The Book of Colossians Survey
Pr Edi Giudetti
We naturally need a basis from which to act, just as we need a foundation from which to build. We naturally incline our motives for action or change based on that which we believe to be true and right.
We see this everywhere in life. First people believe something to be true, then based on that belief they make decisions and their actions follow as a natural consequence of those decisions made.
You might believe that a huge storm is coming in the next 24hrs, that is your doctrine, that is what you come to believe based on what you have been told. You will then make decisions based on what you know of the storm;
- Stay home for the day instead of going out.
- Bring the clothes in off the line
- or batten down the hatches and line the windows etc.
Now that is just evidence based on something you believe will come to pass temporarily. But the same effect is visible when it comes to the most important things in life. What you believe about life will change how you act in life.
- No ultimate meaning in life
- No Ultimate purpose for life
- No ultimate morality (subjective ethics)
- No Ultimate responsibility
This is the fundamental beliefs of Darwinism. That which truly underlies your faith is what you live by.
In a way, we all live by faith.
Doctrine, the foundation of things that are taught, is that which we have that underpins how we live our lives.
What we see again typical in these letters is the beginning is filled with Doctrine, teaching based on that which is absolute.
Then we have the logical application of those doctrines in how we should live consistent with them.
Within the Book of Colossians we find Paul both admonishing and warning the Colossians church not to be beguiled but to believe the truth, not to be deceived by Philosophy and the vain rudiments of men, but to believe that which is consistent with reality and life according to it.
Paul knows that another false doctrine may be taught and he is also very much aware that, on such false doctrines, false actions and behaviours will naturally follow.
So from the beginning of this letter, Paul lays the foundation from which there lives might stand.
The Work, Person and Service of Christ
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translatedusinto the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood,eventhe forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whetherthey bethrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.(Colossians 1:12-17)
In his introduction Paul gives thanks “to God the the Father of our lord Jesus Christ”as he does so often in his Epistles. Paul acknowledges all things in Christ and through Christ and does so with heavy laden doctrine throughout.
“For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel”
He says in verse 5, yet again laden with glorious doctrine in order to ensure the Colossians know the hope of the future they have secured through the truth of the Gospel.
And in verse ten he gives the wonderful reason for those doctrines he has laid out only in the introduction of his letter saying;
“10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; “
Knowing the Truth of things concerning Christ SHOULD indeed lead naturally to the consequence the apostle Paul is expecting in the Colossians, not only fruitfulness and knowledge, but also “patience and long suffering WITH joyfulness.”
Beloved that is often the first thing to depart from us when we turn from the truth of the Gospel back into the world.
But now he writes and tells them again about the one who has
“delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translatedusinto the kingdom of his dear Son:”
“In whom we have redemption through his blood,eventhe forgiveness of sins:” (14)
this same one
“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:” (15)
These are profound things, and I want you to notice the purposeful way in which Paul writes. He demonstrates to us an incredible truth in how he uses the words he chooses.
Verse 13 speaking of the Lord and saying “Who hath delivered us…”
DON’T LOOSE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THAT PHRASE!
It tells of the ACTIVE nature of God in our deliverance,and if it is actively a work of God for us, we bing the subject of the work, if GOD was ACTIVE.
Beloved Paul wants us to be clear, that we, THE SUBJECT, WE’RE PASSIVE in our salvation!
Salvation is of God
Don’t let this slip, know and understand that everything written and how it is written is designed to teach knowledge and understandingand in this case is given that we might know that it was CHRIST WHO WORKED and NOT we ourselves.
JUST IN THIS ONE PHRASE Paul puts to death the underlying doctrine of the Judaisers and the GNOSTICS of the time. Both believe that deliverance is OUR OWN EFFORT.
“Christ hath delivered us…”
Verse 14“in whom we have redemption…”
O how fruitful can we be when we know both that we are delivered by Him and in him we also have redemption through him.
Tell me what challenges cant you face if this is true? “Patience…Longsuffering…Joyfullness”, of course this is the natural fruit!
And now he gives the underlying doctrine in verse 15
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whetherthey bethrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
If there was a Christian who has been taught his faith through philosophic Gnosticism, and reading this passage, he would certainly know that it is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what he has been told. THE POSITION OF CHRIST is GOD.
He is the image of the invisible God.
he is the creator of ALL things. Where? “that are in heaven… on Earth… visible and invisible.. thrones… dominions… principalities and powers. “
Friends, that excludes the notion of the Jehovah’s False Witnesses that Jesus was an angel. They hang on the second part of verse 15 “the firstborn of every creature”but they neglect the balance of the passage that shows what this refers to in verse 18 which we shall touch on shortly.
The Gnostics do not believe that God can be physical. They held that ALL matter is evil and only the spirit is good. The notion that Christ is both physical and the creator of all things physical is contrary to their belief, it would change how they perceive reality and therefore life.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in allthingshe might have the preeminence. 19 For it pleasedthe Fatherthat in him should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him,I say, whetherthey bethings in earth, or things in heaven.
This is the service of Christ, he is the head of the Church, also known as the body of Christ. Jesus is preeminent and the Bible teaches us that he will bring the church, without spot, being washed by his blood, to the father.
Verse 20 says “Having made peace through the blood of his cross”peace? Peace with whom? The massage gives the impression of a MEDIATOR.
Friends that is exactly the service for which Jesus to fulfil. He would be the one that would make peace between God and Man through his blood on the cross.
Romans 3:25 tells us “God hath set forthto bea propitiation through faith in his blood,”
Jesus was completely quench the wrath of God on ALL who have faith through the blood of Christ. Jesus paid the ransom for sins and has become the head of the Church, the firstborn of the dead.
Take a look at the result in verse 21 of our passage
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies inyourmind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
There are times I sit there thinking to myself that “I have eternal life”…. “I…Have …Eternal… LIFE” and I have to tell you that not words nor even my mind can comprehend what an incredible thought that is.
Lunchtime yesterday I was sitting with Maria (my wife) and said, “I am just so blessed by God” and the first thing she responded with was recognising how much we don’t deserve it.
Grateful; seems like such a poor word to express our wonder and Joy over what Jesus had given to us.
Paul set up the doctrine for the Colossians that he might better warn them of turning away.
The Service, Position and Faith of the Church
› Colossians 2:4
4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord,sowalk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
Beguile’ the word means to deceive, to alter your thoughts in a way that would have you both believe and live in a way that is opposed to how you would live if you believed that which was consistent with the truth.
Notice that this deception is achieved with words, not just any words, “enticing words”.
Beloved you are never enticed by anything that does not have appeal. That which is appealing is that which is preferred, that which is not appealing is that which is not preferred.
Eve was not deceived by the serpent with words that were not enticingor appealing, what he told her was absolutely enticing, “Ye shall be as god’s”.
Who does not want to be a god? How many of these sort of preachers exist today telling people they are gods?
We have so called Christian ministers teaching their flocks they are little god’s.
The new age prophets around the world tell us their job is to let all people know that they are gods; quite incredible really, to be omniscient and not know it!
But its not just what we want to believe that entices us, its also what we don’t want to believe. I don’t know anyone personally that wants to believe in a literal hell. I DON’T WANT TO BELIEVE IN A LITERAL HELL.
And it makes it very difficult when we see people in our day to day lives who are really lovely people, friends, work colleagues, mums, dad’s, Children, siblings, people who we love and care for who are certainly going to be in hell for all eternity apart from Christ.
I don’t want to believe hell even exists let alone think my father, my sister, my cousins and most people I know will end up there. Enticing words indeed, tell me hell is not real and give me the authority for it and I may be the first to believe it.
You know what is most sad my friends? Many will find themselves in hell not because THEY DON’T believe in a literal hell, but because you don’t.
We are willing to entice our own minds with words that take away the urgency of the Gospel, as a result our Churches remain empty.
- Empty in comparison to a concert;
- Empty in comparison to a night club;
- Empty in comparison to a cinema;
Don’t count modern Churches in that picture, they are concerts/ nightclubs set to entertain rather than warn…they don’t believe in Hell either.
lest any man should beguile you with enticing words
5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord,sowalk ye in him:
“…So walk ye in him”
Paul wants them to identify, that what they believe should translate from their hearts to their heals.They should be walking in that way which they claim to believe.
I mean, shouldn’t we? Is this not the very least of the SERVICE of the Church, to walk in Christ?
As we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, shouldn’t we be living that way? Is there something unreasonable in Paul’s command to the Church?
If all the world is living and serving its flesh in direct accordwith what they believe, shouldn’t we also? Or are we the only ones who should serve our flesh inconsistent with our faith?
Are we rightly called hypocrites?
As we read Paul’s letter the only comfortwe should take from it is that we are not the only ones found to be this way…but please know that this is not a comfort that we should rest in!
Paul goes on to say in verse 8;
8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
The Authority for all philosophies and vain deceits are after the traditions of men and the rudiments (Principals) of the world.
The Authority of the truth is after Christ. Why? because in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
How can the notions of the worlds philosophies even begin to compare to the wisdom of God?
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen withhimthrough the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
This is the position of the Church, “Complete in him”, the one who is the head of ALL principality and power, it is in him the Church is complete.
Verse 11, the circumcisionspoken of and that which was to represent an identity of the people of God, was a circumcisionof the heart.
Rom 2:29 and circumcisionis thatof the heart, in the spirit,andnot in the letter; whose praiseisnot of men, but of God.
The position of the Church is buried with him in Baptism, and risen with him through the faith of the operation of God.
This is the position of the Church and if that is not clear enough Paul goes on further to explain;
13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 Andhaving spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Paul will go on shortly to explain why it is so important that the CHurch knows her position in Christ. First that she understands that prior to Christ we were dead, dead in trespass and sins. Dammed, dammed to the judgement from which all the devils will take their seats.
But we sand here positionally have been forgiven all our trespasses, the handwriting of the Law that was against us is blotted out. Understand the clarity of the text, its says in verse 14 that these Ordinances (The Law) was contrary to us, that which is contrary is not for us, but against us, this is that Law which was taken out of the way and nailed to the cross of Christ.
Certain that we forget everything that was once agains the us personally. If we perhaps truly understood what we have escaped I don’t think we would take our faith so timidly, I think we would care more for those we care for!
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbathdays: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the bodyisof Christ. 18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
You see if what Paul has just written concerning the Position of the Church is true, then to be judged for what we eat, drink, keeping holydays(Holidays) or moons of of the sabbath days or any special feast, anything we are meant to do or not do on given days etc.
None of these are requirements for salvation nor are they commands to retain salvation. Paul is addressing what was beginning to be common place in those days and that was a return to ordinances.
Last we saw this was in the book of Galatians.
Now we see it again in Colossians but added to this is a dangerous endeavour where there is a overt focus on the worship of angels, but he also notes “intruding into those things which he hath not seen”an effort which leads to pride and not humility.
A good picture here of the modern church, particularly the Charismatic variety, where there are many who see visions, dream dreams, have a word from the Lord, see and fear angels or devils. These think themselves “Chosen”, some even go as far as to say they are “apostles” of the new millenium.
An over emphasis on the angelic realm is not what we are called to do or mess with. Jude gives the greatest and clearest condemnation of that saying;
8 Likewise also thesefilthydreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. 10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. 12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: cloudsthey arewithout water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
When I first read this passage I was struck by how well I could relate to the passage. It was like Jude was addressing the very Church I spent the first eleven years of my Christian life in. cloudsthey arewithout water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
This speaks to their pride and the absolute lack of substance to their puffed up words and speeches.
Beloved it is faith that has saved us and it is that same faith that will help us grow.
Paul concludes chapter two asking them;
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
Live in your faith, trust him enough to obey the commands of the Lord in love and faith. This is what true faithfulness is, not obeying to become or remain saved, but now having the freedom to obey by faith.
The Principals, Precepts and Relation of the Christian
1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ,who isour life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
“If ye then be risen with Christ”The logical principal that underlies the entire life of the Christian in that his outlook is consistent with his position.
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above”There is a logical focus of your life that is to be consistent with the principal of your life that is seperate and distinct from the life you lived when you were dead.
“If then ye be risen with Christ, seek those things what are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God”Now being truly alive in Christ (risen) we should be dead to those things in which we once lived.
It always startles me when Christians believe life to be enjoyed in the things that kept them bound, they have been risen from that dead way and should seek to live consistent with the new life.
In verse two Paul makes sure you don’t miss the point; “2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
And he explains why in verse 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God
And he gives the motive for it in verse 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Not a moment after the lord appears to you, either when the trumpet sounds or when death comes, then will come to mind all that you have lived for. The clarity of the glory you have inherited will be so filled with understanding, you will wonder why you spent ANY time seeking those things of Earth.
My desire is that the lists of regret for us will be short.
Paul now gives the precepts we should hold to if the glorious life that has NO regret is to be attained, the value of you consideration of these precepts is INFINITE.
5 Mortify(Kill) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
Kill these things Paul says, you once WALKED in them, you LIVED in them, and true because this was your natural state, you SERVED them and they MASTERED you.
But now a CHOICE is before you to Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. O how many times I have prayed that I would not have to choose!
Why could it not be just as impossible to sin when saved as was to live a holy life when lost?
Because our entire life now is to choose to live by daily by faith.
Paul goes on in verse 8 giving us precepts on what we should put off before he tells us what we need to replace it with.
8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the newman, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Again, living life with all these things evident in our lives anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, lieing to each other,all this is inconsistent with a biblical Christian, one who is “Born again”.
But please understand that all of these things are occasioned in our lives by that for which we have our affection.
If on things on the Earth, these things will be evident in our lives.
If on things above, these things wont appear.
Most of us are between the two outlooks.
The Principals, the Precepts and now The Relation
Our lives are to relate to that which we are now born into, a new life, dead to the old, a Life that reflects the Change made within if you are born again.
I must admit to you that I have a terrible burden here as I preach this message. Many will be looking at this list and thinking “Ok, so i need to do this and do that to be a Christian”
NO! You need to be born again to be a Christian!
Paul is showing the life that is lived consistent with BEING born again, Dead to Sin and alive in Christ.
But he also recognises that Christians fall back into setting their affections on Earth and not on the Lord, falling back into behaving like the world and evidently indistinct from the world yet being miserable in the world because they are not of the world!
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so alsodoye. 14 And above all these thingsput oncharity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
And be ye thankful
I think that wonderfully presents how we should live every day.
Imagine as you live setting your affections above, how that will change living here! Everyday being thankful.
If we truly knew that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to then who are the called according to his purpose” and we set our affections on things above and not on Earth, we would truly live thankful lives.
If we believed what we say we believe, our lives would be full, we would live content and willing to share of the hope that we have, able to answer all who would ask us of the evident hope we have in our lives.
Paul concludes the book with relationships, who we are to live with each other
18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 19 Husbands, loveyourwives, and be not bitter against them. 20 Children, obeyyourparents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. 21 Fathers, provoke not your childrento anger, lest they be discouraged. 22 Servants, obey in all thingsyourmasters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:
Paul addresses Masters and their relationship in the beginning of Chapter four until his salutation at the close of the book.
I want you to consider verses 18 to 22 and I would like you to notice that in each case our natural tendency is the opposite.
There is never a need to command things we are inclined to do naturally, but always commanded to do those things we don’t do naturally.
- Wives submitting to Husbands
- Husbands loving your wives
- Children obeying parents
- Servants obeying masters
- …did I miss one?
- Fathers provoke not your Children
In Short, live a life consistent with the doctrine you have believed, and be thankful.