“Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.” (p43)
It’s great to be with you for another study in Colossians. This week, we studied Colossians 1:21-2:3. But before we get into that, the topic of other religions came up in our study as it often does. So, I have created a handout that briefly describes some of the major world religions and denominations. Click here for that page.
Here are some thoughts from these scriptures and from our study of The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: Colossians Become the Whole Person God Intends You to Be – Warren W. Wiersbe;Paperback
The main theme of Col. 1:21 – 2:3 is relationship. Relationship with God and with other believers. Regarding our relationship with God, Paul points out that we were all once separated from God and that we created that separation ourselves by allowing evil thoughts to creep in and by further allowing them turn into evil actions. But Paul shares the good news with us that reconciliation is ours for the asking through faith and by firmly standing on that faith. This section ends by Paul’s example of sacrifice and service, pointing out that he has suffered for them and for the Gospel of Christ.
Some of the themes found in this section include:
Separation from God v21
Reconciliation with God v22
Continuing Faith v23
Suffering for others and for the Gospel v24, 2:1
Responsibility of serving by proclaiming v25
Secret message revealed that “Christ lives in you.” v26-27, 2:3
The “riches and glory of Christ are for … Gentiles too” (All-inclusive availability) v27
Prayer for unity among believers, confidence and understanding (2:2)
Notes on Colossians 1:21-2:3
21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.
-Distance creates separation and enmity from God. God longs for relationship with His children. It is we who create distance when we allow our wandering thoughts to consume us with evil desires and actions.
22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
-God took the first step in the covenant relationship with Abram and his descendants. Then took an even greater and final step toward making us one with Him by giving His only Son Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for our sins.
Even though we were worthy of death, by God’s grace and the Blood of Jesus, we are made “holy and blameless” and are able to “stand before Him without a single fault.”
“Christ died for us. But wherefore? That we should still live in sin? No; but that we should die to sin, and live henceforth not to ourselves, but to Him. “ Matthew Henry’s commentary
23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.
-It is easy to allow discouragement and disbelief to creep in. We live in an imperfect world, full of sin, destruction and death thanks to the fall in Eden. Paul recognizes this and calls out to those who are wavering in their faith telling them to hold on and “continue to believe.”
24 I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church.
-When we face struggles in life and ministry, are we grateful in the knowledge that we are participants “in the sufferings of Christ? Or, do we feel that life and others are treating us unfairly? Do we think we deserve better treatment or greater honor?
Perhaps we are angry or bitter because we have caused the suffering we endure because of bad life choices. Or maybe the situation we are in is such just because we are part of an imperfect and sinful world.
There is a foundation which must be laid before we can attain the “glad” attitude expressed by Paul here is having our heads and hearts in the right place. It is up to us to examine our own hearts and determine whether or not we are causing separation between ourselves and God by holding on to destructive thoughts and practices.
What are we doing to draw closer to God? Do we worship God no matter the circumstance? Do we spend time in God’s Word so we may hear His voice speak to our hearts and situations?
Do we pray and lay our burdens down at His feet?
25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you.
-Our responsibility is not only to receive Paul’s message, but to live it and spread it to others. The Words of God are not meant solely for consumption. They “are alive and powerful” (Heb.4:12) and meant to bring change. They are also meant to be shared.
26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.
-The Jews had no concept that the very presence of God could, or would live within them. In the past, the presence of God was expressed in the cloud and the pillar of fire that led them out of Egypt. Moses saw a part as he passed by, but His full image was not seen until Jesus Christ was born. Now the secret, God’s fullness and His glory are revealed because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1 I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally.
-Why would someone agonize over another?
Do we care about the spiritual state of others enough to “agonize” over them?
What would be the benefit of letting others know how much you have “agonized” for them?
I admit that I allowed myself to become apathetic to the spiritual state of others. One reason was that I sank into selfish and self-centered thinking and behaviors. It’s curious how tempting and exciting destruction can be. Even after spiritual and emotional recovery, guilt kept me silent and self-centered. But that time is over. The “acuser of the brethren” no longer holds power here. It is past time to have a wider world view and reach out with care, empathy and ministry to the world around me. As my eyes turn more to him, my heart turns more to others and my hands find the ability to work in various aspects of ministry to reach out.
The more we are like Jesus, the more we will agonize for the lost.
2 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.
-What else keeps us in fellowship with one another but love?
Love for each other is what keeps us from church hopping when our feelings get hurt, or when we don’t feel like we are “getting fed” from the pastor’s messages.
3 In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (NLT)
-There is no other source to look for “special knowledge.” There is no greater joy than knowing Him. I have run from my Savior and have tried so many different things to bring peace and comfort. The greatest treasures are “wisdom and knowledge.” With these two in hand, one may accomplish anything. Think about the opposites; foolishness and ignorance. Both lead to dangerous and destructive behavior and poverty, while wisdom and knowledge lead to both spiritual and financial prosperity. The sources of the latter may be found in and through Christ Jesus. When we run from Him, we run toward foolishness and ignorance. As we draw nearer to Him, the better attributes become a part of us.
“The soul prospers when we have clear knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. When we not only believe with the heart, but are ready, when called, to make confession with the mouth. Knowledge and faith make a soul rich. “ Matthew Henry’s Commentary
As we greater understand the implications of Christ dwelling within us, we will not only be encouraged but encourage others and be better servants. We will be leaders, rather than consumers. We are the life givers! We are the sacrifice poured out for others!
Some final questions from the book and for your week ahead.
“How do you build your own trustworthiness among other believers and nonbelievers?p”52
“Are there areas in your life that would cause others to question your trustworthiness? If so, what are those areas, and how can you go about addressing them?” p52
“Think of one or two things you have learned that you’d like to focus on in the coming week.”p53
“Do you need to cultivate gratitude for the fact that you have been reconciled to God through Christ?
Do you need to value the “mystery” of Christ more deeply or make wisdom a priority over information?
(Pray) …inviting God to work on your mind and heart in those areas you’ve previously noted. be honest about your desires and fears.”p54
As a reminder, my book, Are You Ready To Serve? is available at Amazon.com for free through Thursday 10/11/12.
Cover art by Brad Singleton
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Blessings to you all,