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The Book of Colossians part 1 – Week 10 / March 3rd
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk in Him.”
Colossians, written about 66 AD, and one of Paul’s prison epistles, sets forth the all sufficiency of Jesus. He is the head of the Church, the Firstborn of all creation and the One in whom the fullness of God dwells. He reminds the Church at Colossae of these things because Gnosticism and other philosophical heresies, including legalism were threatening the spiritual well being of the believers. Paul writes about people claiming to have visions of angels (2:18) with suspect messages and of others that are taken up with “philosophy and empty deceit” (2:8) and yet others seeking to impose all sorts of behavior codes on the people of God (2:20-23). These errors will “cheat” them and lead them away from Jesus who has dwelling in Him “the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Paul wants the believers at Colossae to know that they are complete in Christ (2:10) and therefore need to walk in Him as they began. If we truly walk with Him, His life in us will govern our behavior and lead us into the full blessings of God.
This is a timely message because even today these problems continue to afflict the church. We will write more about this later but suffice to say that devotion to Jesus alone is just too simple for some folk and so the urge to be religious “kicks-in” and induces them to demand behavior that really takes us away from devoting ourselves completely to Christ. It happens all the time so, beware!
Paul’s greeting is the same always but it does imply that he has a unique relationship with God by Jesus Christ since he extends the greeting of the Father and the Son to the church. In short he is saying, “I bring you greetings from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” It’s as if he just came out of a meeting with Them! All this means that Paul had a real strong devotional life that brought him into a place of true union with God and so he could speak as His messenger. We should strive for the same relationship with God, our Father, and with Jesus His Son.
The marks of authenticity 1:3-8
Paul rejoices in the faith of the believers at Colossae because:
1. They gave themselves to Christ. V3-4a
Being saved is nothing less; we have to give ourselves to Christ. That is; the complete turning over of all that we are and have to Him. Jesus must become Lord of our lives (Luke 6:46) and the sooner we surrender all to Him the better. By giving ourselves away completely to Jesus we find ourselves and experience great joy. Those who hold onto their lives will lose them; it’s as simple as that. (Matthew 16:24-27)
2. They were infused with love V4b
The immediate and discernible change that overtook them was that they began to love those in fellowship with them. This is supernatural because our carnal unsaved hearts are selfish and I centered. Before we came to Christ, life was all about ourselves and our desires and lusts. So, when Jesus takes up residence in us all this changes and we become “others centric.” This is really a miracle and is an evidence of being truly born again. Jesus in us makes the difference and nothing else. Paul begins by asserting this because he knows of the spiritual challenges that were facing them which essentially taught that “other” pursuits should be embraced to acquire this love.
3. They were filled with hope V5-8
The hope, we as believers embrace, is not that of a repaired world but of a glorious existence with God in heaven. Our present world is irreparable and is passing away (1John 2:17). This hope will come to us by the second coming of Jesus (Titus 2:13) and then we shall enter into real life and an existence that is beyond anything that we can imagine. God, by Jesus Christ, has wonderful things in store for us. Until that day dawns we shall call people out of this world for this Gospel will be preached as a witness in all nations and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14) Like Epaphras, we must be faithful ministers of this gospel.
This then constituted the hallmarks of their faith in Christ and by exercising their trust in Jesus they were transformed, filled with joy and hope, focused on heaven and messengers of the good news of Jesus. We must be the same!
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries