Friday, February 5, 2010

Colossians: Intro and Chapter 1

Introduction:  Paul passed by Colossae during his third missionary trip recorded in Acts 18. He never stopped in Colossae to preach or establish a mission there. He mostly passed by the city en route to Ephesus. Colossae was likely highly influenced by the believers in Ephesus, and many have noted that the themes discussed in the epistle to the Ephesians and those discussed in the epistle to the Colossians are very similar. In fact, many have said that they are identical with emphasis being placed on a different part of the message. Ephesians, it has been said, is a letter about the BELIEVER'S STANDING in Christ. While Colossians is a letter about the believer's STANDING IN CHRIST. Either way, both are about our position as believers. Praise God, we are found in Christ.

Chapter 1. Paul opens the letter emphasizing the will of God. This will take shape throughout the chapter. He then introduces two prayers.

Prayer 1: verses 3-8. Paul's first prayer is thankful for three things regarding the believers: their faith, love and hope. Faith is in Christ and His work on our behalf. Love is to be exercised on one another in the church. Both the faith and love are borne out of the hope of the Gospel. The hope of redemption for all mankind--even all creation. Without a hope of this magnitude, neither faith or love would do any good here on earth. These three characteristics (most commonly read in 1 Corinthians 13) are the pervasive character traits of the believer. The believer should exhibit these characteristics while on earth. Especially in light of the Gospel. The Gospel never fails, our hope is in a sure thing. God's Word always ha its impact when it goes out.

Prayer 2: verses 9-14. Paul's second prayer is on the believer's behalf. It is an instructional prayer describing what the believers should do next. Paul gives a 4-part description of what the believer has/does. 1) Paul urges the believers to grow in the knowledge of God's will. Believers are to constantly grow in wisdom and knowledge of God. Paul told them they could do it because they had the Spirit of God assisting them. We should be growing even more so because in addition to the indwelling of the Spirit, we have the scriptures--otherwise known as the Sword of the Spirit. 2) Next, Paul tells the believers that they should lead lives worthy of the Lord. We are told elsewhere to be holy as God is holy. We are to live our lives to please God. Paul says that the way to do this is by doing good work and knowing God better. When we do good works in an effort to please God after being saved, it is something pleasing to Him. We are to learn about God Himself, this is different than the other bit of encouragement to grow in knowledge, this refers to Theology; the study of God's nature. As we learn God's nature, we learn why God is pleased as we do certain things. Then we can learn to do everything in a manner that pleases Him. 3) Next, Paul urges the brethren to increase in strength and might for endurance purposes. We are not said to endure when things are easy. Endurance is a term applied when things are tough and we still fight through them. What gives the believer the ability to endure the hardships is faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. It is the thing that we can strengthen and build little by little. Then, when the storm comes we can rest in the promises that we have believed. 4) Paul finally encourages the believers to give joyful thanks to the Father for redemption. This is worship, the believer's highest occupation. This is the ultimate response of a sinner to his savior. This is the response of a believer who is right with his Lord.

Note above that the Father provides redemption. Theologically, He sacrificed His Son. In essence, He paid with the currency of Christ Jesus' blood to buy us back from evil. Christ's role was to be the perfect sacrifice, the one whose blood was shed. This is clarified in verse 22.

In verses 15-23, Christ is called the Firstborn of All Creation and the Firstborn of the Dead. In other words, He is the preeminent one. He is the head. Technically, Paul has also called Christ the Firstbord of the Church in here as well, we know elsewhere Christ is called the Firstborn of Many Brethren. Christ, by virtue his redemptive work, is above the natural realm, the eternal realm and the spiritual realm. He is above every realm one can imagine. He is the Firstborn. He is the fullness (vs 25). When filled with Christ, we are full of the hope of Glory (vs 27).

Verses 28 & 29. The chapter closes with the following three terms: Proclaim, Admonish & Teach. We proclaim so we know who He is. We admonish each other so we know what is wrong. We teach one another so we know what is right. The goal is to become mature in Him. That is the reason we strive this way. That is what Paul lived for.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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