Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | February 3, 2007

Colossians – Part 21

What would you do if your closest friend or relative joined a satanic cult? 

Colossians – Part 21: Conclusion 

1.  Where is the city of Colossae located?

2.  How should perform all our actions?Col 3:17

We are going to read to whole letter to the Colossians. 

While in prison the Apostle Paul receives a report that the new Church plant in Colossae is being plagued by false teaching.  Paul has never visited the Colossians, the Church was started by a faithful follower Epaphras probably from Ephesus.  Although Paul had never seen or met the believers at Colossae, as a faithful servant and minister of the Gospel he begins to write a letter to correct the errors that were defrauding the Church.  As we can see from Paul’s response the errors were probably caused by an attempt to integrate the surrounding Greek beliefs into the Christian faith.  These errors included a view of reality that taught that all matter or physical things were evil and only non-physical or spiritual things were good.  The true God did not create the world, which was polluted with physical things.  He used a hierarchy of angelic beings to accomplish this, of which, included the God of the Old Testament who was seen as an enemy to the true children of light.  This information was only accessible through secret revelations made known to special highly “spiritual” people.  Jesus was nothing more than a good angel who was sent down to reveal this information to a select few people.  The fact that he took on physical flesh lowered him on the hierarchy of angelic beings.  He did not give this information to all of the apostles, but only a select few who would then only reveal it to the most qualified or “spiritual” Christian.  Christian’s became “spiritual” through their own efforts, which included denial of marriage, a strict diet of only the basic minimums needed to survive, and celebration of certain ceremonies and holy days.  All these things would qualify the Christian to obtain the secret knowledge and wisdom revealed by angelic beings or other highly “spiritual” people.  Ultimatly salvation was to be freed from the body, which was viewed as a prison for the spirit, and to gain access to the real world, the spiritual world. 

After the initial greetings, Paul begins to correct this false teaching by describing the true preeminent (greatest or most excellent) position that Christ truly possesses.  Christ is described as the true God who created all things in heaven and on earth.  Thus, if the true God created all things then physical things cannot be evil in and of themselves.  Christ is described as the head of the Church who became man for our salvation and was the first one to experience the resurrection.  This resurrection was not liberation from the body into a spirit form, but the possession a new glorified body free from limitations caused by the fall (aging, fatigue, hunger, disease etc).  Christ is described as the true Redeemer who has provided peace with God through His sacrifice on the cross.  This peace has delivered us from being enemies with God immersed in sin into being His children forgiven and made holy by the righteousness given to us by Christ.  After establishing the glorious position that Christ should have, above all other angels, powers or principalities, Paul indicates that all revelation, knowledge and wisdom are found only in Him.  He indicates what a true understanding of Christ looks like and indicates the status we enjoy united by faith in Him, which is true salvation.  As a result of this status, Paul then identifies how we should respond because of these privileges in the way we live our life.  Our lives, which have been transferred from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of God, must also undergo a transfer from the old to the new self.  Paul then describes how the new self should look like in the world, the family and the work place.  Thus, he affirms the sanctity of marriage, families and work life as noble tasks in this world.    

3. Who is the central character in this letter?

4.  In what ways does Paul say He is central?

5.  When reading the letter did you hear other words repeated?

6.  Do you think these words were used intentionally for the benefit of the Colossians?

That ye receive him:  “Let us, however, observe, that they were careful in furnishing attestations, that they might distinguish good men from false brethren – from pretenders, from imposters, and multitudes of vagrants.  The same care is more than simply necessary at the present day, both because good teachers are coldly received, and because credulous and foolish men lay themselves too open to be deceived by imposters.”  John Calvin, Commentary on Colossians 

7.  What is the true mystery?  Who possesses “all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom”?

8.  Why do we have freedom in Christ?

9.  What is being hidden in Christ?

10. How does Paul order the commands (imperatives) for our lives in the letter?  Is it after knowing our status (indicative) or in order to achieve our status?

11.  What characterizes the life of the new self?  What type of behavior is described?

12.  What should richly dwell within us?  What benefit does this have?

13.  Why is it surprising the Paul had good things to say about Mark? – Acts 15:36-40

14.  What doctor authored one of the four Gospels?  (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John)

Luke saluteth you:  “When he speaks of the Church which was in the house of Nymphas, let us bear in mind, that, in the instance of one household, a rule laid down as to what it becomes all Christian households to be – that they be so many little Churches.  Let every one, therefore, know that this charge is laid upon him – that he is to train up his house in the fear of the Lord, to keep it under a holy discipline, and, in fine, to form in the likeness of a Church.” John Calvin, Commentary on Colossians 

15.  How many other letters did Paul write in the Bible?

16.  How did Paul become a Christians?

17.  What was he doing before he was converted?


 

Answers to Colossians 21: 

  1. Colossae is located in modern day Turkey
  2. According to Colossians 3:17, in whatever we do either in speech or action it should all be done in the name of the Lord Jesus while giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
  3. The central character throughout this entire letter is Jesus Christ.
  4. As Paul writes to the Colossians, Christ was central in creation, He is central in holding the universe together, He is head of the Church, He is central in our salvation, and He should be central in all the things that we do.  All of these things in one way or another the false teachers were devaluing and minimizing the importance of Christ.
  5. As stated above, the name of Christ is repeated many times.  The term fullness is used a few times to describe that in Christ the fullness of God dwelled in bodily form.  This was necessary to correct the Colossian false teachers misunderstandings about God.  The terms mystery, “made known”, knowledge and wisdom are repeated quite often in describing the Gospel.  These were catch words for the false teacher’s who believed they alone had access to true knowledge, wisdom, and mysteries.  It appears as though, Paul repeats these terms to emphasize to the false teachers that their knowledge, wisdom and mysteries were not in line with the truth.
  6. Yes, it appears as if Paul strategically used these words in his response to provide a strong emphasis.
  7. Paul describes the true mystery as the good news or the Gospel of salvation that was being proclaimed to the Gentiles (non-Jews).  Formerly, the Gentiles were alienated from God and strangers to the covenants of grace given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  All true knowledge and wisdom was to be found in Christ.  The Colossian false teachers were on an endless pursuit of secret knowledge, which they thought would make them wise enough for salvation. 
  8. We have freedom in Christ, because He has completely saved us from the bondage of sin and the tyranny of the devil, which left us estranged from God.  He did this through His death on the cross and perfectly fulfilling the demands of God’s righteousness in our place.  Since He has fulfilled the law in our place, He sets us free from the burden of trying to fulfill it to save ourselves.
  9. We are hidden with Christ in God by being clothed with His perfect righteousness.  Now the Father no longer sees us stained and tainted by sin, it is hidden from Him by the righteousness of Christ, that cloths us like a garment.
  10. Paul starts the letter by correcting the errors and indicating the status we have before God.  It is from this position that we are to live according to His commands in gratitude.  This is common for all of Paul’s letters, which should prevent us from thinking that we need to fulfill commands in order to be right with God.  If that were the case, this letter, would have had a different order.
  11. The new life is characterized by the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), which include being compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, loving, forgiving, and hungry to know the Word of God.  The new self will also possess a harmonious family with husbands, wives and children all following there God ordained roles.  The new self will also be striving to be a diligent and hard working employee who finds satisfaction in the blessing of labor.   The new self will be striving to be devoted to prayer, praying especially that the Gospel would be heard by the lost and wisely engaging unbelievers seeking to be a Christ-like witness to them.
  12. The Word of Christ, or the Scriptures should richly dwell within us.  This is God’s very Words to us, thus will have a great benefit to learn and memorize.  The Word renews our minds and helps us to grow in our understanding of our glorious Creator and His amazing love for us demonstrated in our salvation.  Whatever we fill our lives with will have a strong influence on it.  This is true if you are committed to drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, sports, etc.  The new self will desire to be more like Christ, which is only possible if we are being filled with His Word.
  13. Back in Acts Paul and Barnabas parted company prior to their second missionary journey, because of Mark.  This is the Mark wrote the Gospel according to Mark.  He abandoned Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey.  Paul believed he was not worth bringing, because of his past actions.  However now we see that the relationship between them had been restored and now Paul actually praises Mark for his efforts.
  14. Luke was a physician by training.
  15. Paul wrote 12 other letters, 13 including this one.  Some in the early Church also believed he wrote the letter to the Hebrews, which would make 14 total letters.  However, many today do not believe he wrote Hebrews.
  16. Paul became a Christian on the road to
    Damascus, which you can read in Acts 9.  He was knocked off his horse and seen a vision of the risen Lord.

  17. Prior to becoming a Christian, Paul was a zealous Pharisee who persecuted the Church vigorously.  He was actually headed to Damascus to arrest Christians 

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