunkard sober? Who like Jesus can illuminate a cemetery plowed with graves? Who like Jesus can make a queen unto God out of a lost woman of the street? Who like Jesus can catch the tears of human sorrow in His bowl?

There is no metaphor with which to truly express Jesus. He is not like the bursting forth of an orchestra; that is too loud and it may be out of tune. He is not like the sea when lashed into a rage by a storm; that is too boisterous. He is not like a mountain wreathed in lightning, canopied with snow; that is too solitary and remote.

He is the Lily of the Valley, the Rose of Sharon, a gale of spices from heaven.

 

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6- Reconciled by the Preeminent One      1:19-23

            Col 1:19-23  “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;  20  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.  21  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  22  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:  23  If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

 

            When we allow our mind to linger on reconciliation, what image do we visualize? If it is a human reconciliation perhaps, it is like the two Britons.

      One New Year’s Eve at London’s Garrick Club, British dramatist Frederick Lonsdale was asked by Symour Hicks to reconcile with a fellow member. The two had quarreled in the past and never restored their friendship. “You must,” Hicks said to Lonsdale. “It is very unkind to be unfriendly at such a time. Go over now and wish him a happy New Year.”

      So Lonsdale crossed the room and spoke to his enemy. “I wish you a happy New Year,” he said, “but only one.”

Today in the Word, July 5, 1993

 I- By the Blood of His Cross:

            Paul goes back to the fact that all of God dwelled within Christ and then points to the way God chose to reconcile men. He made, “…peace through blood of his cross.” Notice it was by His cross not our cross or our suffering. Men is brought back into a right relationship with God by the death of Christ.

“Years ago in a Western city, a husband and wife became estranged and finally separated. They left the city and resided in different parts of the country. The husband, one day, chanced to return to this city on a matter of business. He went out to the cemetery to the grave of their only son. He was standing by the grave in fond reminiscence, when he heard a step behind him. Turning, he saw his estranged wife. The first inclination of both was to turn away. But they had a common binding interest in that grave; and instead of turning away they clasped hands over that grave of their son and were reconciled one to another. It took nothing less than death to reconcile them!

         It takes nothing less than death, the precious blood of Christ, to reconcile man to God. The pronouncement, the proclamation of that, is the gospel message. --McCartney

 II- Reconcile all things, earth and heaven.

            The thing we must never forget is that the initiative for reconciliation was with God. It is never mentioned in the Bible that God being reconciled to men but always men to God. Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

            “All things” by this we need to see not only the redemption of men but ultimately of all of creation. Because of Christ the creation that according to Rom 8:19-23  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  20  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,  21  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  22  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”

            So, in Christ we have all that is needed to be reconciled to God. We only have to accept this.

             I read a story that I think will illustrate this for us.

      A childhood accident caused poet Elizabeth Barrett to lead a life of semi-invalidism before she married Robert Browning in 1846.

      There’s more to the story. In her youth, Elizabeth had been watched over by her tyrannical father. When she and Robert were married, their wedding was held in secret because of her father’s disapproval. After the wedding the Brownings sailed for Italy, where they lived for the rest of their lives. But even though her parents had disowned her, Elizabeth never gave up on the relationship. Almost weekly she wrote them letters. Not once did they reply.

      After 10 years, she received a large box in the mail. Inside, Elizabeth found all of her letters; not one had been opened! Today those letters are among the most beautiful in classical English literature. Had her parents only read a few of them, their relationship with Elizabeth might have been restored. Daily Walk, May 30, 1992

            As beautiful as those letters were and are may I say that the letters from God to lost humanity about his love is even greater? We only need to open them. Reconciliation lies at our fingertips to be opened and grasped. 

III- Why We Need Reconciled:

            The next verse gives rise to a question, why do we need reconciliation.

                Col 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 

            Did you notice we were alienated and enemies in our mind by our wicked works.

            It has often been pictures as a great gulf between men and God. In art and other means this gulf has been displayed by the cross bridging the gap. We in our flesh want to build a wall but God sent Christ to build a bridge.

     Once upon a time two brothers shared adjoining farms. For over 40 years of they worked side by side, sharing equipment and helping each other out whenever needed. Then one day a rift developed. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by months of angry silence.

     One day the eldest brother, Pete, was out in his fields when a ute pulled up. Out jumped a man who approached Pete carrying a carpenter's toolbox. "I’m looking for a few days work" he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs I could do for you?"

     "Well, yes I do," said Peter. "See that creek down there, it's the border between my brother's farm and mine. Me brother keeps it nice and deep to stop me from setting one foot on his beloved farm. Well I'll oblige him. I want you to take that timber over there by the barn and build me a new fence, a real tall one, so I don't have to look over at my stinkin'  brother and his farm no more." 

     The carpenter was glad to have the work, "No worries mate. I understand. Just point me to your post-hole digger and I’ll get the job done."

     So the carpenter set about working. Meanwhile farmer Pete drove into town to the local cattle auction. When he returned at sunset he was shocked to see what the carpenter had done.

     There was no fence. Instead the carpenter had built a bridge and walking across it was Pete's younger brother. He held out his hand and spoke to his brother, "Mate after all I've done to you these past few weeks I can't believe you'd still reach out to me. You're right. It's time to bury the hatchet.

     The two brothers met at the middle of the bridge and embraced. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. "No, wait! Stay a few days. I’ve a lot of other projects for you," said farmer Pete. "I’d love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but I have more bridges to build." (Scott Higgins, rewritten from a story of unknown source.)

            Men want to build fences to escape God but God in his mind but God built a bridge. 

IV- Results of Reconciliation

                Col 1:22  “In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight”.

            The results of us being reconciled to God through the Preeminent One is that we a made righteous in Him. The Bride of Christ the church will be presented to Him as a chaste virgin. Rev 21:2  “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

            Well you might say that we are not perfect. Notice a powerful statement in this verse that might have escaped notice before.

“…in his sight…” It is God who is the one who looks at us in the perfection of His Son and through His blood and as a holy God is satisfied. We will probably never live up to where we think we should and the devil is quick to point out our failing but “In his sight,” we are going to be presented as, “holy and unblameable and unreproveable…”      

      Alexander III was Tsar of Russia from 1881-1894. His rule was marked by repression, and in particular by persecution of Jews. His wife, Maria Fedorovna, provided a stark contrast, being known for her generosity to those in need. On one occasion her husband had signed an order consigning a prisoner to life in exile. It read simply  "Pardon impossible, to be sent to Siberia." Maria changed that prisoners life by moving the comma in her husband's order. She altered it to "Pardon, impossible to be sent to Siberia."

      In Christ God has changed the comma that stood against us. From "Pardon impossible, send to Siberia" comes the good news of salvation: "Pardon, impossible to send to Siberia."

Sources: biography.com and Today in the Word, July 14, 1993.

            In Christ we have had our comma moved.  From Pardon impossible, send to hell to Pardon, impossible to send to hell. In Him we have reconciliation with God.

 

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7- Preeminence in Revelation 1:24-2:5

            Col 1:24-2:5 “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:  25Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;  26Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  29Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.  2:1 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;  2  That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ3In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  4And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.  5For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.”

 

            How can humanity ever know God or even suspect that He exists. We know the Scriptures teach us in Romans 1:20  “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” So, there are some imperial evidences for God in the physical creation. I read a great story about some mice in a piano that illustrates this.

      Imagine a family of mice who live all their lives in a large piano. To them in their piano-world came the music of the instrument, filling all the dark spaces with sound and harmony. At first the mice were impressed by it. They drew comfort and wonder from the thought that there was Someone who made the music-invisible to them-yet close to them. They loved to think of the Great Player whom they could not see.

      Then one day a daring young mouse climbed up part of the piano and returned very thoughtful. He had found out how the music was made. Wires were the secret; tightly stretched wires of graduated lengths which trembled and vibrated. They must revise all their old beliefs: none but the most conservative could any longer believe in the Unseen Player. Later, another explorer carried the explanation further. Hammers were now the secret, numbers of hammers dancing and leaping on the wires. This was a more complicated theory, but it all went to show that they lived in a purely mechanical and mathematical world.      The Unseen Player came to be thought of as a myth. But the Pianist continued to play.

            Still there has to be more. There has to be a way of knowing God in greater detail. So how do we get to know Him? How do we understand? Only by the revelation of God can humanity hope to understand anything about God.

I- Paul’s Rejoicing:

            Paul in Col 1:24-25 talks about his suffering for the cause. He says he is suffering for the fellowship of Christ. Philippians 3:10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” The early apostles rejoiced that they were worthy to suffer for Christ recorded in Act 5:41  “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”

      Paul also rejoiced that he was suffering for the Gentiles. Paul, while a Jew, is often referred to as the apostle to the Gentiles. Eph 3:1-2 “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.” This brings us to the next important point, the mystery. The revelation of this mystery was the task that God had given to the Apostle Paul.

 II- The Mystery:

                Col 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

            Barclay said:  Here Paul sets out the very essence of the tasks which has been given to him by God. That tasks was to bring to men a new discovery, a secret kept throughout the ages and the generations and now revealed. That discovery and that secret were that the glory of the hope of the gospel was not only for the Jews but was for all men everywhere.” (p151)

      In the Old Testament there seemed to be two different pictures of what the Messiah would be when He came. One was a Messiah who would suffer the other was one who would reign. By the time of the New Testament the focus has shifted to the latter primarily. They were living under Roman rule and authority and longed for the restoration of the kingdom as it had been in the days of David the king. Luke gives us an early account of what the expectations were in Act 1:6  “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

      Peter talked about this seeming contradiction in 1 Pe 1:9-12 “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.  10Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:  11Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.  12Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”               

      When we think of a mystery or a secret, we usually think of something hidden that someone does not want revealed. You may admonish your children, as we did, to not tell the family secrets.

      Warren Wiersbe said, “To us today, a mystery is something eerie and perhaps frightening; but this was not the way the word was defined in Paul’s day. The false teachers used this word to describe the inner secrets of their religions. A mystery is a “sacred secret,” hidden in the past now revealed by the Holy Spirit.” (P 121)

      Paul gave additional insight into this in Eph 3:3-11. “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,  4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)  5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;  6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:  7  Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.  8  Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;  9  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:  10  To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,  11  According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

      The mystery today is that the Jews and Gentiles are united into one in the church. Paul was countering two false teaching here. First the Jews would never has agreed that men would all become one in Christ and that God was the God of the Gentiles. The Gnostic would never have agreed that men could be made perfect in Christ. Paul stated, “…every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”

      The revelation of God to mankind is perfect and complete in Christ Jesus.  There cannot be a correct understanding of God without a correct understanding that Jesus came to die in the flesh for all men both Jews and Gentiles.

      There is another thing that we do not need to miss, “but now is made manifest to his saints.”  The mystery is still a mystery to the lost world and to the natural man. Notice 1 Corinthians 2:11-14 HCSB “ For who among men knows the concerns of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? In the same way, no one knows the concerns of God except the Spirit of God.  12  Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order to know what has been freely given to us by God.  13  We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.  14  But the natural man does not welcome what comes from God's Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated spiritually.” 

III- Wisdom and Knowledge:

      Paul tells us in Col 2:1 of the great desire he had for them and how he wanted them to grasp what he was trying to tell them.

      Colossians 2:2-3 NASB “that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself,  3  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Barclay comments:

   “Wisdom is sophia and knowledge is gnosis. These two words do not simply repeat each other; there is a difference between them. Gnosis sis the power to apprehend the truth; it is almost intuitive and instinctive; it is the power to grasp the truth when we see it and hear it, and when, as it were, it flashed on us. But sophia is the power to support and to confirm and to commend the truth with wise and intelligent argument and presentation, once it has been intuitively grasped.”

      Peter said it this way in 1 Peter 3:15  “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

      So we can see that the mystery, the secret of the Old Testament, was one only waiting for time to be revealed. Galatians 4:4-5 “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  5  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

      This mystery today has been revealed to the saints of God not as special knowledge to be kept and lorded over other with but to share. God has a secret that He wants us to broadcast to the masses. The secret is the revelation that we are all one in Christ.

      It is in Christ and Him alone that all the things of God come together. It is in Him that we are productive for the cause of Christ. Hear again, John 15:4-5  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

   “Christ is the answer: not the law, not circumcision, not ceremony, not philosophy, not science, not social reform.” (Liberty Commentary, P 564.)

      He is preeminent in the revelation of God, He is indeed the revelation of God in the flesh.

 

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8- Preeminence Prevents Captivity    2:4-10

Col 2:4-10  And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.  5  For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.  6  As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:  7  Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.  8  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  9  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  10  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

 

      Two little teardrops were floating down the river of life. One said to the other, "Who are you?" It replied, "I am a teardrop from a girl who loved a man and lost him. Who are you?" The first responded, "Well, I am a teardrop from the girl who got him!"

      Life is like that. We cry over things we cannot have. If we only knew it, we would probably cry more if we had received them. Paul had the right idea when he said, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content" (Phi_4:11).

      It has been said, the thing that makes a man angry rules him. The thing that makes us mad many times takes us captive emotionally. We must be careful in life about what we allow to take us hostage. Paul is going to address captivity in this section.

      The KJV says in verse 8, Beware lest any man spoil you…”  The NASB says, “See to it that no one takes you captive…”

      So the simple question we need to ask may be how do we keep from being taken captive? Therefore I have entitled this section, Preeminence Prevents Captivity.

      We need to look at this from two different angles. First, our potential problem and then the sovereign solution.

I- Potential Problem:

      Jesus warned us many times about false teachers. Notice Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

      The apostle Paul warned the believers in Ephesus on his third missionary journey with these words. Acts 20:29-30 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”

      So when God begins to warn us here through the Apostle it is a warned oft sounded.

      Lets look at some of the language used to see the potential problem they faced.

      4“beguile you”-  The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says “…the word … means particularly to “entice,” “catch by bait.” Doubtless Peter got this idea from his old business of fishing, baiting the hook to beguile the fish. …The thought is to be so completely deceived as to accept falsehood for the truth, believing it to be the truth. “

      “enticing words”- The HCSB translated this as “persuasive arguments.” Paul had made it plain that he did not come with enticing words. 1Co 2:1-4  And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.  4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”

      William Hendriksen said, “When someone or other comes with attractive arguments, do not be turned aside by that person and his finespun phrases.” (P 106)

      Our problem today is that many men are good at persuasive arguments. Jesus again warns us in Mat 24:4-5 “… Take heed that no man deceive you.  5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”

      2Co 11:13  “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.”

      So we must be aware that there is a constant danger of someone taking us captive with words of false teaching.

      Now move down to verse eight with me and notice some other words of warning.

        8”philosophy and vain deceit”- This is translated in the (CEV) “Don't let anyone fool you by using senseless arguments.”

      (MSG)  “Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything.”

      Paul is not warning against all wisdom and knowledge but that which is vain deceit. That which is not from God and in fact leads us away from God.

      “after the tradition of men”- One thing that we must never do is forget the lessons of the past because when we do we are destiny to repeat the same mistakes. However, having said this, we must not hold to the things of the past that run contrary to the Bible and it’s clear teachings. All teaching both past, present, and future must be laid alongside the Word of Truth for inspection.

      “after the rudiments of the world”- In the Galatians letter Paul states, “Galatians 4:8-10 “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.  9  But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?  10  Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.” This word here elements is the same Greek word as rudiments.

      So simply put we need to recognize that there is an attempt constantly that we must be aware of by the enemy. This is that he wants to turn us from God by his forces and by false teachers. Now notice with me what I call the Sovereign Solution.

II- Sovereign Solution:

      Even though Paul points out the danger he also quickly points out that things were still good. Paul tells them even thought he was not physically there he was in the spirit and was, “joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.”

      Warren Wiersbe says the following concerning this.

   The words order and steadfastness are military terms. They describe an army that is solidly united against an enemy. Order describes the arrangement of the army in ranks, with each soldier in his proper place. Not everyone can be a five-star general, but the general could never fight the battle alone. Steadfastness pictures the soldiers in battle formation, presenting a solid front to the enemy. Christians ought to make progress in discipline and obedience, just as soldiers on the battlefield.” (p 124)

      So we can see the first thing needed to not be taken captive is to be together with others who are walking shoulder to shoulder with us in the battle. We need to be with other believer who will build us up in the faith.

      Second, we need to realize that the Christian faith is not just a onetime event in our lives but a journey we live each day. Sure we are saved in a single moment in time and this is a onetime event but our accepting Christ is only the beginning.  Notice the next verse,  6”As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.”

      To keep from being taken captive we must continue to walk in Christ Jesus and the truth we have received about who He is. Paul changed the illustration he gives us from the military one to one of walking here.

        He next uses another metaphor of being planted or “Rooted.”  Here well the words of the first Psalm.

Psalms 1:1-6 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  2  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  3  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.  4  The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.  5  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.  6  For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

      Being rooted deep and strong in the faith will allow us to always identify those who are teaching false hoods. Rooted in the Preeminent One will prevent captivity.

      The next metaphor he uses is “built up.” Liberty Commentary says, “This is a continual process, being built up constantly like an ever expanding building.” (p 565)

      Next notice we are to be, “... stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”

      Paul taught us in Ephesians that as we rely on each other in the body of Christ were should be growing and deepening in the faith. Talking about the purpose of spiritual gifts he says in

      Ephesians 4:13-15  “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”

      We are not to be like tumbleweed nor constantly being transplanted but rooted in Christ.

      The solution to how not to be taken captive is found in a couple of places within the area of Scripture that we have been exploring. The answer is knowing and growing in Christ. Knowing we have all we need in Him and growing as we walk each day in Him. Notice these verses concerning Christ in closing.

      Col 2:3  “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

      Col 2:9-10 “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”


 

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9- Buried Alive in the Preeminent One    2:11-15; 20-23


 

      Col 2:11-15; 20-23  “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:  12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.  13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;  14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;  15And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it….

      20Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,  21(Touch not; taste not; handle not;  22Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?  23Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.”

 

      How many stories have you heard about someone who should have been dead but “cheated” death, as we call it?

      So can a man be dead and alive, buried and raised in new life? They seem to be directly opposed to each other. But in Christ both are true we can die in Christ and be alive in Him as well. We can be buried with Him and be raised with Him as well. All of this is found not only within the confines of our text but in various other places in the Bible as well.

I- Circumcision of the Heart:

Col 2:11 “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ."

      In the book of Genesis we find the sign of the covenant of God with the Jewish people is circumcision. (See Gen 17:9-14) The physical operation was not just physical but had a spiritual significance as well. Some may wrongly think that it was not until the New Testament that God wanted a circumcision of the heart. The Old Testament contains many places where God wanted the change to be in the heart, or spiritual not just physical. Deu 10:16  Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.

      Another verse is Jer 4:4  Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

      Now notice the New Testament thoughts on this as well.

      Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

      Eph 2:11  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

      So God wants us to have a heart change, a change that can only be seen by God.  

II- Buried Alive and Raised in Baptism:

      Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

      We see as living men, we are pictured as going into the water of baptism and being buried with Christ. Notice what Rom 6:4-5  says, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”

      The Liberty Commentary says: “Jointly entombed with Christ; sharing in His experience. Baptism is not a magic rite, but an act of obedience in confessing our faith. Baptism symbolized our experience of death to the old life and resurrection to the new life.”

      We are buried alive and raised symbolically with Christ as we come out of the baptism waters. We literally are resurrected dead men.

      Warren Wiersbe says concerning the analogy of baptism and being buried with Christ:

 “…no amount of material water could bury a person with Christ or make him alive in Christ. Water baptism by immersion is a picture of the spiritual experience. When a person is saved he is baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ, and identified with the Head, Jesus Christ. This identification means that whatever happened to Christ also happened to us. When he died, we died with him. When He was buried, we were buried. When He arose again, we arose with Him—and we left the graveclothes of the old life behind. (p 127)

      So notice with me that we are both dead and alive in Christ. 

III- Dead and Alive in the Preeminent One:

      Col 2:13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.”

      Again we have this thought of being dead before we are made alive in Christ emphasized in Eph 2:1  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.

      This phrase quickened together means that he had us alive. The HCSB translates it “He made you alive with Him…”

      Beloved you can dress up a corpse and bring it to church. A man who does not know Christ is just a dead man dress up in clean clothes.

      Even in Christ we all are literally living dead men. We once were dead in sin and now we are dead to sin and alive in Christ.

      Gal 2:20 says it this way,  “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

      Then  Eph 2:4-6  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

      So if we are already dead men and alive in Christ we might as well get on with living life to the fullest in Christ.

A man in Iowa discovered that he had terminal cancer. For weeks he moped around the house avoiding loved ones, inwardly cursing God and wondering why this tragedy had happened to him.

     Then one day he made a decision: "I am not dead yet, and I am going to live each day to its fullest the rest of my life."

Sometime later, when he was interviewed, he said he had experienced a more abundant life in the weeks after that decision than during his prior 42 years-colors seemed more vivid, the laughter of his children more bright and precious.

One suggestion he gave to help others with terminal illness was, "Consider each day as a gift from God; enjoy it fully."

 IV- Nailed:

      Let’s go back and pick up with the latter part of verse 13 which says, having forgiven you all trespasses.”

      Col 1:14 “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”

      This is one of the most beautiful portions of Scripture found anywhere. We see what Christ did for us when He was crucified. This handwriting of ordinances was the certification of debt that we owed. It was as if we had signed the IOU of debt.

      He blotted it out, took it out of the way and nailed it to the cross.

      When Jesus hung on the cross, we know that He spoke some seven times. One of these was only one word in the original language, It is finished” (tetelestai). One of the meaning of this word that has been discovered was when a debt was paid in full the word tetelestai was written on it.

      The slate of debt was wiped clean by Jesus on the cross. The debt we could not pay was paid in full. Our bond of guilt was nailed there. Liberty Commentary says, “In the East, a bond is cancelled by nailing it to the post. Our bond of guilt was nailed to His cross.” (p 566)

 V- Victory in Jesus:

      Col 1:15 “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

      Jesus fulfilled the demands of the law and therefore we have victory in Jesus. He has set us free from the bondage of the Law.

      Col 1:20ff “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,  21(Touch not; taste not; handle not;  22Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?  23Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.”

      There are some that still attempt to bring men back under the law by saying that spirituality is based on a set of rules of such as touch not taste not handle not. The good news is we are alive in Christ and free in Him as well.

      We just need to be holding up the One who is the giver of life so the world can see Him after all we are buried alive in Him.

      When we seek to win others to Christ, we must never think we possess any power in ourselves or lead others to believe we do through any air of superiority or lightness as we proclaim the gospel. We would do well to heed the advice of Dr. Payson, who said, "Paint Jesus Christ upon your canvas, and then hold Him up to the people; but hold Him up so that not even your little finger can be seen."


 

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10- Preeminent in Worship   2:16-19

      Col 2:16-19 “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:  17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.  18Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,  19And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.”

 

      How is a man who is flesh and bone to worship God, who is so far superior? Is there a set pattern in how someone comes to the Creator in worship? Can we make a list and say, if you do this, it is worship and if you do that, it is not? I would say we certainly could not.

      Look at the conversation that Jesus had with the woman at the well. We find it recorded for us in John 4.

      John 4:19-24  The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.  20Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.  21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

      So the place of worship is not the most important thing in worship. It is the spirit of worship.

I- Acts of Worship:

      “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.”

      When does our form of worship become our object of worship? The Jewish law had a lot of different rituals of days and new moons and things that were kept. Liberty Commentary says concerning verse 16,  “Paul is encouraging the Colossians not to be enslaved by legalism, ritualism, ties, and ceremonies.” (p 566).

      The Gentile believers of Colossi were never under the Jewish law but some were trying to bring them under the law now that they are saved. When we try to add any component to salvation, we are in fact saying, what Jesus did was and is not enough. We are judging the work of Christ as incomplete. So any act of worship that we attach to the gospel message as being needed for salvation is in fact destroying the gospel by grace.

            So was it wrong to observe these feast days? Paul wrote to the Galatians in Gal 4:10 “You observe days and months and seasons and years.” Commenting on this AT Robertson in Word Pictures in the New Testament says:

   “The meticulous observance of the Pharisees Paul knew to a nicety. It hurt him to the quick after his own merciful deliverance to see these Gentile Christians drawn into this spider-web of Judaizing Christians, once set free, now enslaved again. Paul does not itemize the “days” (Sabbaths, fast-days, feast-days, new moons) nor the “months” (Isa_66:23) which were particularly observed in the exile nor the “seasons” (passover, pentecost, tabernacles, etc.) nor the “years” (sabbatical years every seventh year and the Year of Jubilee). Paul does not object to these observances for he kept them himself as a Jew. He objected to Gentiles taking to them as a means of salvation.”

      If our ritual become or object of worship and our focus is off of Christ then we have erred.

II- Shadow of Christ:

      I entitled this section Preeminent in worship. Notice Col 2:17 “Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

      The Old Testament is full of sacrifices, people, events, rituals and all sorts of religions activities. Notice that this verse says they were but the shadow of the real, a shadow of Christ. The NASB says, “…things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.”  So this simply tells us that  Christ was and has always been the true object of worship. Not the ritual, offerings or anything else.

      Talking about priest serving and offering gifts Hebrews 8:5 says “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”

III- Worship of Creator not Creatures:

      There are some men who would mutilate their bodies as acts of worship, or do some acts of great supposed humility as worship. Some speculate that the false teachers that Paul was contending against were teaching a false humility. Col 2:18 “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.”

      Paul goes on to warn about a couple of other things here as well. He warned about being enticed into worshipping of angels. The Peoples New Testament Commentary says: And worshiping of angels. One feature of the heresy against which Paul warned them was angel worship. See Rev_19:10. Angel worship, the worship of saints, dead or living, of pope, or any created thing, is forbidden. "Worship God," said the angel before whom John bowed. Church history states that at a later period Michael the archangel was worshiped.

      Paul also warns about straying after someone who would teach they have received a special revelation or vision. The NASB translates this “…taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind.”

IV- Preeminent in Worship:

      Paul warns to not follow anyone who was teaching any other object or worship than Christ. He says in Col 1: 19 “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.”

      Ephesians 1:22 “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.”

      We need to give Christ His rightful place in worship. Why, this has always been the plan of the Father. Christ  gave the sacrifice of Himself for us and the Holy Spirit is busy pointing to Him as the one to be worshipped. Lets endeavor to make Christ Preeminent in Worship and not allow anything to get in the way.

 

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11- Because He is Preeminent  3:1-11

Colossians 3:1-11 “ If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  2  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  3  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  4  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.  5  Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:  6  For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:  7  In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.  8  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.  9  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;  10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:  11  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”

 

      Have you ever eaten a meal without washing your hands? Most of us have at some time in our lives. Jesus made it plain that it is not what we eat or take into our mouths that are a concern but what is inside the heart that comes out. Matthew 15:17-20  “Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?  18But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.  1 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:  20These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”

       What we are going to discuss today are easy to say but at times hard to practice. But because He is Preeminent we must continue to strive to grow in Christ.           

I- Direction of the Mind:

      NASB“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

      We are so aware that we need to not set our mind on the temporal things of earth but on the eternal things of heaven. Notice a couple of places in the Bible that bears light on this.

      Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

      Philippians 4:6-8 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”           

II- Consider Earthly Body Dead:

      Now notice what we need to do because we are hid in Christ. We are to consider ourselves dead to thing. Remember our motivation is because He is preeminent in our lives and all things.

        3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.  5Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

      The word “mortify” in verse 5 means to put to death. Galatians 5:24  “And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

      Notice the things we need to be putting to death.

A- Fornication- This word is not only used in relationship to sexuality but also concerning idolatry after other gods.

B- Uncleanness- Impurity. Adam Clarke said this is, “Unnatural and degrading passion; bestial lusts.” The Roman letter speaks of this in Rom 1:26-27 “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,  27  and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”

C-  Inordinate Affection- Evil desire of any kind. Peter said in 1 Peter 2:11 “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”

D- Evil Concupiscence- He continues with the base sins.

E- Covetousness, which is idolatry- Now he ranks coveting, which is one of the Ten commandments, along with all these others.

            The summation of this matter is simply that because we are dead in Christ we need to be on constant guard against these things in our life.

III- Lay Aside Old Man:

      We are exhorted to in verse 10 to,  “put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”  This is a common thought in Scriptures.     

      Eph 4:24  “…that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

      2Co 5:17  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. “

      As new creatures in Christ we are to do several things mentioned here. “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.  9  Lie not one to another…” Most of these are easily understood.

      Anger and wrath are fires that destroys. Proverbs 15:18  “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.”

      Malice is badness or wickedness.  1 Peter 2:1-2  “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking.”

      filthy communication” reminds me of Colossians 4:6  “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

     So may we strive to live godly lives because He is Preeminent in our lives, “Christ is all, and in all.”


 

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12- Living Like He is Preeminent    3:12-14

Col 3:12-14 “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;  13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”

 

        We come to another area of practical application of the Word of God. We are told, as the children of God, to live like it. I have entitled this section, Living Like He is Preeminent. The MSG says in 3:12  “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you…” One thought on these clothes is that they are put on in such a way that they are never put off.

      One note of importance here before we move forward is that Paul ascribes the precious words that God used for the Jewish people, His chosen people, here to the Gentile believers; “elect, holy and beloved.”

      We find eight admonitions in only three verses. Let us pause and take notice of them. These are the things we need to be clothed in, the wardrobe of God’s choosing. Barnes’s Notes says: “The fact that you thus belong to one and the same church; that you have been redeemed by the sameblood, and chosen by the same grace, and that you are all brethren, should lead you to manifest a spirit of kindness, gentleness, and love.”

      William Barclay said: “It is most significant to note that every one of the virtues and graces listed has to do with personal relationships between man and man. There is no mention of virtues like efficie1ncy, cleverness, even diligence and industry…”

      I- “bowels of mercies”- The NASB says, “put on a heart of compassion.”

      Adam Clark’s Commentary says: “…there may be a higher meaning here. The apostle would have them to feel the slightest touch of another’s misery; and, as their clothes are put over their body, so their tenderest feeling should be always within the reach of the miserable. Let your feelings be at hand, and feel and commiserate as soon as touched.”

      We hear of twins being able to feel the pain of the other twin even thought they are separated by miles. What if we were so in tune with other brothers and sisters to feel their pain?

      II- “kindness” This originally Greek word occurs in the KJV 10 times. It is translated goodness (4), kindness (4), gentleness (1) and good (1). The time it is translated gentleness is in Gal 5:22 “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.” This therefore can make it connected to the fruit of the Spirit.

      “The radical idea of the word is profitableness.” Vincent Word Studies.

      Thayer Dictionary defines it as, 1) moral goodness, integrity 2) benignity, kindness

      “The ancient writers defined it as the virtue of the man whose neighbor’s good is as dear to him as his own.” (Barclay p188)

      There is a story told about Lincoln. Perhaps this is why he was such a great man.

“While Lincoln was a poor young lawyer in Springfield, he was going to his office one morning when he saw a little girl crying at the door of one of the houses. Lincoln stopped to see what was the matter. She sobbed out her story. She was going to visit a little friend of hers in another town. It was to be her first ride on the train, and the expressman had not come for the trunk.

Mr. Lincoln lifted the trunk onto his shoulders and started off, calling to the little girl to "come along." They just caught the train. No wonder the little girl never forgot him! A great, brave, noble man he was-never too busy to be kind.”

      III- “humbleness of mind”- humility

      Philippians 2:3-5 says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  4  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

      Paul had talked about the false teachers having false humility. Col 2:23  “Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility…”

      1 Pe 5:5  “… and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”

The inventor of the telegraph, Professor Samuel F. B. Morse, was asked by a friend, "Professor Morse, when you were making your experiments in your rooms at the university, did you ever come to a standstill, not knowing what to do next?"

"Oh, yes, more than once."

"At such times what did you do next?"

"Whenever I could not see my way clearly, I prayed for more light."

"And the light generally came?"

"Yes. And may I tell you that, when flattering honors came to me from the invention which bears my name, I never felt I deserved them. I had made a valuable application of electricity, not because I was superior to other men, but solely because God, who meant it for mankind, must reveal it to someone, and was pleased to reveal it to me."

The first message sent by the inventor of the Morse code was, "What hath God wrought!"

      IV- “meekness”

      A missionary in Jamaica was once questioning some little boys on the meaning of Matt 5:5 and asked, "Who are the meek?" A boy answered, "Those who give soft answers to rough questions."

      Speaking of this Easton Bible Dictionary says “A calm temper of mind, not easily provoked”

      Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

      1 Peter 2:21-23 “ For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:  2  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:  23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not…”

Two goats met one another upon a narrow plank set up across a river, so that they could not pass by without one thrusting the other off. If they were human beings they would argue who had the right to survive. But the goats figured it all out, how one could help the other and, at the same time, help itself. One lay down, and let the other leap over it.

      V- “longsuffering”

      Many times we are not very patient with those who cause us harm or wrong us in some way. Paul talking about love in the Corinthian letter says in 1 Corinthians 13:4;7 “Charity [love] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, …7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

      Matthew Henry says long suffering is:

“Meekness towards those who have provoked us, or been any way injurious to us. We must not be transported into any indecency by our resentment of indignities and neglects: but must prudently bridle our own anger, and patiently bear the anger of others.”

     James 5:7-8 “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.  8Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”

      VI- “forbearing one another”

HCSB “accepting one another”

Matthew Henry says, “Forbearing one another. We have all of us something which needs to be borne with, and this is a good reason why we should bear with others in what is disagreeable to us. We need the same good turn from others which we are bound to show them.”

      VII- “forgiving one another”

      Notice the example we are given why we must forgive. “…if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

      Matthew 6:12 Jesus said, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” This was in the context of the Lord’s prayer.

A Brahmin compared the Christian missionary to the mango tree. All its branches hang with fruit. It is then assailed with stones and clubs by passersby. How does it respond-by dropping fruit at every blow at the feet of those who assail it. At the close of the season, it stands scarred and battered, its leaves torn off, its branches broken. But the next year it bears more fruit than the previous year.

            Maybe we can learn a lesson from the tree. Forgiveness is bearing fruit after we are hurt.

        VIII- “put on charity”

14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”     

   An Armenian nurse had been held captive along with her brother by the Turks. Her brother was slain by a Turkish soldier before her eyes. Somehow she escaped and later became a nurse in a military hospital.

   One day she was stunned to find that the same man who had killed her brother had been captured and brought wounded to the hospital where she worked. Something within her cried out "Vengeance." But a stronger voice called for her to love. She nursed the man back to health.

   Finally, the recuperating soldier asked her, "Why didn't you let me die?" Her answer was, "I am a follower of Him who said, 'Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you'" (Luk_6:27).

   Impressed with her answer, the young soldier replied, "I never heard such words before. Tell me more. I want this kind of religion."

      Can the world tell we are followers of Christ by our love. Christ said in John 13:34-35  “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

      In conclusion, let us not miss that these attributes are all well used to describe the Lord Jesus. We are to be actively becoming more like Him each day. We see from these verses how we should be Living like He is Preeminent.


 

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13- Bringing Glory to the Preeminent One    3:15-17

      Col 3:15-17  “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  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.  17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

 

      Psa 148:7 “Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps.”

      According to research conducted by the National Geographic Society, the 40-ton creation of God-the humpback whale-has a fascinating singing ability. Recordings have been made of the humpback whale singing in various pitches in solos, duets, trios, and choruses of dozens of interweaving voices lasting from six to thirty minutes. What an experience it is to hear, over one's own stereo system, songs from the ocean depths-sung by 40-ton whales! (www.e-sword.net, illustrations)

      We in the church have often sang songs with words such as, “In my life Lord be glorified, be glorified today.” This section of Colossians I have entitled, “Bring Glory to the Preeminent One.” Let us find three thoughts in this section that will help us to bring glory.

 

      I- Let the peace of God rule

The only place in the Bible that the particular word translated in the KJV as rule is here in Colossians 3:15. Rule is defined as “to arbitrate, to govern,” by Strong’s Concordance. The NAS Exhaustive Concordance defines it, “To act as an umpire- rule.”

      Concerning this John Gill said:

This may be said to "reign" in their hearts, when it is the governing principle there; when it restrains the turbulent passions of anger, wrath, and revenge, allays undue heats, moderates the spirits, and composes differences. The metaphor is taken from the judge in the Olympic games, who was the umpire, the moderator, and who determined whose the victory was, and to whom the crown belonged; the apostle would have no other umpire among the saints than the peace of God: and the arguments he uses follow,  Gill

      Jesus said recorded for us in John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

      So how do we do this.  Philippians 4:6-7 says,  “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

      Also notice Isaiah 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

      So letting the peace of God rule is casting our cares upon Him and trusting in His provision and providence.

      This peace is possible because Christ has brought us peace with God.

      Ephesians 2:13-15 “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.”

      What more can bring glory to Christ than for the world to see we are totally depending on Him for everything and in all things thankful to Him. What would glorify him more than a life that is lived according to Him as our umpire.

 

      II- Let the word of Christ dwell

   A sheep rancher in the remote mountains of Idaho found that his violin was out of tune, and, try as he would, he was unable to make the instrument sound the way it should. A frequent listener to a radio station in California, he wrote the station concerning his problem, asking these good people at a certain hour and minute on a certain day to strike the right note for him. This they did: stopping everything else, silencing all other sounds for a moment, they struck that note. In his shepherd's hut in the distant mountains, the shepherd heard that sound, and from that single note he put his instrument into tune again.

      How do we get in tune with God in our lives? God is constantly sending out the signal we need to get it right. We get in tune by letting the Word of God dwell in our hearts.

      Psalms 119:105  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

      From the early times of God’s revelation of Himself men were told to use God’s word as a guide and for it to dwell in their heart.

      Deuteronomy 11:18-20  Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.  19And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  20And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:

      While the opinions of men may change, there is the certainty of the Word of God no changing.  Isaiah 40:8  The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

      So we are admonished to let the word of God dwell within us. How do we get it in. It is like the little boy and his watch.

      A man was seated on a park bench when a little chap of about five sat down beside him and started winding what appeared to be a most prized possession-a watch. "My, what a pretty watch," remarked the man. "Does it tell you the time?"

"No sir," replied the boy; "you gotta look at it."

      So, it is with the Bible. We have to look at and read the Word for it to dwell within us. Notice also it says, “richly in all wisdom.” The Peoples New Testament says, “If we treasure it up richly we will have the divine wisdom in our hearts.”

      Nothing can be more Christ glorifying than for his word to dwell in our hearts and lives and shape us in such a way that we become more Christ like every day.

      Then our prayer can be as Psalms 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

     

      III- Let all our acts praise…Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus

      When the Word dwells in us abundantly then it will come forth out of us. Remember what Jesus said in, John 7:38 “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Here we are told that we should lift up each other by, “teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

      We often sing for our enjoyment. We at times sing for others to hear and enjoy but there is another deeper element to the songs that we sing. We need to build up and encourage each other with them to the glory of God. so the songs of our heart should be bringing glory to the preeminent One.

        Then it says,  17 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…”

      This is not an isolated pocket of this teaching in the Word of God. In fact it is often spoken. Notice 1 John 3:18  “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

      1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

      JV McGee says concerning this section:

   “Do you want a norm for Christian conduct? Do you want a standard to go by? Do you want a principle rather than a lot of little rules? Paul gives us such a principle here. He does not say what we should or should not do. He simply says, “Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” My friend, whatever you do—at your place of employment, in your home, and in all relationships with others—can you say, “I’m doing this in the name of the Lord Jesus”? If you can say that, if you are doing it in His name, then go ahead and do it. This is a marvelous standard, a yardstick that we can put down on our lives. (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.)

      Simply put, when we let the peace of God rule, the word of God dwell and all our acts and actions are done for Him and under the control of the Holy Spirit we will bring honor and glory to the Christ.

      We also notice that it says two place in these three verses to be thankful,  15…and be ye thankful… 17giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

      When we are not thankful in our hearts for what God has done for us we can become cynical and hard hearted. The heart that is thankful is pliable and easily molded into what God would make us to be. May we be thankful.

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14- Preeminent in Relationships  3:18-4:1

      Col 3:18-4:1  “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord19Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.  20Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.  21Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.  22Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God23And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;  24Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ25But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.  4:1Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

 

      I have often prayed during the ceremony for those that I have married that Christ would be the guest at their table and the constant presence in their home.

      Let me ask you why you form relationships. Most of the time it is based on compatibility or people connecting. I have notice a great deal of relationships that are to say the least less than harmonious. Sometimes we meet people and it seems that for no reason at all they seem to rub us the wrong way. By the way this friction cuts both ways. Many times people met us and take an instant dislike to us. Remember it was Will Rogers who said, “To know me is to love me.”

      This section brings together three different relationships, two in the home and one in the world. One thing we see in each of the these that is important enough not to miss going into our study is that each is what William Barclay called “an ethic of reciprocal obligation. He goes on to say:

It is never an ethic on which all the duties are on one side. As Paul saw it, husbands have as great an obligation as wives; parents have just as binding a duty as children; masters have their responsibilities as much as slaves.” (The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, p 192)

        Let us look at these relationships with one more though as a backdrop. Notice the words that I have underlined in the text above. It is evident that Paul is talking to believers about their relationships and that all of this is in, unto, to and of the Lord. By this, it is obvious that He should be preeminent in our relationships as a Christ.

I- Spousal Relationships: 3:18-19

      “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.  19Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”

      When we say I do in our wedding vows many times it is conditional. It’s more “I will if she will,” as the old joke goes. It should not be so. Marriage is a very tough relationship. Two lives become one is difficult, especially as the new wears off.

   There is no greater blessing on earth than a good marriage. A young couple was visiting with an older couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. "Fifty years!" the young husband exclaimed, "That is a long time to be married to one person." The old gentleman looked over at his wife with love in his eyes and said, "It would have been a lot longer without her."

   In Christian marriage, two people grow more and more one with every passing year. They are "fellow heirs of the grace of life" and they are more than happy to share. Each is helping the other on the way to eternity.

   Someone asked, "Is there anything more beautiful than a boy and girl clasping clean hands and pure hearts in the path of marriage?" The answer is "Yes, there is a more beautiful thing: it is the spectacle of an old man and an old woman finishing their journey on that path. Their hands are gnarled, but still clasped; their faces are seamed but still radiant; their hearts are tired and bowed down but still strong. They have proved the happiness of marriage and vindicated it from the jeers of cynics."

      These verses, along with others that address the husband wife relationship, are often misused and misunderstood. Let’s set these verses in context of the Jewish Law and Greek society and see that it was very true when Warren Wiersbe said, “The Gospel radically changed the position of women in the Roman world,” (The Bible Exposition Commentary p 142). Again William Barclay says:

   Under Jewish law a woman was a thing; she was the possession of her husband, just as much as his house or his flocks or his material goods were. She had no legal rights whatever. For instance, under Jewish law, a husband could divorce his wife for any cause, while a wife had not rights whatever in the initiation of divorce. In Greek society a respectable women lived a life of entire seclusion. She never appeared on the streets alone, not even to go marketing….Both under Jewish and under Greek laws and customs, all the privileges belonged to the husband, and all the duties to the wife; but here in Christianity we have for the first time an ethic of mutual and reciprocal obligation.” (ibid)

            Wiersbe says: “We must not think of submission as “slavery” or “subjection.” The word comes from the military vocabulary and simply means “to arrange under rank.”

   It only means that the man has the responsibility of headship and leadership in the home.

   Headship is not dictatorship or lordship. It is loving leadership. In fact, both the husband and the wife must be submitted to the Lord and to each other. It is mutual respect under the lordship of Jesus Christ.” (Ibid)

            The word for love in these verse is the word used for the way God loves us, agape love. He also tells the husband to not be bitter toward the wife. Don’t withhold the love you need to show her.

II- Parent Child Relationships: 3:20-21

20Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.  21Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

      The second relationship is within the home as well, the relationship between parents and children. The advice to children her is to obey their parents.   Wiersbe says, “The word fathers…could be translated “parents,” as it is in Hebrews 11:23. Paul make it clear that parents must make it easy as possible for children to obey.” (p 143)

      Lets again allow Barclay to set this in context or in contrast to today. “In the ancient world children were very much under the domination of their parents. The supreme example of that was the Roman Patria Potestas, the law of the father’s power. Under it a parent could do anything he liked with his child. He could even sell him into slavery; he could make him work like a labourer on his farm; he had ever the legal right to condemn his child to death, and to carry out the execution.” (p 193)

       So children are to obey but the reciprocal obligation, and no doubt the greater obligation is on the parents to be the type of parents that does not cause the children to rebel. William Hendriksen said,  “Godly parents do not inflict upon their children the cruelty of telling them that they should do “just as they please.””

      This word provoke is translated, “don’t be hard on your children, (CEV); do not exasperate (HCSB & NASB). The Liberty Commentary gives the meaning as, “to excite, to nag, to vex, to rouse to resentment.” (p 570) It goes on to say:

“Fathers exasperate their children by: being inconsiderate, being too demanding, being over-corrective, and being unjust and severe. Parents also provoke their children by continually fault-finding, always frowning, never smiling, and holding other children up as examples.” (p 570)

      Under the Lord parent have a great responsibility for doing what is best for their children and bringing glory to preeminent one by it. Remember the words of Psalms 127:3-4  “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  4As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth”.

      So parents take good aim and make sure the arrows are pointed the right direction.

III- Employee Employer Relationships: 3:22-4:1

22Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:  23And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;  24Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.  25But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.  4:1Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”

      Paul talks in the slave and master relationship next. In our society this is often applied to employee and employer. “In ancit times when thing went wrong all the blame was heaped on wives, children, and slaves.” (Hendriksen p171) So what a contrast when the great burden upon this slave master relationship is placed on the master to treat the slave fairly. Contrast that with the early times. “When the slave was past his work, he could be thrown out to die. The slave had not even the right to marry, and if he did cohabit, and there was a child, the child belonged to the master, as the lambs of the flock belong to the shepherd. The master could scourge, brand, kill his slave and not one could say him nay.” (Barclay p 193)

      The slave, who professed Christ, was exhorted to be the best he could be. The master was to treat them as humans and brothers in Christ. We have the example of what Paul writing to Philemon about Onesimus, a runaway slave. Philemon 1:15-16  “For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;  16  Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?”

      Both the slaves and masters were encouraged to act appropriately because by doing as Paul writes it would bring glory to God.

      So we are reminded that in our relationship we should be reminded they are …as to the Lord…for ye serve the Lord Christ.…knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”

 

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15- Praying for the Gospel   4:2-4

            Col 4:2-4  “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;  3  Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:  4  That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”

 

      There is nothing more glorifying and Christ honoring than when we share the good news of Him with others. There is nothing more important in sharing than others praying for you as you share the gospel. Missionaries covet the prayers of the saints back at home while they are on the mission field. Missionaries often tell stories of the feeling the prayers of the saints at specific times. Paul devotes three verses in encouragement to the saints to pray for him and the door of the gospel to be open.

I- Continue in prayer:

      Paul did not ask them to pray one time and not remember to do so again. He asked them for more than that. The HCSB says,Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.” Perhaps the best rendering of this is the 1901 American Standard Bible that says, “Continue stedfastly…”

      The Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries defines the word continue as, “to be earnest towards, to persevere, be constantly diligent.”

      He had asked the same from the church at Ephesus. Ephesians 6:18-19  “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;  19And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.”

      Many times, we have little faith from which to launch our prayers. We can only see what we can do. Do you really think that God can meet all your needs? Do you really think God can meet all the needs of His church? Do we make it a matter of prayer, not just for provision, but also for our lack of faith?

      There is a story told about the great faith and prayer of Dwight L. Moody.

During the World's Fair in Chicago many years ago, Mr. Dwight Moody was carrying on a campaign which cost a great many thousands of dollars. A little group met one day to plan and assist and pray with Mr. Moody about the work. As they sat down to eat, Mr. Moody said, "We need $7,000 today for the work. I have already received $1,000, but before we eat I propose that we pray and ask God for the other $6,000." So with simple childlike faith, Mr. Moody presented this problem to the Father.

About an hour later after the little group had finished their luncheon and completed their plans for the day, a boy came in with a telegram in his hand. Mr. Moody read it and handed it to Reuben Torrey to read aloud. This was what it said: "Mr. Moody, your friends in North Field had a feeling that you needed money in Chicago. We have just taken up a collection and there is $6,000 in the basket." North Field is nearly a thousand miles from Chicago. That morning, as a service was coming to a close in North Field, someone proposed that they take a collection for Mr. Moody's work in Chicago. (www.e-sword.net)

      Paul exhorts, be diligent in praying.

II- Watch with thanksgiving:

            Some think that Paul may have had the backdrop of the times that the disciples fell asleep while they were supposed to be watching. This happened on the Mount of Transfiguration and again in the Garden of Gethsemane. (See Luke 9:32 & Matthew 26:40)

      On the latter occasion, Jesus said to them in Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

      The Liberty Commentary say when Paul says watch in the same it is, “Literally, keep awake, give strict attention to and be spiritually alert. You must guard against wandering thoughts, and beware of indifference.” (p 571)

      Another though is many times we are praying out of times. We need to understand the times in which we live and be aware of how best to pray for those around us.

      Hendriksen says “The worshiper shall be alive to such matters as: A. his own needs and those of the family, church, country, world, b. the dangers that threaten the Christian community, c. the blessings received and promised, and (last but not least) d. the will of God.” (p 179)

      These two words used of pray and watch go together. Remember when Nehemiah was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. The enemies were assailing them on every turn. Notice what Nehemiah said, “Nehemiah 4:9  But we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.”

      Paul also says to this with thanksgiving. Let us be reminded that Paul was a prisoner of Rome as he writes this letter.

III- Pray for God to open doors:

      Paul asks them to pray for his ministry that the doors would be open for him to share the gospel.  We have already seen that Paul made a similar request to the church at Ephesus. Remember Paul was in prison but he may not have necessarily been praying for his freedom from behind bars. He wanted opportunities to preach. Often times he found those in the form of the Roman soldier chained to him or standing guard close by.

      Do we pray that God will open doors for us to witness and share the gospel? We need to pray that God will open doors, help us to recognize they are open and then to walk through them as a church as well as individual believers.

      Listen at what Christ spoke to the church at Philadelphia. Revelation 3:7-8  “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;  8  I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”           

IV-- Pray for the right words

      Paul prayed that he would know what to say. Colossians 4:4 in the  NASB  is “…that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.”

      We have a promise from the mouth of our Master concerning this. Jesus tells his followers they would be persecuted and brought before the governors and kings. Take heart in what He says next. Matthew 10:19-20  “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.  20For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”

      We would never consider Paul inadequate in speaking but Paul did. He told us in 1 Corinthians 2:1  “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.”

      Pray for each other for the gospel’s sake.
 

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16- Capitalize on Opportunities       4:5-6

            Col 4:5-6  “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.  6  Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

 

      In our last section, we focused on praying for the gospel. The prayer was for the door to be opened and that the right words would be known to be spoken. In this section, we will be exhorted to make sure that our words are not hollow and meaningless because what we are doing is shouting so loudly. Also, we will be encouraged to make use of every opportunity that crosses our paths to witness to the grace of God.

      I have entitled this section, Capitalize on Opportunities. Remember the words of Jesus when He said in Joh 9:4  “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”

 I- Walk the Talk:

      “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without…” Clearly there is a distinction between believers, inside the covenant of grace, and non-believers who are without. The Amplified Bible translates this verse, “Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians).”

      The most powerful sermon in the world is a consistent Christian life. Paul told the Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 3:2  “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.”

      Hendrikson said, “It is as if the apostle is saying, ‘Behave wisely toward outsiders, always bearing in mind that though few men read the sacred scrolls, all men read you.’” (p 182)

      Liberty Commentary says, “In order to advance the cause of Christ, we must walk consistently and avoid everything that would turn the unsaved off, and do everything that would turn the unsaved on.” (p 571)

   Around the turn of the century in rural Tennessee an old man crippled with arthritis was very faithful in his assembling with the saints. Twice on Sunday and on Wednesday nights a little girl watched from her window as the old man with his cane painfully made his way down to the little church on the corner. One Sunday morning following a snow storm, the little girl ran to her window and looking out exclaimed, "Surely the old man will not go to church this morning." But there he was, right on schedule, plodding very cautiously through the snow.

   The little girl could not contain herself any longer. She just had to visit the little church to see what possibly could be there that would bring the old man out on such an inclement morning. The rest is history. The little girl was impressed by the services there that morning and a short time later became a Christian. After high school she enrolled in a Christian college and while there she met a fine young Christian boy whom she later married. To this union a son was born who was to become one of the finest gospel preachers. This brother during his ministry has literally led thousands to Christ.

   The old man went to his reward never realizing just what an impact he had made for the cause of Christ.

      If someone followed our footsteps would they lead them to Christ?

 II- Capitalize on Opportunities:

      The JKV says, “redeeming the time.” The NASB translates Colossians 4:5 “…making the most of the opportunity.”

      I read a very pointed illustration. Let me share it as we look at capitalizing on our opportunities.

"I refused a date to the movies, choosing rather to go to the Wednesday night prayer meeting.

"When I arrived, I looked for several people who were important to me.

"I looked for my Sunday school teacher-but he was not there. I looked for the familiar faces of a couple of deacons whom I knew-but they were not there. I looked for several of the members who seemed to be spiritually real and who had greeted me warmly at the Sunday morning services-but they were not there.

"Perhaps, these Christian friends do not think the Wednesday night services are so very important. I guess next Wednesday night I will go to the movies."

      Although I have given us the NASB translation let us return to the word in the KJV translated, redeeming.” Thayer’s Greek Definitions defines this word, “to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the time our own”.

      The idea here also is that as we seek the opportunities they are not at our leisure or convenience but that we are giving something up for them. We are literally buying back these opportunities with our time.

III- Seasoning Our Words:

      Remember Paul prayed for the right words to say. We are to walk in such a way that we can witness to people we know and others can witness to the people who have saw our walk. But our witness does not need to stop there. We need to open our mouths and speak.  “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt.” A couple of other verses come to mind here as well.  

      Colossians 3:16 “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.”

      Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

      Words sometimes carry more force than a raging river. James talked about the tongue in James 3:5-10  “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  6  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.  7  For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:  8  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.  9Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.  10  Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.”

      Our conversation, even those we whisper to others, should be so fitting and edifying that if the world heard them they would be move to faith in Christ.

      A story is told of a missionary to India name Gordon Maxwell.

   When he asked a Hindu scholar to teach him the language, the Hindu replied: "No, Sahib, I will not teach you my language. You would make me a Christian."

   Gordon Maxwell replied, "You misunderstand me. I am simply asking you to teach me your language."

   Again the Hindu responded, "No, Sahib, I will not teach you. No man can live with you and not become a Christian."

      A Christian whose language is bad and whose choice of words is poor and biting is one who according to Christ has become worthless. Christ said in Matthew 5:13  “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

      We are called to be salt and light to a world that is in need.

 IV- Tailoring the Presentation:

      Not all men come the same direction to the cross. All must come by the way of the cross so the blood can be applied for salvation, but not all men respond to the same things as the Holy Spirit makes them alive. Some come to repentance by hardships, some by blessing. Some come by a friend or mate that lives a convicting life before them. It is as if God tailors the gospel presentation of the gospel to us as individuals. Paul states “that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

      Listen to the words of The Message of 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 MSG  “Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people:  20 religious, nonreligious,  21 meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists,  22 the defeated, the demoralized--whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ--but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life.  23 I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!”

      Does this mean we should have a drink with a drunk in order to win him to Jesus? Such a thought is absurd. We are not to be a chameleon that changes to match their surrounding but a person who colors the world around them with Christ. Still there is nothing harmful about talking a little hunting to a lost man who is a hunter or talking a little computer with a computer geek.

      Perhaps there are no more fitting verses to conclude this section with than 1 Peter 3:15-16  “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  16Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

      So as we seek to serve Christ who is preeminent, we must seek to live life ready to share the gospel and make sure that nothing, absolutely nothing in our words or walk cast a bad light upon Him who is everything.

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17- Examples to Live By   4:7-18

      Col 4:7-18  “All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:  8  Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;  9  With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.  10  Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)  11  And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.  12  Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.  13  For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.  14  Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.  15  Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.  16  And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.  17  And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.  18  The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.”

 

This is the working outline that is still not complete:
 

            As we come to the completion of our study in the book of Colossians we conclude with some examples for us to look at and learn how to live the Christian life. If we look at these friends and companions of Paul, we see the great lesson of personal relationships. He remembered his friends and express gratitude toward them and concern for them.

 

I- Those Sent from Rome to Colossae:

4:7-9

A- Tychicus

B- Onesimus

II- Those Who Remained in Rome with Paul: 4:10-14

            Philemon only five of the six sent greetings. Here the first three are Jewish and the second three are Gentile.

A- Aristarchus

B- Marcus

C- Jesus (Justus)

D- Epaphras- the prayer

E- Luke

F- Demas

III- Those in Colossae Receiving the Letter: 4:15-17

A- Brethren in Laodicea

B- Nymphas

C- Archippus