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Colossians

May 17, 2009

Background

I. Introduction Col: 1:1-2

II. Thanksgiving Col: 1:3-8

III. Encouragement Col. 1:9-23

  1. Through Prayer                        Col. 1:9-14
  2. Through Christ                          Col. 1:15-20
  3. Through Reconciliation         Col 1:21-23

IV. Purpose Col. 1:24-2:8

  1. Preach Christ                          Col. 1:24-29
  2. Know Christ                         Col. 2:1-5
  3. Live Christ                         Col. 2:6-8

V. Christ and You Col. 2:9-3:4

  1. In Christ                                   Col. 2:9-12
  2. Alive with Christ                       Col. 2:13-19
  3. Died with Christ                       Col. 2:20-23
  4. Raised with Christ                       Col. 3:1-4

VI. Dress Right Col. 3:5-4:1

  1. Discard your Old Clothes                Col. 3:5-11
  2. Put on your New Clothes                Col. 3:12-14
  3. Take an Umbrella                  Col. 3:15-17

VII. Live Right Col. 3:18-4:6

  1. Living with your Spouse Col. 3:18-19
  2. Living with your Children Col. 3:20-21
  3. Living at Work Col. 3:22-4:1
  4. Living before God Col. 4:2-4
  5. Living among your Neighbors Col. 4:5-6

VIII. Closing Col. 4:7-18

Background

Like many of Paul’s letters, this letter was written from prison in Rome about
the same time as Philippians, Ephesians, and Philemon. This letter and Paul’s
letters to the Ephesians and to Philemon, were most likely couriered by Tychicus
and accompanied by Onesimus. Colossians is really a condensed version of Ephesians
leading one to speculate that they were even written the same day. The greeting
used is similar to many of Paul’s letter and exactly like that of Philippians.
The thanksgiving portion of this letter is again very similar to letters written
to the Thessalonians and to the Philippians. Colossae was a church is Asia Minor
[Turkey] near Laodicia which Paul had never visited. Timothy probably wrote
this letter as Paul dictated it.

Introduction                                                                                                 Col. 1:1-2

“Paul, an Apostle, by the will of God” clearly delineates God’s
role in Paul’s life. We too will have great assurance when we recognize what
we do vocationally is because of God’s will. One’s authority comes by who we
are and whom we serve and perhaps a little from what we have done. Apostleship
was special but being a servant [see Philippians] is for everyone.

Colossae evidently was a strong church in that their members were considered
holy and faithful. They knew the Lord, they knew His Word, and they obeyed the
Word.

Grace and Peace was a standard greeting for Christians but true Grace and
Peace can only come from God. It must be a reflection of how we act, as a witness
to others. As we have received grace and peace, so must we give grace and peace.
Giving and sharing His grace and His peace sets us apart.

These first two verses act as Paul’s calling card, similar to what we have
in business. He tells us who he is and what he is about; an apostle hired by
God to minister concerning God’s grace and peace to all; especially those holy
and faithful to Him. What has God hired you to do? Or haven’t you sought employment.
Holy and faithful people seek employment because of their obedient spirit. Obedient
people are identified by their concern for the well being of others. Those who
work for themselves do it for recognition in the present. Those who work in
“love” do it for both here and eternity, laying up treasure in heaven.

Thanksgiving                                                                                             Col. 1:3-8

Paul thanks God for the saints in Colossae always [often] because he has heard
of their love and faith in Christ and of their hope in heaven as a result of
the gospel message. So here we have the “big three” once again; love,
faith, and hope. In one sense:

  1. Love is the present foundation of the Christian’s ministry on behalf of Christ.
  2. Faith is founded on the past in that Christ died for our sins while we were
  3. yet sinners and is the reason we love.
  4. Hope is our future with Christ in heaven and is the reason we have faith.

The gospel message covers our past, present and future. It is complete; lacking
nothing.

The gospel message is growing and bearing fruit in other areas just like it
has in Colossae [another is in Thessalonica] because it is a message of God’s
grace. Epaphrus evidently had much to do with bringing the gospel to Colossae,
is called faithful by Paul, and has kept Paul informed about the faith of the
Colossians.

How complete and effective is our witness of the gospel of Christ? Does our
witness point out one’s need for faith in Christ’s death and resurrection for
forgiveness of sin? Does our witness point out ones responsibility to love our
fellow man? Does our witness provide evidence of the future glory the believer
has in heaven? We must recognize all are sinners; we must serve our brothers
today. We are to be saints on earth before becoming saints in heaven. But there
is no greater glory [assurance, satisfaction, joy] than knowing the truth of
God; the whole truth of God as revealed by His Holy Spirit.

Encouragement                                                                                           Col. 1:9-23

Through Prayer                                  Col 1:9-14

Paul encourages the Colossians by revealing he has been praying for them since
hearing about their faith. His request has been very specific, that they obtain:

Knowledge of His will
Reaching for the Son [like a tree]
Spiritual wisdom, and
Understanding so they can result in being mature:
Living a life worthy of Chris [like a blossom]
Be pleasing to Him [obedient]
Bearing fruit [bearing fruit]
Growing in knowledge
Strengthened by His power [tree sap]
Possessing patience and endurance
Offering thanks to God [joyful
all because:
They have inherited sainthood in the kingdom
[Planted by the Son]
They have been translated from darkness into light
They have been redeemed and forgiven

Likewise we need to be praying this same way for other churches, other individuals,
who have begun a new work or are new Christians. Is the church you attend an
encourager of other churches or a competitor?

Knowledge is the key to maturity; knowledge gained through experience and
knowledge gained through His Word. But it doesn’t start until we have sought
His forgiveness and become children of the light. Grace gives us the lamp. Asking
forgiveness enables us to accept the lamp. Faith lights the lamp. Knowledge
trims the wick and keeps the light burning brightly. Hope protects the lamp
from the storms of life. Paul is praying that the Colossians’ lamp will burn
brighter and brighter; that they will become a mature fruit tree in God’s kingdom.

Through Christ                                            Col. 1:15-20

In describing Christ we find:

  1. He is the image of God. [“He who knows me knows the Father”]
  2. He is the first born over all creation. [heir]
  3. He is the Creator of heaven and earth. [all matter]
  4. He is the creator of the visible and the invisible. [spirit and flesh]
  5. He is the creator of rulers and authorities. [civil laws]
  6. All matter is held together by Him. [physical laws]
  7. He is Head of the Church. [spiritual laws]
  8. He was the first to be resurrected. [power over death]*
  9. He is God.
  10. He reconciles all things through His death on the cross.

Christ is described as God Incarnate. This doctrine is not to be changed or
tampered with under any circumstances [see John’s letters]. As God He created
all things, governs all things, is sovereign over all things, and reconciles
all things to Himself. All that He does is for His Glory, His purpose, according
to His will, that he be recognized and acknowledged by all creation; worshipped.
We can not know God without first knowing the Son because they are One and His
Son is His perfect revelation of who He is; the I AM.

* This is a difficult concept to explain. We recognize that only God has power
over life and death as demonstrated in His death and resurrection. Enoch and
Elijah are considered to be examples of translation such as the saints who are
alive at the coming of Christ will experience. Enoch was an example to those
before the flood and Elijah was an example to those after the Flood [Moses too]. Lazarus, raised from the dead by Jesus, died once more. Jesus’ body after His resurrection was unique in that it was both spirit and flesh. He traveled at will wherever and whenever He wanted; yet He ate and talked and people could feel His wounds. He had victory over death.

Through Reconciliation                                  Col. 1:21-23

Christ takes us from being enemies to being sons by His death for our sin
so that we will be:

  1. Holy [perfect]
  2. Without blemish [without sin]
  3. Free from accusation [no condemnation, acquitted]
  4. Steadfast in our faith
  5. Available to serve Him and our fellow man.

Our loving sovereign God and His Son Jesus Christ have justified us, adopted
us into their family, made us sons so that we may lovingly serve Him. We are
to “love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind; and to
love our neighbor as ourselves”. Those who place their faith in Christ
can be assured of their reconciliation and thus live in true freedom knowing
that He is with us and that His grace is sufficient to meet all our needs. In
other words, don’t worry but be encouraged because He has taken care of everything
for us. We can trust Him because He is all-powerful and wants the best for us.

Purpose                                                                                      Col: 1:24-2:8

This section, more about Paul than Colossae, is rich with meaning. To state
it in simple terms; Paul’s Purpose, as outlined here, should also be Our Purpose.

Preach Christ                           Col. 1:24-29

Two themes are expressed here; Paul’s joy in his calling and his purpose for
God. He rejoices in the suffering [cost] required to bring the Colossians to
faith. This cost refers to Christ’s death and probably the sacrifice made by
Epaphras in bringing the gospel to them. This cost refers to all Paul suffered
for the sake of Christ and His Church too.

Paul is a servant of the Church to reveal Christ and show forth the mystery
[The Church] revealed to the saints. The Church is people with Christ in them.
That is Paul’s purpose and it should be the purpose of all saints. We are to
use God’s power to work on His behalf, proclaiming Him, teaching in wisdom,
and leading others to Him and His work of perfection.

We are to be tireless in His service because He is God. He wants to use us
to make a difference. His wisdom and knowledge is required for faithfulness.
That is, mature plants are the ones that can withstand life’s storms and bear
fruit. Therefore, we must support and encourage one another; yes, bear one another’s
burdens while reaching for the sonlight.

Know Christ                                   Col. 2:1-5

Three more themes are expressed here; Paul’s struggle with his work, his purpose
for those at Colossae, Laodicia, and other churches with whom he has not met
with personally and, finally, he wants to make sure they are not deceived.

The definition of “struggle” can mean:

  1. Working on behalf of churches representing Christ to others because they
    are supporting him. [But remember Paul took pride in the fact that he supported
    himself]
  2. Working to free himself to visit them personally. [But such is not mentioned
    in this letter while it is in others]
  3. Teaching them via letters of which this is one. [highest probability]

My sense is that the latter two are correct in that Paul states his purpose
is to encourage them and unify them in love and enable them to comprehend Christ’s
gift of redemption so that they will not be led astray by false teachers.

Evidently there is a fair amount of letters and personal information going
back and forth from Colossae and other churches while Paul is imprisoned. This
is evidenced by the final greeting in chapter 4. Paul knows what is happening
and expresses delight in their steadfastness and faith.

So, with whom are you working to help build up in Christ? With whom are you
corresponding to offer encouragement? Whose faith is a delight and encouragement
to you? For whom are you “struggling”

to fund [$] for Christ’s sake? There is no excuse not to seek out ways to do
this. We are imprisoned [committed] and privileged to carry out this responsibility.

Live Christ                                       Col. 2:6-8

We are to live in Christ just as we received Him so that we mature [rooted
deep, built-up, strengthened] and overflow with thankfulness [forever blooming].

Most likely we received Christ with open arms, with joy, with love, with humility
and with thanksgiving. We are to live lives of continuous thanksgiving, never
taking His Grace for granted, always thanking Him for our redemption through
His Son and thanking Him for His sacrifice. It is His gift of extraordinary
love.

Thanking Him continuously [recognition] enables us [motivates] to set down
deep roots to understand more and receive His special nourishment from His Holy
Word. Being thankful is a spiritual driver as is love. It leads to faithfulness
and the “abundant life”, recognizing what He did and not what we do.
Thanksgiving must be a part of our daily prayer life.

We like thankful people and shun those who are unthankful. Thankfulness in
all things is attractive. It shows off Christ and His redemption in that He
gave His life in order that we may have life.

Let me go further now to put all this in perspective.

  1. Because of who Christ is [incarnate, redeeming, indwelling, creator, personal,
    eternal, forgiving, living, faithful, trustworthy, loving, righteous, just, holy,
    and peace-loving] means we have contentment, joy, intimacy, assurance, confidence,
    freedom, peace and no reason to ever worry.
  2. The degree of suffering, sacrifice, or affliction is not a consideration
    for us who are His servants. Our purpose is to serve Him. But in serving, expect
    to suffer.
  3. We are called to be Saints and Servants. We are to live with much joy and
    assurance according to His purpose. There may be a difference in our activities
    Monday through Friday, Saturday, and Sunday but there should not be a difference
    in our Purpose; that of proclaiming Christ and perfecting the saints.
  4. Our knowledge of Christ and His Riches should be greater today than a year
    ago. To make this a reality, help somebody, encourage someone.
  5. Encourage someone by thanking them for their faith. We are to be “eternally” concerned for each others faithfulness and maturity.

I call Preaching Christ, Knowing Christ, and Living Christ the three legs
important to Christian stability.

  1. If you Preach Christ and Know Christ, you will also Live Christ.
  2. If you Preach Christ and Live Christ, you must Know Christ.
  3. If you Know Christ and Live Christ, you will Preach Christ.
  4. If you Preach Christ, Know Christ and Live Christ, you will Grow Christ and His Kingdom.

You will not be crumbled by Satan’s influence, but instead, crumble Satan.

In conclusion, Paul’s purpose was Christ’s purpose, is the Church’s purpose,
is the purpose of all true saints, and must be our purpose too.

Christ and You                                                                                  Col. 2:9-3:4

A. In Christ                                  Col. 2:9-12

Now Paul makes a very important, bold, and true statement; Christ is God Incarnate.
The fullness and completeness of God is revealed in Jesus Christ, His only Son.
He rules, governs, and has authority over all things; Sovereign. He is the I
Am. There is no other God than He. And the amazing thing is that He dwells within
us. He rules over us and in us. We are identified [circumcision, baptism] with
Him by how we live because He has changed our character. He has cleansed us
from sin and the desire to sin. He has recreated us in His image according to
His perfect plan [grace, His death and resurrection] and is making us like Him
in all respects. This is accomplished through God’s power [resurrection power]
and that of the Holy Spirit; not by anything man does. It is accomplished by
placing our faith in Christ, His sacrifice for our sin and His resurrection,
for forgiveness of sin and life eternal. [See the illustration associated with
Romans 6 for a visual explanation of what Paul is trying to describe.]

B. Alive with Christ                 Col. 2:13-19

Because He is who He is and He did what He did while we were still sinners,
we are ALIVE with Christ. We are no longer under the Law but under Grace. The
Law was nailed to the cross along with our sin. The Law condemns. His Cross
forgives and acquits. Thus, He took away much of the authority assumed by the
Jewish rulers [the Sanhedrin, Pharisees, Sadducees, Chief Priests, Levities,
etc.] and the Roman rulers. They killed Him, sealed the grave, guarded the grave,
and were unable to explain the empty grave. So Christ clearly demonstrated that
His authority surpasses any and all earthly authority.

His resurrection is real historically, not a fable or story. The Jewish and
Roman leaders were baffled and could not explain away the happenings. His resurrection
is the only explanation/solution to the historical data.

“Therefore” refers back to verse 13 in that we are dead to sin and
alive in Christ. We are not to be troubled when judged by what religious event
[Jewish feasts, revival meetings, celebrations] we attend or do not attend because
we are in Christ. We are beyond the need for religious events to bring/show
the fullness of Christ because we already have the fullness of Christ in us.
Likewise, we are not to be sidetracked by people of false humility or angel
worship; those whose faith is based on sensational experiences. They have lost
contact with Christ, the head of the Church. They are not subject to growth
within the body because they are not of the body. But keep this in perspective
and balanced. Do not be lax in worship or avoid/prevent spiritual experiences.

So what is false humility? This is a subtle subject; easier to see and discern
than it is to describe. One sees it often with some TV preachers. In other words,
people who say all the right words but participate in wrong actions/activities
[hypocrisy]. They don’t practice what they preach. The glory of success is for
them, not God. We are all guilty of this in different degrees from time to time.

Who do we personally recognize when success occurs? Do we only recognize an
individual or group of individuals? Do we only recognize God? Really, we should
do both but God should be recognized first and more so than any person[s]. The
art of humble encouragement is rare in that encouragement is usually wrapped
in examples of great success [I did] and not in examples of patience and persistence
[He will] in attaining the success or, for that matter, recognizing the work
of the Holy Spirit behind the scenes. Yes, it is easy to say the right words
but do we always believe them in our heart?

Next Paul addresses the subject of angel worship. What is it? I think this
broadly describes the worship of pastors, laymen, and leaders in addition to
true angels including visions and dreams. This would include people who bow
before a “picture” of the virgin Mary or Christ seen on some object.
It involves anyone who is elevated to a higher position than Christ for worship/allegiance.
Why be so foolish to bow before someone or some vision of someone when you have
the Christ living within you? Respect is good, proper, but allegiance leads
to worship of a false god.

“What is seen” refers to experiential worship and not “spiritual
worship” i.e. the experience is greater than Christ. Nothing is worthy
of our worship except Christ Jesus the Lord God Incarnate.

All three of these descriptions go hand in hand. They are more apt to be seen
in the liturgical mainline churches and in the charismatic/healing movements.
[ For example; Catholic Cardinals, other Church Bishops, healers such as Benny
Hinn; Charismatics whose focus on tongues overrides their focus on a reconciling/loving/saving
faith in Christ; Church leaders who are more concerned with church politics
than presenting Christ as Savior; places and organizations where man is susceptible
to being elevated over Christ.] It is subtle and happens over time. People we
admire become our gods. People who have been granted authority and/or who have
done great things may think they are like God based on their works.

The experiences of a Christian and the visions of a Christian are affirming,
assuring, good, and valuable. But they are always far secondary to Christ, His
Work, His Purpose. Praise God for experiences that show us the true character
of God. But they should never be sought or promoted. Christ alone is to be sought
and promoted. Focus on the potatoes, not the gravy. Potatoes are the source
of energy and sustenance, not the gravy. One never takes gravy and looks for
the potatoes. One always takes potatoes and looks for the gravy. Gravy doesn’t
rule, it compliments; adds flavor [understanding] to the real body, Christ Jesus
[the potato].

Died with Christ                                 Col. 2:20-23

We are not to remain conformed to the world’s rules which take the form of
I’m OK, I and me, possessions, power, prestige etc. [Romans 12]. Also avoid
the dos and don’ts of religious legalism. Man’s teaching on success, what it
is and how to attain it, is foolishness because it is temporary just as man
is temporary. Redeemed man is eternal because that person is made [sanctified
and justified] to be like Christ who is eternal. We are to lay up treasure is
heaven and not in earth.

Mans rules/ways/religion are binding in lots of ways and have some good points
but according to Paul they ignore sensual indulgence. In other words, they don’t
always teach, correct, or promote respect and love for others. God is love and
we are able to love only because we love God in response to His love for us.
A lack of respect and love for others leads to divorce, adultery, fornication,
etc. as acceptable practice. Man is committed to pleasing himself and not God.
It becomes “what’s best for me” and not “what’s best for God”
or “what do I want” versus “what does God want”. Who do
we serve; God or self?

Man’s ways always build up man at the expense of man. God’s ways always build
up God through the redemption of man.

An example of a current movement which helps to explain what Paul wants to
get across is what is now called Political Correctness. This is a very powerful
movement which suppresses our Christian witness; that there is only one way
to receive eternal life and that is through Jesus Christ. PC wants to convey
the ideology that all religion is good and points to God. This movement labels
you as a bigot if you do not accept all beliefs as valid and all ways of life
as acceptable. It wants to remove morality as an absolute and make it relative.
It wants to remove the concept of sin. It wants to change all of God’s commandments
and make them suggestions. This movement is promoting respect and tolerance
for one another but it is also persecuting those who want to tell the Truth
in love. Love is defined by them as accepting all viewpoints, total acceptance.
Now granted we as Christians must be accepting, showing respect and love for
our fellow man as Christ commanded but that does not mean we do not share the
Truth/ the Gospel. Christians accept everybody as sinners in need of a Savior
but we don’t accept their ideas that are contrary to God’s Holy Word. PC promotes
being passive but Jesus Christ wants us to be bold as Peter and Paul were bold.
Boldness is good and even when we witness with tact and love we must realize
that some will be offended by the Truth.

Raised with Christ                          Col. 3:1-4

These verses transition us from who we are and have become in Christ to how
we should act and live as Christ’s ambassadors here on earth. Continuing from
the theme of Chapter 2 where we are:

  1. In Christ/identified with Christ;                     [ Col. 2:11]
  2. Alive in Christ;                                                       [Col. 2:13]
  3. Dead in Christ;                                                        [Col. 2:20]

we come to Col. 3:1 and learn we are also Raised with Christ. Therefore, we
must set our hearts and minds on things above; heaven. We are to prepare/focus
on where we are going; where home is. We are to be homesick for where our Lord
is now.

Why? Because we have died to Christ and we are hidden in Him. He has covered
and paid for our sin. He has already given us His robe of righteousness to wear
here on earth. We are here on earth so others can see Christ, just as He was
on earth in the flesh so that we could see God. We are the living Christ on
earth for others to see and believe. This is an awesome responsibility and requires
much diligence. Consequently, Paul gives us some very specific instructions
on what to do and how to act beginning in Chapter 3 verse 5.

The statement ” Christ appears, then you will also appear with Him in
glory” Can mean:

  1. When we accept Him as our Savior and Lord [because Christ has appeared to
    us] we are immediately registered with Him in heaven [glory].
  2. Christ personally comes for us in death to take us home.
  3. Christ appears and we are caught up to be with Him [rapture].

I believe all three are correct and apply here in this “inspired”
verse of hope. [See also my thoughts on I and II Thessalonians.]

Dress Right                                                                              Col. 3:5-4:1

This section is about living right [righteous] and is analogous to the clothes
we wear and how we are to act while wearing them. There is an old adage “what
you wear will determine how you act”. That’s what Paul is trying to get
across in these verses. As Christians, we are to dress in clean, pressed, and
presentable clothes; modest and not faddish. We are to dress appropriately and
with “traditional consistency”. Our attraction is not to be outward
but inward; not on ourselves but on Him and for Him. The clothes we wear are
to attract others to our inward beauty, the indwelling of Christ in our hearts.

Similar passages from Paul’s writings would be Romans 12 and Ephesians 4-6.
In fact this section of Colossians mirrors Ephesians and lends credibility to
my theory that these two letters were written very close together, perhaps even
the same week. The closer we get to the end of this letter, the more rushed
it seems to get. I have the feeling that this letter was finished just before
the couriers were to leave.

Discard your Old Clothes                           Col. 3:5-11

We are to bury our earthly nature [sin nature] of sexual immorality, impurity,
lust, evil desires, and greed because they are idols. They were our focus and
have the ability to keep our focus off Christ, heaven, and eternity. We are
to rid ourselves of anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language lies, etc.
all of which are able to harm others. Because of our sin nature originating
with Adam, God’s wrath is coming.

Instead, we are to be renewed in His image, His knowledge, His ways, so that
Christ can be seen by all through our lives. People are to see Christ in us
and through us because we are different. His ways are not our [sin nature’s]
ways. Our lives and how we live is a testimony for who we serve. What we don’t
do is as much a testimony as what we do which starts with verse 12.

Breaking with our old nature is not easy. It is difficult for us to change
except through the power of Christ’s death and resurrection in our lives and
the help of the Holy Spirit.

In truth these sins mentioned are “accepted” in the world but not
“desired” by the world. The world accepts them as a way of life because
it can’t offer a better effective alternative. It has tried through governments,
conferences, world organizations, laws, political correctness etc. All these
are good but they don’t change lives. Christ rejects sin as a way of life because
He is the alternative. Therefore, focus on Him. Let Him change us. He wants
to, He can, and He will if we trust Him as Savior and Lord over our life. Let
Him transform us into His image. It has nothing to do with our country, our
culture, or our class but with our unity in Him.

Put on your New Clothes                        Col. 3:12-14

Here begins the exhortation on what we should be because we are “God’s
chosen people” “raised with Christ”. We are to clothe ourselves
in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and fellowship. We
are to support, encourage, forgive, and Love all for the sake of unity in Him.
[See Gal. 5]

We are to promote unity; peaceful living here on earth as an example of the
unity in heaven and our unity with Christ. Self must be set aside and these
virtues practiced for His sake.

Take an Umbrella                                    Col. 3:15-17

Where specifics do not apply, remember these general principles. They are
your umbrella when sudden storms come. Always be prepared.

We are to have the “peace of Christ” rule [control and guide] our
hearts within the body [Church]. We are to be thankful and let God’s Word dwell
within us and overflow to others in our worship with other believers. Worship
involves all these things under the umbrella of thanksgiving and praise. It
should carry over into our daily lives [in our speech, in our work] to help
others.

Worship is our lives poured into others’ lives in thanksgiving for what he
has done for us. The blessing He gives us must be passed on to others so that
they may see Christ in us and desire to also follow Him.

Live Right                                                                                              Col. 3:18-4:6

  • Living with your Spouse                   Col. 3:18-19
  • Living with your Children                 Col. 3:20-21
  • Living at Work                                      Col. 3:22-4:1

These passages are essentially the same as that of Ephesians 5:22-6:9 so I am
going to refer you to my comments made there and only comment generally here.

Boiled down, Paul’s instructions are:

  1. Wives, submit to your husbands.
  2. Husbands, love your wives.
  3. Children, obey your parents.
  4. Fathers, do not embitter your children.
  5. Slaves, obey your masters.

Verse 23 reiterates verse 17. Our purpose is to glorify Christ, not self.
Because we serve Him:

  1. We are His bride; therefore submit to Him.
  2. He loves us. He gave His Son for us.
  3. We are His children; therefore obey Him.
  4. He disciplines us because He loves us.
  5. We are His laborers; therefore work diligently for His benefit.
  6. He rewards us because He loves us.

These are our instructions. Failure to follow them brings discipline. Follow-thru
brings reward. We are all treated alike regardless of race, sex, position, or
responsibility. His instructions are the same for everyone. Note that there
is order and organization along with accountability within His Kingdom.

Living before God                            Col. 4:2-4

Prayer is an important, critical, and required necessity for maintaining our
relationship with our creator God. Through prayer we are able to ask questions,
seek guidance, seek encouragement, know hope, receive strength, find answers,
comprehend His will, and express our thanksgiving. He also states that we should
be watchful; watchful for discerning His coming again and watchful discerning
His will.

Paul asks prayer for himself but this should be expanded to praying for God’s
special ministers, evangelists, missionaries and all full time workers for open
doors to the gospel. The “mystery of Christ” is the gospel message
and it is the Church of which Christ is the head. Paul is in chains because
he preached Christ crucified for our sin and the Church is the body of believers
graced with forgiveness and eternal life—the new covenant Israel—–charged
with the responsibility of carrying on Christ’s earthly ministry in conjunction
with the Holy Spirit. We are to pray and seek God for the successful expansion
of the Kingdom until He comes again.

Living among your Neighbors               Col. 4:5-6

We are to act wisely [living right and dressing right] so we can take advantage
of opportunities to tell others about Jesus [see also the characteristics of
a vibrant ministry outlined in Philippians 1].

These verses indicate the way Paul behaved in prison to those around him.
We are to live the gospel openly and be prepared when questions are asked. It’s
good to be bold in our witness but we should not be offensive to others. Our
lives should shout louder than our words. It should be commonplace for people
to ask: “Why do you act the way you do? Where does your joy come from?
Why do you take that position? How can I find God? You see, it’s what I have
already gained [the riches of Christ Jesus] that enables me to love, to be a
peacemaker, to comfort, to be compassionate, and to offer hope to my neighbor.

Closing                                                                                                     Col. 4:7-18

Tychius is evidently the courier of this letter, a fellow minister who will
also give Colossae a special message concerning Paul’s situation and personal
encouragement to live for and like Christ.

Onesimus is going with him. So Philemon is most likely a member of this church
for whom Paul wrote a special personal letter. Therefore, we believe Tychius
is couriering letters to the Ephesians, the Colossians, and to Philemon at the
same time. Onesimus is going with him back to Philemon, his master.

Aristarchus, Mark [John Mark], and Justus are all Jews in Paul’s service.
Mark may also be visiting the Colossians. These three evidently ministered to
Paul and with Paul while in Rome. They were likely curriers of letters and communication
back and forth between the churches and Paul in Rome too.

Epaphras, a gentile believer, was from Colossae and in Paul’s service for
Christ. He is a prayer warrior for his home church. Perhaps his church sent
him on a short term mission trip to help Paul. He evidently has some responsibility
for Laodicea and Hieropolis. Are you praying for your home church?

Luke and Demas are other attendants.

This letter will also be sent on to Laodicea and to a small house church and
they are to expect a letter from Laodicea [Ephesians?].

Archippus evidently is Colossae’s current pastor in residence.

Timothy probably wrote this letter as dictated by Paul. But Paul wrote the
final greetings in verses 7-18 in his own hand and asks for a special remembrance
of his work, a more personal request than that in Chapter 4:3. He also adds
a personal greeting of grace at the end to compliment the general greeting in
Chapter 1:1-2.

The lengthy final greeting gives this letter a very personal tone. It is the
longest greeting, perhaps because of the many fellow workers in Paul’s attendance
at this time.

If your pastor were writing this letter, would you be considered one of his
attendants critical to carrying on the ministry? Should you be? Not all are
called but everyone is gifted and sent to do some task. What’s yours? Be ready.
We are accountable wherever we are placed.

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