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The Book of Colossians part 2 – Week 11 / March 10th
Paul writes his epistle to address some serious spiritual problems that were threatening the well being of the Church at Colossae. These were legalism, empty humanistic philosophy and traditions of a worldly type. He wants the believers at Colossae to know that in Christ they are, as he puts it, “complete” but for them to grasp this they need to understand:
The Preeminence of Christ V9-18
The Christians at Colossae, like Christians everywhere, need to know and appreciate the glory of Christ’s being. Failure to understand this induces them to place their spiritual attention elsewhere. The same maladies afflict the modern church since a low view of who Jesus is drives Christians to seek “more” elsewhere. This “more”, as happened at Colossae, was indeed a spiritual ditch! So, then Paul begins his journey with them by affirming that he has been fervently praying for them.
These prayers have centered around three subjects:
1. That they should be filled with the knowledge and wisdom of God V9
To know and do the will of God is arguably the most vital and important aspect of our lives on earth. However, to know how to implement the will of God is of greater importance. This knowledge is called wisdom. Wisdom applies knowledge correctly and if we lack it our heavenly Father is more willing to give it to us than we are to ask for it. (James 1:5) Wisdom is an attribute that is highly prized in the Bible (Proverbs 1:20-23) and the fullness of God’s wisdom is embedded in Jesus.
2. That they should live out their lives in a way that pleases God V10
When we were unsaved we were in fact enemies of God. (Romans 5:10) The incredible grace of God, working in our lives, changed all of that and now we live to please Him. (1John 3:22) We should make it our aim, as Paul did, to make every day a day that pleases God. (1Thessalonians 4:1) One can only do this if one focuses one’s life entirely upon Jesus. The evidence of a saved life that pleases God is the works of righteousness that flow from us. God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in these. (Ephesians 2:10)
3. That they should live empowered lives V11-12
This God-given empowerment enables them to have patience and endurance. Most Christians see God’s power as a means to acquire wealth and prestige but indeed it is imparted to us that we should appropriate our destiny or inheritance of “the saints in the light.” That is, that we should have our characters transformed! Our destiny begins with this and only Jesus alone can accomplish this work in our lives.
When we gave our lives to Jesus we did in fact declare “war” on our carnal natures, the world and the devil. Ours is an upward calling, in more ways than one, as John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress reminds us, and we need God’s power in Christ to fully embrace it.
The Bridge V13-14
At this point Paul transitions to the burden of his letter and he does this by stating that God our Father has done great things for us in His Son Jesus in that by Him He has delivered us from the power and kingdom of darkness, expiated our sin, by His spilt blood and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. Jesus is the all reigning and all sufficient King of this kingdom wherein we find ourselves.
We need nothing more than Him because:
1. He is God V15a
Jesus is the visible image of all that God is. (Hebrews 1:1-3) Whatever God is Jesus is and thus He Himself stated that He was one essence with God (John 10:30) and to see Him was in fact to see the Father. (John 14:8-9) The point is clear; if Jesus is in your life you have all that God is living in you! What more do you need?
2. He is perfect man V15b
Jesus is the firstborn over all creation meaning that He is the “prototype” of what we all shall become. Our destiny is that of having dominion over creation but we shall not enter this role until we too, like Jesus, are perfect in every way. This will be in the world to come only! (Hebrews 2:5-9) So, Jesus is also a perfect man; what more do we need?
3. He is the Creator V16a
This absolutely amazing! Jesus not only made everything by the word of His power but He also upholds and sustains the whole created universe. Again, if He is in our lives; what more do we need?
4. He is the absolute Potentate V16b
Jesus is the highest and greatest authority of all. He reigns over all things seen and unseen. There is nothing on earth, in the heavens or in the universe and unseen world that is greater and more powerful than Jesus. He is also our King and lives in our hearts. Jesus is really precious because, given Who He really is, He nevertheless walks with us and talks with us and relates to us with kindness, gentleness and concern. Wow, what a God we serve!
5. He is eternal V17
Jesus pre-existed with the Father and the Spirit before time, space and matter ever came into existence. He affirmed His pre-existence in His great priestly prayer recorded in John 17. (John 17:5) There is absolutely nothing in the created order that can add to our salvation. We are truly complete in Christ and we must get this.
6. He is the Head of the Church V18
Jesus has first place in the Church because of Who He is and because of what He has done. Given His impressive credentials why would we want to embrace attachments to our faith? That is, why would we resort to rules and regulations and religious laws to attain God’s approval? God has only approved of Christ for He is well pleased with Him and said so. (Mark 1:11) Paul’s point is clear; we only need that which God is pleased with and that means doing all to appropriate Jesus by faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2) Jesus is the genesis of our faith and He will be the end of it; there is nothing in between. He must be given the preeminence.
This then is how Paul sets up his epistle to the Church at Colossae. He will now address, in the next section of the book, the problems afflicting this church. We should all meditate on these things and make Jesus the very heart and center of all that we are and do. Learn the lesson well.
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries