Week 12 – Colossians 4:2-18 “How to Pray, Walk and Talk”

I’m almost overcome with amazement at the timing of God in our lives with events upon the earth and the study of the scriptures. You and I live in a very different climate than we did this time last week. Our Supreme Court made a ruling that signifies a profound change within the landscape of our day. Now more than ever, friends, we must be alert and watching for the return of our Savior. Now more than ever, we must be diligent to serve Him and make the most of every opportunity we have to share the Good News. Now, more than ever, we must love with a love that costs us everything. Over the past week that I have been studying these scriptures in Colossians 4, God has given me several opportunities to encourage people with these very words. There is profound insight to be gained as we close our study on Colossians here in week 12. I pray that Paul’s words will fall on good soil today. We live in, I believe, such a very significant hour on God’s Kingdom calendar. We certainly live in a weighty time in God’s calendar concerning the United States of America. No time has ever been more important for His Bride to wake up and go to work in the harvest fields. In 6 months, friends, I believe with everything in me that we will be living in very different circumstances as Believers. Wake up today, be alert, the Lord is coming soon!   Please open your bibles to Colossians 4:2-18. Here is the link to your notes and 5 days of homework:   Col PN 4.2-18

Colossians 4:2

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

  1. Pray steadfastly with thanks, being alert

From the Greek definition of “Steadfastly in Prayer”:

Pray Steadfastly

to adhere TO PRAYER, to be devoted TO PRAYER

to be steadfastly attentive TO PRAYER, to give unremitting care TO PRAYER

to continue all the time in PRAYER

to persevere and not to faint IN PRAYER

to show one’s self courageous for PRAYER

to be in constant readiness for PRAYER, wait on constantly IN PRAYER

Greek Definition: “Be Watchful in Prayer”

to keep awake, spiritual alertness, be vigilant; to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one

This definition just gets me!  Keep awake, be alert, be vigilant in prayer.  There are things that we must fight for in prayer.  Our enemy is coming at us with a force we have not yet seen.  He intends to undo the very fabric of our society with intense deception.   Also, our God will send judgement on a nation that will not cease turning her back on Him.  It is His way, He is mighty and Holy and is incredibly patient.  He sends warning after warning to nations who pridefully shove Him away.  It is highly likely that there will be calamity after calamity that befalls the USA unless we pray.  PRAY!!!  Pray for revival among the people who call upon His Name, pray that the church would wake up and DO what God has told us to do.  Love Him with everything we have, love our neighbors as ourselves, and go out into all the world and make disciples.  None of that happens without total dependance upon God in prayer.

This same word for “be watchful” that Paul uses in verse 2 is used by Jesus here:

Matthew 24:42-43 ESV

Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.

The King James says, “Watch therefore…”

The NASB says, “Therefore be on the alert…”

If you and I will tune-in to what the Holy Spirit is saying, and how He is moving, we will have insight that we could NEVER have otherwise. He is the Helper. Oh that we would receive the help we need from Him as we pray. Lord, help us to be alert, watching, being vigilant in prayer and watching for the Lord.

The next word we see in regard to prayer is  “with Thanksgiving.”  Such a strong theme in Colossians, I believe this is the 6th time Paul commands thankfulness in 4 chapters!  Do not miss the significance of this theme of gratitude just because Paul keeps repeating it. Do not let repetition lull you to sleep; allow his repetition of calling us to thankfulness wake you up. Take heed! Be thankful!  It changes everything.

Then we go right into verses 3 & 4:

Colossians 4:3-4

At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

  1. Pray for others, for open doors for the Word, and for God’s message to be made clear by whoever is speaking it.

One of the biggest cliché’s among Christian is “When God closes one door He always opens another.” And it’s a cliché because it’s true…He does it all the time! We can trust Him! He does not leave us in the hallway forever.  But, here, Paul is asking them to join him asking the Father to make a way for the Gospel to move forward. To bring Gentiles into the fold in order to make Jews jealous (Romans 11:11), the mystery of Christ had to be made plain.

Paul needed incredible stamina and boldness in order to declare the truth, sometimes in very hostile situations. This mission is WHY he was sitting in prison. And just look at what doors opened up for YOU & I to hear the gospel message because of Paul’s willingness to serve the Lord while behind bars. If Paul had not been locked up, who knows if he would have taken the time to sit down and pen these letters the Holy Spirit spoke through him to all of us today. It’s a total wonder, and I am amazed continually at God’s providential brilliance. We are living proof of the answer to this prayer, y’all. I don’t know if that completely overwhelms you or not, but I challenge you to let it. Let God’s sovereign power engulf your mind and heart.

He is a God who calls us to pray and then delights to answer our prayers! The fact that we are called into partnership with Him astounds me. God knows everything, He knows if and when we will pray, He knows what we will say, and yet it is His joy that we call out and cry out and converse with Him continually because prayer changes US. Prayer changes things, situations, people, outcomes, timing of events, focus, and mostly it changes us. Prayer is a lifeline to the only One Who knows what is best.

Paul then asks for prayer that he would make it clear, which is how he ought to speak. I heard a lady shout out during a live-streamed sermon I was watching recently from Revive Indiana, “Make it plain, Preacher!” And you can imagine it said with the best Jesus-lovin’, southern, beautiful black woman’s voice. It was precious and it was biblical! Then the best part was the preacher looked at her and replied in a laugh, “I’m tryin’!” And it was hilarious, and it was good. She wanted clarity and he was trying to deliver it. And all the while, it was exactly what Paul was asking the Colossians to pray for him.

I want us to read Colossians 4:2-4 in The Message:

Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don’t forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I’m locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I’ll be able to make Christ plain as day to them.

Oh, Lord Jesus, help us live our lives in a way that makes Jesus plain as day to people. And speaking of how we should live, let’s go to verse 5 now.

Colossians 4:5

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.

  1. Walk in wisdom, don’t waste time, recognize opportunities to show non-believers who Jesus is

You have likely heard someone say, “You may be the only Bible someone ever reads.”  That is what I thought of when I began studying Colossians 4:5.  There is a great passage in 2 Corinthians 3 that speaks of this very idea.  We are letters from Christ Jesus to the world.  The world is literally dying without Him, and we carry the Good News within us every single day.  Oh God, that we would let our light shine among men, so that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:16).

2 Corinthians 3:2

You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.  And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Y’all – people need Jesus. America needs Jesus!!! And the only Bible many people have read or even seen is either being lived out by you…or not lived out by you. I just recently spoke to a church planter’s wife in Ft. Collins, CO and she shared with my friends and I how we could pray for this area they serve. Very, very few people have a relationship with Christ Jesus. The average home price in their community is $360K and they are just as lost as the homeless people on the streets of Dallas. She, her husband, their 4 children, and Living Rock Church are the only exposure some of these people have ever had with the Gospel. They are the letter of recommendation that people can read, written by the Spirit of the Living God.  Are you?

 A.T. Robertson in Paul and the Intellectuals says,

Every occasion is an open market of opportunity for Christ. It is so easy to let opportunities slip by unused. John A. Broadus used to say that opportunity was like a fleet horse that pauses for one moment by one’s side. If you fail to mount him in that moment, you can hear the clatter of his hoofs down the corridor of time. That opportunity is gone forever. One has to pay for what he buys in the open market when others bid for the privilege.

“It will sometimes cost selfish ease, personal convenience, comfort, reputation, money; in any case, in every case, however, they are to pay the price, purchase for themselves the opportunity, and save their unsaved neighbors or friends.” (Alexander)

 We live in a world of lost souls drowning in a sea of lies. Yet, we have the greatest news of all human history. Is it worth the loss of our ease to share the Good News with someone today. But, we have been trained by the world of political correctness to keep our mouths shut. And look where we are…mouths shut in fear of offending, few bringing the Good News for decades, God continually being asked to leave our schools and government offices, trading the truth about God for lies. Oh God have mercy on us! Oh God, make US the letters of recommendation for Your Great Name! Help us, Lord! Give us opportunities today to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with someone, and give us the guts to stick our foot in the stirrup grab the saddle horn and swing up on the back of that horse of opportunity.

Our time is so short, we MUST make the most of every opportunity. Get outside the safe walls of our churches and engage people in life. Show them Jesus, take Jesus to the outsiders so they can become insiders!

Colossians 4:6

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

  1. Speak graciously, know how to answer anyone who questions you

If we are going to make the most of our opportunities with unbelievers, then we must speak graciously, seasoned with salt so that we can know how to answer each person.  One commentary I read says that “seasoned with salt” is a metaphor for Christians giving a powerful and attractive testimony to non-Christians.  Let’s look at what Jesus said in Matthew 5:13:

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

The commentary in the ESV Global Study Bible says, “As salt is beneficial in a number of ways (preservative and seasoning, etc.) so are disciples of Jesus who influence the world for good.”

It may feel at times that the message of Jesus Christ is being trampled under people’s feet in the world today, especially in our country.  But, remember what Jesus said to us!  We are the salt of the earth.  If those of us who are willing to stand up and be counted as a follower of Jesus Christ, unwavering in our faith will be worth our salt.  Oh how I pray that more and more of us will!

Now, let’s look at “knowing how to answer each person.”

1 Peter 3:13-17 ESV

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?  But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

If you are worth your salt, and you do take a stand for Jesus, chances are that you will be questioned at some point. Now, since we live in the belt buckle of the Bible Belt, it is unlikely that any of us have faced much questioning and certainly unlikely that we’ve faced persecution in the past. However, I believe wholeheartedly that days are coming in which we will. I believe that we will face more and more questioning and persecution as time progresses in the climate of our culture. I believe that you and I will need excessive wisdom and grace with which to answer those who question our faith and our stance for what the Bible says. We must return to the truth of Colossians 4 and 1 Peter 3:15. We must be prepared! And how do we prepare? We pray. We watch and we pray. We walk in wisdom making the most of every opportunity and we speak with grace.

Let’s look at one more verse in 1 Peter 4:7:

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

I heard a sermon by Francis Chan in January from the Passion Conference in Houston where he taught this passage.  Look at what 1 Peter 4:7 is saying.  We usually think of prayer as a means to an end.  Prayer is the means when we say “God, come fix this or that” and whatever situation He intervenes within is the end.  This passage totally flips our understanding of that.  1.  Realize the end of all thing is near, 2. be self-controlled, 3. be sober-minded FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR PRAYERS.  Your prayer life and my prayer life are dependent upon our understanding of the urgent day we live in, our self-control and our minds being clear and  sober SO THAT OUR PRAYER life can be effective!  Prayer is the point.  Our conversations with God are being stored up in golden bowls.  Our conversations with other people who follow Jesus are being recorded!  Listen to this:

Malachi 3:16

Then those who feared the Lordspoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name.

Just wow.  Oh, y’all, let’s pray like we’ve never prayed before!  It will be worth it!  He longs to pour out His Spirit upon us in these last days.  Do not let 2015 be the year where you do not experience Him or have His power in your life because you did not ask Him.  He is a good Father, Who knows how to give good gifts to His children!

  1. Be encouraged, give thanks, and spur one another on in this walk following Christ Jesus. We are in this thing together, side-by-side, the family of God.

 Colossians 4:7-8

Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, 

Who: He gets mentioned in Acts 20:4, Ephesians, Colossians, Titus, and 2 Timothy.

What: He’s a beloved brother, faithful minister & fellow servant in the Lord

Why: to update them about Paul and to encourage their hearts

Colossians 4:9

and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.

Who: Onesimus;  Do you know how it is when there is a story with too many details to casually mention. I feel like Paul is saying that here with the subject of Onesimus. It’s as if he can’t get into that right now, it would take him another chapter and he doesn’t have time, he’s pressed in his heart to write a letter to Philemon directly so that Onesimus can get on with his life as a follower of Christ Jesus. I want to know what took place there! Don’t you?! What kind of conversion story must Onesimus have?

What: he’s a faithful and beloved brother, he is a Colossian

Why: he and Tychicus will tell them the whole story

Colossians 4:10a 

Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you,

Who: Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. Acts 19:29, 20:4, 27:2, and in Philemon he’s mentioned

What: he’s in prison alongside Paul

Why: he wants to greet these brothers and sisters he’s never met

Colossians 4:10b

and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him),

Who: Mark the cousin of Barnabas; not the same Mark the Apostle who wrote the Gospel. Not the Mark whom Paul and Barnabas sharply disagreed over in Acts 15:37-39. Philemon 1:24 mentions him as well amongst this same group with Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke.

What: they received instructions to welcome him if he comes

Colossians 4:11 

and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me.

Who: It’s the only mention of Jesus, called Justus in God’s Word

What: He and Mark, Barnabas’ cousin are the only Jewish Believers with Paul

Why: They have been a comfort to Paul

Colossians 4:12-13 

Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis.

Who: Epaphras, he’s mentioned in Chapter 1, here and in Philemon

What: He is always struggling on behalf of the Church in Colossae in his prayers; Paul has witnessed his hard work on behalf of them and those in Laodicea and Hierapolis

Why: So that they may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.

Colossians 4:14 

Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.

Who: Luke, mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24, the book of Acts chapter 16 when it turns from “they” to “we”, Luke is the narrator for the 1st 15 chapters then becomes an eyewitness in ch.16

Who #2: Demas – mentioned also in Philemon, but by the time Paul wrote 2 Timothy 4:10, “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.”

What: They send greeting to the Church in Colossae

Colossians 4:15-16

Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.  And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 

Who: Laodicea is mentioned in 2:1, 4:13-16, Revelation 1:11, 3:14. Nypha is only mentioned here in the Bible. She hosted the church in Laodicea is all we know. Paul sent a letter there, but it was not preserved.

What: Read this letter to the Colossians, then send it to be read to the Church in Laodicea, then read the Laodicean letter in the Colossian Church as well.

Colossians 4:17 

And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

Who: Archippus. In Philemon 1:2b, “…and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:

Why: He is encouraging and propelling Archippus into the ministry that he received from the Lord.

Colossians 4:18 

I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

Paul wants them to remember his chains.

Hebrews 13:3

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American pastor imprisoned in Iran for sharing the Gospel.  Follow his story here:

https://www.facebook.com/PrayForPastorSaeedAbedini?fref=ts

Remember the persecuted Believers around the world in prayer; remember those who are experiencing hardship for the sake of the Gospel.

Open Doors:  https://www.opendoorsusa.org

Voice of the Martyrs:  http://www.persecution.com/public/newsroom.aspx

As you consider the magnitude of weight this message today holds, be sober-minded and self-controlled for the sake of your prayers.  For the sake of your prayers, realize that the end is near.  Do not waste time, sisters.  Do not be about your own business, be about your Father’s business.  And realize this, when He walks into a room (and He delights to do that when you ask Him in prayer) everything changes.  His power is overwhelming, His grace is astounding, His mercy triumphs, and His love cures.  He is worthy of our very lives poured out as an offering, let that sink in as you listen and worship today…

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Week 11 – Colossians 3:18-4:1 “Life at Home, according to The Lord”

God is a God of order and wonder. He is a God who brings our chaos back into order. Our homes are no exception. He has a divine desire over our homes, as believers, and Paul gives straight-forward answers to how life is to run at home, according to the Lord.

What we studied in all of Colossians 3 thus far is THE PERFECT set-up for how households should run in the faith! Do you remember discussing how we are to put off the old self and put on the new self?

Back in April of 2014, we had a women’s prayer meeting at my church.  My assignment was to pray for families.  I had just begun my study of Colossians then, and the Lord laid Colossians 3:12-16 on my heart to pray for families.

You remember, it tells us to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bear with one another, forgive and love so that you will be bound together in perfect harmony. Let the Peace of Christ rule in your hearts, be thankful, let God’s Word dwell in you richly, teach & admonish one another with singing with thankful hearts to God, and do everything as though you represent Christ Jesus.  What I did not realize at the time I was praying these scriptures over families was that the very next verses are instructions for Christian households!  God’s order is perfect and beautiful and He knows how to instruct us in ways that are for our good.

Here are your notes and homework for this week:  Col PN 3.18-4.1

Here in our scriptures today starting in Colossians 3:18, Paul goes directly to men and women as it relates to marriage. Marriage is the representation on earth as our heavenly relationship is with God.  He, in all His infinite God-ness chose to call us, as the body of Christ, also the Bride of Christ.

Isaiah 54:5

For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.

Let’s look closely at the husband and wife relationship and the divine order in which God instructs us to live.

1 Corinthians 11:3 ESV

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

Husbands and wives are a picture of the unity and diversity that is found in the Trinity.

Wayne Grudem (Systematic Theology) says of marriage, “

We see, not a trinity as with God, but at least a remarkable unity of two persons, persons who remain distinct individuals yet also become one in body, mind and spirit.

God’s word tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:16 and Ephesians 5:31 that the two shall become one flesh.  Men and women have distinct and different roles yet equal in value.  We see this unity among the Trinity exemplified when Jesus speaking in John 16: 12-15:

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

I love how within the Godhead, 3 in 1, there is beautiful and perfect unity.   3 distinct persons, 3 distinct roles, 1 in unity.

1 Corinthians 15:27-28 NLT

For the Scriptures say, “God has put all things under his authority.” (Of course, when it says “all things are under his authority,” that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.)  Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.

Col 3:18

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

  1. It is fitting in the Lord for a wife to submit under her husband. (Col 3:18)

The ESV Global Study Bible notes,

It was typical in Roman households to tell wives to “obey.” Paul appeals to them to submit, based on his conviction that men have a God-given leadership role in the family. However, Paul is not simply telling wives to follow the cultural patterns of the day; he tells them to live as is fitting in the Lord.

The word used here for “submit” in the Greek is primarily a military term which means:  to rank under; to be in subjection to; submitting yourself

I want to appeal to you about the place of  submission:

  • It is a place of protection
  • It is a place of support
  • It is a place of help
  • It is a place of partnership
  • It is a place of good order & effectiveness

We have all of these things when a military operation is in effect. We are called not to exist as families who follow Christ; we are called to battle. If we want to be effective at winning the world for Jesus we must be unified as the body of Christ, and under that heading we must be unified within the family. God did not leave us to wonder how we can be unified within the family. He, through Paul’s words to the Colossians, tells us exactly how in these verses!

So, let’s take a look back in Genesis at how this all began…

Read Genesis 2:16-25, 3:1-7

Eve was not there when God gave the commandment about the tree ; she was created after He told Adam the rules (Genesis 2:16-18). So, in order to sin, Eve had to:

  1. Doubt her husband
  2. Doubt God

Because of temptation of beauty, taste for food, desire for more wisdom and knowledge of good and EVIL (up to this point there was no evil, up to this encounter she had never ever been exposed to evil, yet it lured her in), she left the protective covering of her husband and God. She was lured into believing she could take authority that she had no business carrying.  And it was for her destruction, and it was for Adam’s destruction, and it was for our destruction.

3 things about Adam’s role:

  1. He did not love his wife enough to protect her from the lies of the enemy
  2. He did not love his wife enough to defend her against the enemy
  3. He listened to his voice of his wife above the voice of God

Adam sat back in the submissive role and allowed Eve to take the leadership role, and  we have been reaping the destruction of this fall ever since.  When we defy God’s authority, when we leave His boundaries of order and protection, we then spiral headlong into chaos.  Chaos is what you and I witness in families daily as we interact in this fallen world.  God’s ways bring chaos back into order!  Praise His Name!

Ephesians 5:22-24

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

1 Peter 3:1-2 Amplified Bible

In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives, when they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him—to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband].

Hear me when I say this: This message is COUNTER-CULTURAL. If you want to live according to God’s Word, the world around will not understand it. This verse contains so much of my testimony of how God has changed me and made this such a beautiful reality in my life and in my marriage. But, as we get ready to celebrate 7 years of marriage in July, I will tell you that I did not always respect or defer to my husband. I was infected with a disease that slowly crept its way into my psyche as a church-going and Jesus-professing young woman.

This idea of feminism has plagued and infected our society so severely that, as women today, we have to literally THROW AWAY everything we’ve been taught from our culture about how men and women relate to one another, especially in dating and marriage.

It’s this super-weird dichotomy created where we are so insecure and so deprived of Godly leadership in our homes that little girls are dying to have the attention of men.  AND, at the very same time, we are raised to desire to rule over men and take charge of our own lives/careers/finances, etc. in order to prove we don’t need them!

We want them to notice us and desire us, and we are taught by our culture to use the power and influence we have (typically sexual in nature) so that we can rule over them.

I know all this because I lived this reality for 28 years. God flat-out wrecked me in October of 2010. Leading up to a conference called True Woman, where I had been partnering with the Revive our Hearts ministry who put on the conference. I had been fervently praying Isaiah 6, that the women who came to True Woman would so encounter the Lord’s glory that it would change everything. I asked the Lord to fill the Ft. Worth Convention Center with the train of His robe, that all who needed healing in any way would have to do nothing more than reach out and touch the hem of His robe. I prayed for such a mighty move of God that women would be marked forever by their encounter with Him. That we would be changed because we see Him as He is.

Oh He did it, alright!

And I was the one who received 100 fold of everything I had prayed.

I heard Mary Kassian speak about true womanhood according to the Bible and how vast a chasm separated that from the feministic culture in which I was raised. I could not stand or even sit with the weight of what God showed me that night. Her message included a story of a girl who could easily have been me she described. I had the same stry. She might as well have said, in that group of 8000+ women, “Hey, Sharla Robertson, I’m going to tell your story – but I’ll change the name to protect your privacy.” It did not feel like she protected my privacy. But, I was exposed.

And, though I know I would have died had my God not held back the fullness of His glory; it felt like the fullness was upon me and I was undone. As soon as she called for a time of confession and prayer at the end; I ran to the prayer room. When I got to the 3rd row of chairs from the back I fell to the floor and wept. I was not a big crier before then, and I was definitely not super emotional – just cool, calm, in control, that was me.

And He wrecked my pride that night.

And He wrecked my coolness.

And He wrecked my wretched desire to rule over my husband.

And He wrecked my driven-ness to be successful according to this world.

I encountered the One True God, and though I had known who He was all my life, I had received Him as my Savior at age 9, I had read my bible and wanted to love Him more and desired to serve Him…it had ALL been tainted by a very skewed view of what I thought my life was about or should be about. Really, honestly it was still all about me. Jesus was for me, and I was for Him being for me.

After that night at True Woman ’10, I was now for Jesus. Period. And I was different. I was ready to obey Him for real now. I was ready to take up my cross and follow Him. And my life for the past 5.5 years has been excessively blessed because He did not leave me in my wrongness and filth. He made me new.

I’m convinced that Colossians 3:19 will not make sense to any American woman until she has a right view of herself in view of a Holy God.

When we see Him as He is -> We then see ourselves as we should.

We then trust His ways are right, and it becomes our joy to do what is fitting in the Lord.

Col 3:19 

Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

  1. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. (Col 3:19)

Growing up, all I had seen modeled in my home was a husband who was harsh with his wife. I am so glad for a redeeming God who is the most brilliantly perfect Bridegroom. No matter what you have experienced, no matter what horrible human example has infected your belief about marriage or how a husband should treat his wife, your God and my God can redeem your heart and your mind with the truth.

The ESV Global Study Bible says,

Violence, threats, and unkind words are not acceptable in the Christian household.

Ephesians 5:25-33

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,  because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Jesus is the perfect husband.   We’re going to study this in Day 1 of our homework. I love how husbands need look no further than our Savior to find out how God wants wives loved in the home of the Believer. He cares deeply about how his children dwell together.

Col 3:20 

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

  1. It pleases the Lord for Children to obey their parents in everything (col 3:20)

The Greek word used here for OBEY is: “to listen, attend” and so “to be obedient”; harken to a command.

This is a completely different word than is used for wives. Submitting implies a willful act of placing oneself under authority; with children and parents they are under the authority and are to act accordingly by listening and being obedient to what they hear.

Ephesians 6:1-3

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),  “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (ref. Exodus 20:12)

As children, it is for our good to obey our parents. Rebellion brings destruction in families. God’s ways are right!

Col 3:21 

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged

  1. Fathers can either instill courage into or discourage their children (Col 3:21)

Have you ever seen this played out in real life? Sons whose father cannot be pleased will spend their life trying to be exactly like their father in order to gain approval.  Daughters who feel their Dads do not connect or are emotionally absent will end up rebelling and seeking comfort with other men in destructive ways.

The ESV Global Study Bible:

A father’s negative emotions and actions can cause a child to be discouraged.

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

God’s word says instead for Fathers to bring their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, instead of discouraging them. Give them what they need, encourage them in the Lord!

Col 3:22 

Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.

  1. Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with sincere hearts, fearing the Lord. (Col 3:22)

The idea of being a bondservant in our day is quite a foreign thing to us as Americans. We have seen the horrors of hurt and anguish plaguing the human race since the days of true slavery in the U.S. You and I witness, all too often, different people groups carrying scars and very serious wounds from generations ago, for their kinsmen who were mistreated in the worst of ways. The Bible absolutely speaks against human trafficking and slavery in 1 Timothy 1:10.

But, we can apply the principles in Colossians 3:22-4:1 to the employer-employee relationships in our lives today. Listen to the historical context in which bondservants worked in the 1st century when Paul is writing.

Notes from 1 Corinthians 7:21 in the ESV study bible:

Being a bondservant in NT times was different from the institution of slavery in North America during the 17th-19th centuries. Slaves (bondservants, servants) generally were permitted to work for pay and to save enough to buy their freedom (Matt 25:15 where the “servants” were entrusted with immense amounts of $ and responsibility). The NT assumes that trafficking in human beings is a sin (1 Tim 1:10, Rev 18:11-13), and Paul urges Christian bondservants who can gain…freedom to do so . The released bondservant to officially designated a “freedman” and frequently continued to work for his form master.

 And now, notes from Ephesians 6:5, in the same ESV Study Bible:

It is estimated that slaves (or bondservants) composed about 1/3 of the population of a city like Ephesus. They were considered part of a family, so Paul’s instructions for bondservants were a natural part of his dealing with family relationships. Paul does not endorse the existing system of servitude. Instead, he provides instructions to believing masters and bondservants regarding their relationship to each other in the Lord, and how this should be lived out within the bounds of their social and legal culture. The principles in this passage apply today in terms of submission to any lawful authority, unless it requires a believer to disobey God’s Word or to fundamentally compromise one’s commitment to Christ (Acts 4:19,20) with a sincere heart. Fulfilling one’s obligations is service to the Lord (Eph 6:6-7)

Eph 6:5-9 is the parallel section to Colossians 3 on bondservants and masters:

Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,  not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

The next verses in Colossians 3 tie this all together.  What I want us to be aware of is that we will undoubtedly encounter difficult people in dealing with family, friends, strangers, church members, and co-workers.  As we deal with people, whomever they are, we are to understand that God expects our sincerity of heart;  He expects us to do good to all people.

Colossians 3:23-25 

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

  1. Work for the Lord, not for men.   He is the one who can truly reward you. You reap what you sew, so serve the Lord. (Col 3:23-25)

We studied v.17 of Colossians 3 last week:

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Now, let’s take look at Revelation 22:12-14,

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.

In Day 4 homework, we’ll discuss what we actually all deserve and how much Grace God gives in that He does NOT give us what we deserve when we are in Christ Jesus.

God does not respect masters more than bondservants.  He does not play favorites.  He prefers not the husband over the wife or the children over the parents.  We all have distinct and different roles we are called to, yet we are all equal in value to the Father.  Our God judges our hearts.  He is the One who either rewards us for what is right in our lives and allows us to reap what we sew if we do wrong.

Galatians 6:7-10

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Do not grow weary in doing good to your spouse.  Do not grow weary in doing good to your employer or employees, your mother, your cousin, your brothers and sisters in Christ, or your friends.  And in the same way, we know that God tells us to do good to those who do not believe!  We are to do good to all people, even our enemies, because in ALL things and in ALL relationships, when we are in Christ – we represent Him.

Colossians 4:1

Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

  1. If you are in charge, be just and fair, knowing you have a Master in Heaven who is in charge of you. (Col 4:1)

Our parallel verse in Ephesians 6:9

Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

If you hold a leadership position in any capacity, it is your responsibility to act justly and fairly to those subject to your decision-making. It is a privilege to have a leadership role; we should treat it accordingly.

There is a phenomenal segment of God’s Word where Jesus is teaching in Luke 12:35-48.  If you have the opportunity to follow-up with reading it today, I assure you it will be well worth it.  It ties these concepts we’ve discussed today up brilliantly, as only Jesus can.  We will end our time today with Luke 12:48b:

Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Our homes are to be places of refuge and unity, effective ministry and joy; places where we work out this faith that God has called us to.  Remember that the reality we live in today is a mere shadow of the things to come.  Regard the Lord in your distinct role in your home, whomever you are and wherever you are.  You are valuable to Him.  It will be for your good and the good of everyone around you.  As you enter this time of worship, I pray the Lord, who is the only King Who would ever love us enough to leave His throne, will reveal His beautiful design to you today!

Week 10 – Colossians 3:12-17 “Because You are Chosen, Holy, and Beloved, Live This Way…”

It’s week 10 in our study of the Book of Colossians!  Welcome back!  Last week we had the session we could have called, “What NOT to Wear.” Have y’all ever seen that show on TLC?   Stacy London always picks apart the current closet of her client…THEN she gives them a $5000 gift card to buy what will be their new wardrobe.  She helps her clients to replace what is ugly, useless and tacky with what is beautiful, useful and tasteful.  Today’s session is the  “What TO Wear!” portion of Colossians 3.  Except, the worth of this new wardrobe far exceeds any monetary value we could assign to it.  What we receive as our ‘new self’ has infinite worth!

And when the Lord our God saves us & gives us the Holy Spirit, we have unlimited access to the power to put on a new wardrobe that looks good on us & in us and allows us to show His greatness to the lost and dying world around us.  We are saved for purpose…not merely for our lives to look better and be better, but to draw people to the Savior!

Here is the link to this week’s notes and 5 days of homework:   Col PN 3.12-17

According to what we learned last week from Colossians 3:1-11…

Because we have been raised with Christ,

our minds are set on things above;

we are hidden with Christ;

we’ve put to death what is earthly;

we are being renewed in the knowledge of Him, and…

Colossians 3:12

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 

  1. Because we are chosen, holy, and dearly loved, we gladly put on the new self. (Col 3:12)

I want to visit each of the items on Paul’s lists. I think it’s incredibly important that we break this down and not just skip over what we feel we do well. For just a moment, take a deep breath and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you as you read these. Be bold enough to ask for conviction where you lack, and ask Him to fill what is lacking. He is so good like that; He will no resist a child who comes humbly asking for something He passionately wants to give to you.

Compassionate hearts: These are 2 Greek words which together mean, “a heart in which mercy resides; bowels in which compassion resides”

One of the Greek words means: “bowels of mercies.”

Culturally speaking, we don’t give a terrible amount of attention to the word “bowels,” however, we are more inclined to think of our “gut”, aren’t we?   “I felt it in my gut” or “I just had a gut feeling about this or that.”  Typically, to us, these are most likely situation where we feel a warning or a red flag.

In the 1st century, though, bowels were regarded as the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love; but by the Hebrews as the seat of the more tender affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart (tender mercies, affections, etc.). Isn’t that interesting?  What today we consider “heart” emotions, they considered “gut” emotions. This is why we find all our English translations using the “heart” aspect of the word instead.

Kindness: According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary it signifies, “not merely goodness as a quality, rather it is goodness in action, goodness expressing itself in deeds; yet not goodness expressing itself in indignation against sin, for it is contrasted with ‘severity’ in Rom 11:22 (which says God is both kind and severe), but in grace and tenderness and compassion.”

Humility: Humility is the opposite of pride. It’s having a humble opinion of oneself, a deep sense of one’s “littleness”, modesty, and lowliness of mind.  Humility is living in a way that focuses little on self (either negatively or positively), and focuses on others and the Lord our God. This Greek word is fascinating, it’s a compound of 2 words, one means “diaphragm, parts of the heart, and the mind” the other word means, “not rising far from the ground.”

Pride is puffed up; humility is a person who has gone low. (See Isaiah 6:5 and Revelation 1:17-18)

Meekness: mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit.  This definition makes me think of someone who is easy to get along with and easy to be around.  Jesus was like that (Matthew 11:29).

Patience: This 1 word means all these things: patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance, longsuffering, and slowness in avenging wrongs

Colossians 3:13

bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

  1. Because Jesus forgives, we forgive. (Col 3:13)

Bearing with one another: Fascinating again with the Greek language here, this word is another compound word that means “to hold up, to hold one’s self erect and firm, to sustain, to bear, to endure” – and the second word means, “ONE ANOTHER, RECIPROCALLY, MUTUALLY.”

This is where it is so evident that this life is about walking with brothers and sisters in Christ, side by side, holding one another up, reciprocating the support they are giving you, and mutually enduring whatever may come.

There is a shift in Paul’s writing starting at v.13 after he lists “bearing with one another,” he goes on to say, “and, IF ONE HAS A COMPLAINT AGAINST ANOTHER…

Forgiving each other: It means to bestow favor unconditionally, to do something pleasant or agreeable to someone, to show yourself kind or benevolent or gracious to someone, to pardon, to give freely or bestow, to forgive, graciously to restore one to another. Paul used this word in Colossians 2:13 for Jesus forgiving us of our sins. We, too, should follow His lead and forgive others when they sin against us or disappoint us or ignore us or do anything else where our flesh wants to refuse to do that list above for them…Jesus says to do it, therefore we will humble ourselves and forgive, amen?!

Verse 13 goes on to tell us this exact thing! “AS THE LORD HAS FORGIVEN YOU, SO YOU ALSO MUST FORGIVE.”   Period. End of story. If you have something against another, any kind of complaint at all…forgive them. Nope, no buts, just forgive. He suffered and died on a cross to forgive you and I while we were rebelling against Him; we can, by His grace, die to our flesh and forgive another person for whom He also died to set free.

Colossians 3:14

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

  1. Put on love, because it holds it all together (Col 3:14)

We will see another transition here in Paul’s list of things we are to “Put On” in verse 14. He says, “ABOVE ALL THESE PUT ON LOVE, WHICH BINDS EVERYTHING TOGETHER IN PERFECT HARMONY.”

The NIV says, “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Love: It’s agape love again that Paul uses here; affection, good will, benevolence. We studied it way back in week 1, in day 5 of your homework. In Romans 5:5, it’s the Holy Spirit-given love; it’s God’s kind of love toward us. In Galatians 5:22, it’s a fruit of the Spirit. It’s how, in Matthew 22, we are to love the Lord our God in return, and also love our neighbors as ourselves.

This kind of love is what takes all those awesome, virtuous things we just discussed one-by-one, puts them together and ties them up in the most beautiful bundle of a person who is sold-out to live this life not for himself or herself; but a life poured out as an offering on the nail-scarred feet of a Savior.  A Savior Who did not shrink back from what was hard; but He bravely endured the cross scorning its shame, and took His seat at the right hand of the Father, living every single day to intercede for His chosen ones as we walk this Christian life together side-by-side.

Jesus said in John 13:34-35

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

How we treat one another matters to Him.

How we relate to one another matters to Him.

The support we give one another matters to Him.

And given the fact that He gave it all for us; how then will we not live this way in order to give to Him every single part of our lives. He deserves all glory, all honor, and all praise. What we put on each day will either give Him that…or not. Choose wisely what you wear; you are in the presence of your King. This is how the world will know He came.

John 17:20 

I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.  I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

Our mandate to take the Gospel into the farthest corners of the Earth really does rest on whether or not we as brothers and sisters in Christ are unified under the banner of Jesus Christ. Do we really love God enough to love our brothers and sister and to put off the old and put on the new, being bonded together in perfect harmony by love?

Colossians 3:15a

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.

  1. Let the Peace of Jesus reign and call the shots in your heart (Col 3:15a)

NIV

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

AMP

And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

Peace: of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is; security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)

Rule: to be an umpire; to decide or determine, to direct or control

Heart: the center of all physical and spiritual life; the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors;

Of the understanding, the faculty and seat of intelligence

Of the will and character;

Of the soul so far as it is affected and stirred in a bad way or good, or of the soul as the seat of sensibilities, affections, emotions, desires, appetites, passions.

Hasting’s Bible Dictionary:

“the heart”, the chief organ of physical life (“for the life of the flesh is in the blood,” Lev 17:11), occupies the most important place in the human system. By an easy transition the word came to stand for man’s entire mental and moral activity, both the rational and the emotional elements. In other words, the heart is used figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life. The Bible describes human depravity as in the ‘heart’, because sin is a principle which has its seat in the center of man’s inward life, and then ‘defiles’ the whole circuit of his action, Mat 15:19, 20. On the other hand, Scripture regards the heart as the sphere of Divine influence, Rom 2:15; Act 15:9…. The heart, as lying deep within, contains ‘the hidden man,’ 1Pe 3:4, the real man. It represents the true character but conceals it.

So, what this means in a very practical sense for you and I today is this.  You and I must let the peace of Christ RULE (direct, determine, umpire, decide, control) in:

your grief,

your desires,

your affections,

your perceptions,

your thoughts,

your understanding,

your reasoning powers,

your imagination,

your conscience,

your intentions,

your purpose,

your will,

and your faith.

That’s big.  Are you getting that?  If you know Jesus, His peace resides.  He is the embodiment of peace and He indwells us.  We get to choose if we allow (let) His peace rule in our hearts.

Colossians 3:15b to which indeed you were called in one body.

5. Be Unified as one (Col. 15b)

Paul makes sure that we know his expectation is that the body of Christ be unified. We discussed this in length in week 9 as well as week 6. It’s what we just read from John 17 a moment ago! We were called as individuals by God to work in unison and harmony, easily orchestrated as a team of believers by Christ, our Head.

Colossians 3:15c   And be thankful.

6.  Be thankful (Col 3:15b)

What is the opposite of being thankful?  Unthankfulness, thanklessness, and ingratitude come to mind.  And as I thought through this question, it occurred to me that two symptoms of being ungrateful and thankless are: complaining & grumbling.  These two things are what stirred the Almighty’s anger in the Old Testament.  Paul wants us to be sure that we are choosing gratitude.  This is the third time that the concept of gratitude is mentioned in this letter to the church at Colossae, with the fourth and fifth mentions coming up in v.16-17!

Gratitude moves the heart of God!  Gratitude changes things!

There is a reason that Paul points out specifically apart from the list of things we are to put on…now Love, now let Peace reign, and Be Thankful!  It’s our choice, it’s our decision to operate in these ways. It’s there, the Holy Spirit gives them in Galatians 5:22-26.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

7.  Know His Word, share it with wisdom, and make a joyful noise unto the Lord (Col 3:16)

How does the Word of Christ dwell in us richly?

For starters it has to be in us if it is going to dwell richly!

#1 it’s Jesus, The Living Word of God who dwells in us

John 1:1,14

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; 14 and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace & truth.

#2 the actual words He spoke while He was here

Acts 20:35

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

1 Timothy 6:3-4

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing…

John 14:26

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

#3 the Word of God as a whole

Psalm 119:105  (actually, see all of Psalm 119. It’s magnificent!)

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

If those 3 things dwell in us richly, it gives us the solid foundation and platform on which to teach and admonish one another with all wisdom! Without ‘The Word’ in us – we have no wisdom with which to influence anyone.

Teaching & Admonishing:

Vine’s Dictionary:

Admonish: has mainly in view the things that are wrong and call for warning; warn, exhort

Teach: has to do chiefly with the impartation of positive truth; to impart instruction, to instill doctrine into one, to explain

They were to let the Word of Christ dwell richly in them, so that they might be able

(1) to teach and ‘admonish’ one another in all wisdom

(2) to abound in the praises of God.

 

Singing Psalms: Psalms, striking chords on a musical instrument, a sacred psalm put to music (Shane&Shane music)

Hymns: a song of praise addressed to God, a sacred song

Spiritual Songs: Songs inspired by the Holy Spirit, in praise of God or Christ; ‘spiritual songs’ are songs of which the burden is the things revealed by the Spirit,

Ephesians 5:18b-21

be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

The ESV Global Commentary:

Being filled with the Spirit results in joyful praise through singing and making melody, psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Paul probably has in mind the OT Psalms along with other songs of praise. “Spiritual” points to the influence of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s acts of praise.

What I find totally fascinating is that the Holy Spirit, Who is called our Helper…helps us in our admiration and praise of God. He helps us in everything, and brothers & sisters we NEED His help in everything!

The next time you are struggling to “feel” like praising God, ask the Holy Spirit to help. It’s what He does.

John 15:26

But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.

And something we need to consider is that Paul lists all 3 types of songs as what we are to do together, admonishing and teaching one another, praising our God in one accord!  I really strongly believe this is a biblical reason  to incorporate psalms, traditional hymns, and brand new Holy Spirit spoken and inspired songs that God is speaking to the church in 2015!  We should use all 3 types of songs to glorify God!

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

8.  Represent Jesus well in everything. (Col 3:17)

Word: a word uttered by a living voice

Deed: business, employment, that which any one is occupied that which one undertakes to do, enterprise, undertaking any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind; an act, deed, thing done

Read these three versions of Colossians 3:17, and let the depth of this verse sink into your heart.

AMP:

And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.

 MSG:

Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

NLT:

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

If you were here with us live for our 7am Tuesday morning bible study, you could have joined with us in singing the first verse and chorus of “It is Well with My Soul,” the old hymn; and it was beautiful.  As is so fitting for what we learned a moment ago in v.16, we are now going into our worship time with a  song that is a spiritual song blended with an old hymn.  Let these words wash over you today as you sing to your God…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 9 – Colossians 3:1-11 “If You Have Been Raised with Christ, Then…

It’s such a powerful thing to sink our teeth into the meat of God’s Word over a period of time! We’re in Week 9 now, and I don’t know about you, but I feel like I just keep desiring more and more to know God through His Word and in prayer.  This walk with Jesus is not easy, but it’s awesome; and I pray that as you open the Word today that He will speak directly to your heart and mind.  I pray you will be captivated by the Love of God through Christ Jesus as we learn what follows our decision to make Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.  If He is Lord, then there will be notable change.  Here are your notes and homework for Week 9:  Col PN 3.1-11

Paul takes all the things he’s been telling the church in Colossae  in chapters 1 & 2 and sums it up in these four verses to begin chapter 3. IF this is true, THEN that should be happening. You’ll find in the NIV and NLT the word ‘if’ is translated ‘since.’ If you are reading from those translations, SINCE this is true, THEN that should be happening. Either way, there is an expectation that follows; the consequence of our decision to follow Christ should be evident.

If you have been born again,

if you have been raised to new life with Christ,

if you are alive in Him (Col 2:6-15),

if you believe that He is the Messiah, your Savior (Col 1:15-23),

THEN here are some specific directives as to how to walk this thing out.  This, Church in Colossae (and Believer in Christ Jesus, wherever you are), is practically how to operate as a Follower of Jesus: out with the old and in with the new, and it starts with your mind. It always does.

Colossians 3:1-2 ESV

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek cthe things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

IF you have been raised with Christ, THEN

  1. SEEK after & SET your mind on the things that are above. (Col 3:1-2)

If Jesus is seated at God’s right hand, then our sights should be set there. What we are seeking and what we set our minds on WILL determine the way that we live. This is why Jesus Himself directed us so clearly as to what we should do!

Look at Matthew 6:33, What does Jesus commands us to do?

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Other translations say “and all these things will be provided for you.” This is where Jesus is telling us not to worry about what we will eat or drink or wear. Can you imagine how much freedom our minds would have without worry? If we really only trusted the Lord with our lives, if we would really just seek Him first, I believe that 99% of our stress would be gone immediately. Stress clouds the human brain, it is a physiological and neurochemical fact.

In day 4 of your homework, we will break down the contrast of having a mind set on earthly things vs. things above. (Matthew 16:23 & Philippians 3:19-20)

If our mind is set on earth, our lives will reflect it. If our mind is set on Heaven, then our lives will inevitably reflect that as well! We cannot do both.

Where the mind goes the body follows. Jesus knew that, and that is exactly why He told us what to seek and where to set our minds.  NOW, verses 3:

Colossians 3:3

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

IF you have been raised with Christ, THEN

  1. Your life is HIDDEN with Christ in God because you died

I absolutely love the way the Amplified Bible puts this:

For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.

The most real we will ever be is when we are in Christ Jesus. He is real life, and the greatest reality is that which is in Heaven. Do you remember last week when we talked about how all these earthly things are just shadows of the true reality to come? Our new, real life is hidden with Christ in God, and when He (Who is our life) returns we will be with Him eternally. Hallelujah!

Let’s revisit for a moment the concept of our death (as far as the world is concerned) when we receive new life in Christ Jesus:

Colossians 2:20 

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world…

The entire chapter of Romans 6 is so beautifully written; I want to pull a couple of verses from there to further expound upon this idea. Please take time to read all of Romans 6 if any of this ‘life and death’ stuff is confusing to you. I want to encourage you to always go directly to the source, go straight to your Bible and make sure that all of these things I (or anyone else whom you listen to or do bible study with) am saying line up with the truth of God’s Word. We must be diligent to get His Word into our own minds and hearts. Do not be content with just listening to other people talk about it! Now…onto Romans 6…

Romans 6:2

By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Romans 6:10-11

When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

When we decide to follow Jesus, we are:

  • dead to sin
  • dead to our old ways of living
  • dead to the elemental spirits of the world, the things of the world

And, we automatically become:

  • alive in Christ Jesus
  • alive to live a new life
  • secured, we are concealed (hidden)

In day 2 of our homework this week, we will discuss the security we have in Christ, the Rock of our salvation. We are tucked away and secured in Christ Jesus.

Our old life is no longer accessible, it’s hidden in Jesus, then Jesus becomes our life! Salvation is a MASSIVE UPGRADE OF THE HIGHEST ORDER. We trade in what is old, useless, meant for destruction; Jesus takes it away and gives us what is new, awesome, and cannot be destroyed! It’s redemption at it’s finest most holy example. He redeems us and now we are secure. What can separate us from His love?  Nothing.

Colossians 3:4

When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

IF you have been raised with Christ, THEN

  1. He is your LIFE now, and you will be with Him in glory (Col. 3:3-4)

Col 1:27 comes to mind again here:

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Jesus is our ONLY HOPE of Heaven. He is the way, the truth, and the Life and NO ONE comes to the Father apart from Him (John 14:6). And let’s not miss Paul telling is WHEN He appears. It is in now way an “if”…it’s WHEN. And He is coming soon!

Rev 22:12 NIV

Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.

With that in mind…

Colossians 3:5-9

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.  In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices

IF you have been raised with Christ, THEN

  1. Put to death what is EARTHLY in you; put off the OLD self (Col. 3:5-9)

 The KJV says “Mortify” these things.

In v.5, the word for “put to death” in the Greek is “Nekroo”, and here is the definition: “to put to death, to make dead, to slay, to deprive of power, to destroy the strength of.”

You & I are instructed to deprive the power of the earthly things in us. If you struggle with always wanting more and never being satisfied with how your house is decorated, then throw away all the Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn magazines! Deprive the power of it! Destroy the strength of covetousness and idolatry and materialism!  (That example happens to be fresh on my mind because I just tossed 5 lbs of brand new beautiful magazines I got in the mail last Wednesday).  Why did I throw them away without even look at the cover?  I’m starving the fleshly dissatisfaction I would feed by looking at them; I have fed it before and I am choosing to starve it now.  I wonder what sins you might be feeding in your own life?  We will discuss this in detail on Day 3 of our homework.

Let’s take an honest look at each of these sins Paul lists. Fight the temptation to skim that list and assume all is well in your heart. Each of these definitions are from Strong’s Greek Dictionary.

OLD SELF:                                               

Sexual immorality (porneia):

Illicit sexual acts outside of marriage; adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, sex with animals, sex with close relatives, sex with a divorced man or woman; the root word of porneia means to prostitute one’s body to the lust of another

Impurity:

impure motives toward anything; but also the impurity of lustful, luxurious, profligate (extravagant) living

Passion:

depraved passion, vile passions; an affliction of the mind, emotion or passion

You & I are created to be passionate. Our sin nature makes us burn with passion for vile/deprave things, but our NEW self has nothing to do with evil passion…it can ALL be poured into Jesus Christ. Have you ever met a passionate Christian? Oh God, that our passion for You would be so magnified over ANY other passion we have!  Passion misdirected leads to entanglements and slavery to any number of things; the ONLY perfectly, abundantly SAFE place to put our passion is in Christ. He was passionate about us, we return His passionate love by dying to these old ways of living and become new.

Evil desires:

desire for what is forbidden, desiring what is troublesome, injurious, destructive; craving or longing for things that ought not to be, thinking acting or feeling what is wicked or wrong

Covetousness (idolatry):

“greed” which are both idolatry, desire to have more

For those things, according to Colossians 3:6-7, the wrath of God is coming on those who disobey, or the “children of disobedience.” And Paul says, “Yes, you! You lived that way for some time, but now slay it!”  And v. 8 we are to put off the following things. “Put off” is translated from the Greek word meaning, “to put aside, to put away.”

Anger:

Temper, agitation of the soul, impulse, any violent emotion, inflicting punishments

Wrath:

Anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again

Malice:

Ill-will, desire to injure, depravity, wickedness, not ashamed to break laws, evil, trouble

Slander:

Injurious speech to another’s good name, blasphemy

Obscene talk from your mouth:

Foul speaking

Lying:      

Speaking falsehoods deliberately, to deceive one by a lie

You & I CANNOT put off the old self by ourselves; we cannot defeat these things on our own. WE NEED JESUS!!! It is by His blood and power and victory transferred to us that we are able to overcome any sin. This is why we can never be “good enough” on our own. All have sinned and fall short of His glory.

Romans 3:23-24

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, AND ALL are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus

It is finished for ALL of us, now it is our free will, our choice to receive the gift or not.

Take it or leave it, it’s right there, bought & purchased…waiting on our response.  Receive His power to overcome sin in your life.

So, we are to PUT OFF the old self…

Colossians 3:10

and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

 IF you have been raised with Christ, THEN

  1. Put on the NEW self, which is BEING renewed. (Col 3:10)

The more you and I know Jesus Christ, the more we know Him through His Word, the more we know God by walking closely with Him, we are renewed in the knowledge of Him. Our New self gets to be constantly renewed by knowing Him. Isn’t that such a profound thing? We are NOT ON OUR OWN!!!  He does not just leave us to our own strength. He will reveal Himself to us continually, if we are seeking Him and setting our mind on things above where Jesus is seated at the Right hand of our Creator – you and I will be renewed!!!

I love what Paul says to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 2:2,

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

All the knowledge in the world can’t do a thing to get us closer to God except knowing Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and raised to reign at the right hand of God.

 Colossians 3:11

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

IF you have been raised with Christ, THEN

  1. Be DIVIDED no longer, because Christ is all in all (Col 3:11)

Basically every way that we could be divided, Paul is saying “No” it doesn’t work like that anymore. In Jesus, it’s not you over here and them over there in any context; we are – for better or worse – the family of God, the bride of Christ, and we are to be one!

Romans 10:12

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.

I have read these scriptures many times over the years, and like many things I don’t fully understand, I just skim over it. If we learn anything in Colossians, let’s learn that skimming God’s Word is not okay; we are to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. In God’s economy, details matter. So, let’s get to the details of Colossians 3:10. Read the explanation of each of these distinctives Paul gives (ref. Strong’s Greek Dictionary):

Greek vs. Jew = nationality, race, or a difference in worship

Circumcised vs. Uncircumcised = culture, denominational differences

Barbarian =  one who speaks a foreign or strange language which is not understood by another, used by the Greeks of any foreigner ignorant of the Greek language, whether mental or moral; Greeks & Romans regarded all others or foreigners as barbarians

Scythian = literally meaning “rude or rough”; an inhabitant of Scythia or modern day Russia (about 500 miles N. of Colossae along the black sea coast); Greeks saw the Scythians as the wildest of barbarians, uneducated, uncivilized, violent    

These people would be the climax of barbarian; societal outcasts if you will; people you steer clear of if you are truly civilized.

Slave vs. Free – divisions by class

The ESV Global Study Bible says:

In contrast, Paul states that Christ binds all people from all nations together in unity through His love. Racial & cultural prejudice has NO PLACE AMONG CHRISTIANS!!!

(emphasis mine obviously, the people who wrote the ESV Global Study Bible didn’t yell that, but I did, in case it was confusing). But, not at you, though!   I yell it at myself.  I’d yell it from the rooftops if I could.  I, even as a 34 year old woman, struggle with mindsets that were engrained to my brain as a child. I don’t want to be like that. I want to put off that old sinful way of thinking & put on the new. I want the mind of Christ about ALL people created in His image, especially when they look and sound different than me.

John Piper said in a sermon on Colossians 3, which I think captures the truth of 3:10 so profoundly:

Once we boasted in our culture and our intellect like the Greeks. But now CHRIST IS ALL. Once we gloried in our tradition and our religious rigor like the Jews, but now CHRIST IS ALL. Once we got our strokes because of our ethnic pedigree. But now CHRIST IS ALL. Once we reveled in not being like the barbarians and the shabby Scythians, but now CHRIST IS ALL.

Once we struggled to find our significance and our happiness and our security in what we were in relation to other people—we’re Jews, we’re Greeks, we’re circumcised, we’re free, we’re American, we’re rich, we’re smart, we’re strong, we’re pretty, we’re witty, we’re cool. But then we sloughed off that old self. We put on the new self. And the core essence of the new self is that CHRIST IS ALL. “It is no longer I who live but Christ lives” (Galatians 2:20).

I found the coolest commentary in Robertson’s Word Pictures of the NT about this passage:

Christ has obliterated the words barbarian, master, slave, all of them and has substituted the word brother.

I love that so much. It’s back to unity in the body of Christ. Jesus prayed it for us in John 17:23, do you remember?

I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

Unity in the body is of paramount importance to Jesus because it is the hub around which the spokes of the great commission turn. We are told to go into all the earth and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt 28). And our unity is what will make us believable!  Our unity, as the body of Christ, will create momentum in the spread of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  They will KNOW that God sent Jesus and that God loves them as He loves His own Son by they way we operate as one. What a beautiful thought; what a beautiful God!

I want to leave today with this thought from John Piper’s same sermon on Colossians 3:

In other words, God is creating a new community out of people who have sloughed off their old selves and put on their new selves. And the mark of this new (chosen, loved, holy) community is [first] that the people in it stop cherishing the things that separate Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman. The new people in the new community do not boast in ethnic distinctives or language or intellect or culture or race or homeland or social status. Those things have passed away. And the number one, primary mark of newness in the new people and the new community is that Christ is all and in all. Don’t miss that all important climax at the end of verse 11: “But Christ is all and in all.”

And for our personal response time today, I hope you’ll take 5 minutes and worship the Lord with me.  Jesus breaks every chain that holds and binds us, Praise His Name – we really are made new!  I pray you’ll feel His freedom overwhelm you as you listen to the words & sing:

 

Week 8 – Colossians 2:16-23 “We are FREE in Christ Jesus”

Welcome to week 8, as we finish up Colossians chapter 2! After this week we will have 2 more chapters to study and just 4 more weeks!

Today we’re going to see how important it is to know our freedom in Christ and the danger of being drawn away by rules and regulations set into place by man. The Colossian church was being pressured not only by Jews who were holding on to old covenant requirements; but they were also being pressured by the Gnostics who were telling them to worship angels and treat their bodies harshly in order to gain special knowledge from God. Both sides were a vain attempt to achieve closeness to God apart from Christ. And Paul says, “No! Absolutely not!” Let’s get into verse 16 to begin our study today. Here is the link to your notes & homework for Week 8: Col PN 2.16-23

Colossians 2:16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 

  1. We are FREE in Christ Jesus, no longer under the law.

The tense of the words “therefore let no one pass…” means they in fact WERE letting these heresies influence them.

Paul acknowledges this is happening, and I want you to STOP LETTING IT HAPPEN. Paul also speaks to this in 1st Timothy.

1 Timothy 4:1-5

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

Remember in today’s passage, Colossians 2:16-17, Paul is talking about 5 things they are being pressured about: what they eat & drink, the festivals, new moons (which could also be a reference to the mystical influence as well), and the Sabbath. In modern English, The Message translation says, “So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ.”

In 1 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul talks to Timothy about false teachers’ lies regarding forbidding marriage and abstaining from certain foods. In both segments of scripture, the idea is that we are NOT to return to the Law or any other bizarre regulations that were not part of the new covenant with Jesus. We are not to be duped into believing that by keeping these rules that we are somehow becoming favored in God’s sight or getting closer to Him. The way to gain favor in God’s sight is by loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; it is not by keeping rules! We are free in Jesus Christ!

I want to give just a couple of examples in different religions: Hindus are not permitted to eat meat; Mormons are forbidden to have caffeine or alcohol; devout Jews who have not accepted Jesus as Messiah obviously eat kosher foods only (which are prepared only in specific ways, only from certain parts of the cow, do not eat pork, etc.), Muslims are forbidden to eat pork and have certain times of day that they must bow facing east and say prayers to a false god, and Catholic priests are forbidden to marry, Jehovah’s Witnesses are forbidden to celebrate birthdays or any holidays. We could go on and on about the restrictions involved in food/drink, holy days and Sabbaths. Where the freedom that Christ Jesus brings is not recognized, there is only slavery to those things!

But, praise be to Jesus! We are in a NEW covenant: the covenant of grace. Our sacrificial lamb has been slain once and for all (Hebrews 10:10), completely fulfilling the law and setting us free from it. We are also, by Jesus, set free from the world’s way of thinking and the pagan attempts to gain access to God apart from Him. Listen to this passage from Romans 14.

Romans 14:17-21

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

We are FREE in Christ Jesus!!! To be more like Him is the goal!!! Not to do enough of certain things, say enough certain prayers, nor to say “No” enough to certain things. It’s about living in love and having a heart and mind captive to Jesus. When our hearts and minds are captive to Christ alone, we serve Jesus in righteousness, peace and joy as Romans 14 just said. Serving God in THIS way is pleasing to Him.

Most of us worship corporately on Sunday…but everyday should be about worship!  Gathering corporately is not some rule we have to keep to make God happy; He tells us not to forsake gathering together for our own good!  Millions of people in America show up to church each week to get their check-mark and then go right back to living life for themselves, never giving God a second thought until the next week. I have been one of those people before!  This is grieving to our God; He does not want any physical consecration without true heart consecration. David said it so well in Psalm 51:16-17

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Because we are in Jesus, and because we love Him, we are then free to fast from certain things for a period of time. We do NOT fast in order to manipulate God into doing what we want or somehow to gain His attention or favor. BUT, as we consecrate ourselves in specific ways, it is for our benefit to focus on Him and to be captivated by Him rather than those other things (i.e. foods, electronics, social media, or whatever we may be fasting from). The main thing is that we have our sights set on Him, desiring for our hearts to be right before Him.

Colossians 2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

It’s this idea that Christ is what matters, He is the substance; all these other things that are religious and make you look very pious, they are a vapor…nothing compared to the substance of Jesus. One translation says these things are a shadow but the body casting the shadow is Jesus. Why look at the shadow when the real thing is standing right there in front of you?!

Hebrews 10:1

The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship.

 

Philippians 3:8-9

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

Galatians 5:1

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Paul then goes on to tell the Galatians how foolish it would be to accept circumcision, because in the new covenant in Christ Jesus (Galatians 5:6), “neither circumcision or uncircumcision count for anything, but only faith working through love.”

Perhaps one of the greatest segments of scripture to flesh out exactly what v.19 means is in Hebrews 9. If anything we have discussed has ruffled your denominational feathers thus far, please read the entirety of the book of Hebrews, and particularly chapter 9. I pray that the Lord will bring great clarity to the freedom we have in Christ Jesus! But, for now, I want to read Hebrews 9:9-10. The author is talking about, in vv.1-9, the ceremonies of sacrifice and offerings under the old covenant in the tabernacle; then the priest would make the offering or sacrifice for himself and all the people to cover their sin.

Hebrews 9:9-10 NLT

This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies – physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.

Again, because the old covenant is no longer in play – we must guard our hearts from believing that anything but Jesus will save us. It is Him; and we are so thankful, amen?! Jesus IS the better system!

Sidenote: Colossians 2:17 calls these things a “shadow” of what was to come, but Jesus is the substance; here in Hebrews 9:9 the old covenant is called an “illustration” pointing to our present time; later in Hebrews 9:23, the tabernacle and everything in it were “copies” of things in heaven. I find it so interesting that what we experience day to day in this life seem like the greatest reality possible because it is our reality right now. But, brothers and sisters, there is a greater reality to come! One where we spend eternity in the presence of our Living Savior…Glory!

Colossians 2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

  1. We are free in Christ Jesus, by holding fast to Him as the Head, not puffed up by human ways of thinking.

“Let no one disqualify you” is the same tense as in v.16, Paul is telling them to STOP letting people disqualify them. It’s the idea of an umpire making calls. Basically, Paul is telling them to silence these self-appointed umpires. They have no right to make the call of what rules and regulations you ought to be upholding if they have nothing to do with the truth of the Gospel!

Aceticism is the severe treatment of the body; severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence. The belief here was the more severe you were with the body, the more spiritual you were. Not only was the Colossian church being influenced by this, they were being pressured to do it! It was a vain attempt to impress men and impress God. This is not talking about a holy fast or consecrating yourself to the Lord for a period of time where you pull away from indulgences to focus on Jesus, as we talked earlier. Paul is talking about doing these things with the false belief that these things will save you. There is a HUGE difference!

The pagan mysticism practice in that day was to worship aeons of angels. If you will remember back to the 1st week of our study, we discussed how these pagan beliefs had Jesus as one of these levels of angelic beings. So, someone in their midst was “insisting” in asceticism as well as the worship of angels. Friends, we worship NO ONE but the One True God!

The third thing Pauls lists here has to do with visions. I wholeheartedly believe that God speaks today in visions and dreams to His people (see Acts 2:17 which is repeating what was prophesied in Joel 2:28)

Detailed visions, as Paul is speaking of, would have been “secret knowledge” they claimed to have that others did not have access to; it would have been a source of great pride and lofty thoughts of oneself being so enlightened above others, claiming to be superior. We must guard against these things as well, my friends! If the Lord does speak to you and I in visions and dreams, then we are to glorify His Name alone! The influences in the Colossian Church were not glorifying God. They were, as it says, “puffed up without reason by their sensuous minds.”

There is no secret knowledge in Christ. You may have heard it said, “The ground at the foot of the cross is level.” Jesus is revealed to us! We do have revelation, and personally, I believe it is often a progressive revelation the longer we walk with Him. But, the revelation of who God is isn’t exclusive to the time you’ve been a believer; and it’s available to all who call upon His name. He is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11); he does not play favorites. God is not impressed with you and then, subsequently, wanting to get on board with our great experiences and ideas. He is God; we serve Him; let’s not get that mixed up!

The next verse we will look at is Colossians 2:19

and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

You may remember this concept of being “held together” or “knit together” from Colossians 2:2, when Paul is telling them how he’s been praying for them and the church at Laodicea for their “hearts to be encouraged and that they would be knit together in love to fully understand God’s mystery, which is Christ Jesus.” He repeats this same word again here in v. 19. But, what I want to take a look at is the second half of v.19. He is warning them not to come under the yoke of slavery to man’s rules or the law. He’s telling them that those things are from people who are disconnected from Jesus, the Head. It is by Him that the body is held together.

The ones who are insisting on these rules and regulations are not Jesus-focused people. When the focus leaves Christ Jesus, this is where things always get off course. Disconnected from the head means there is no “true north.” If you cut the head off anything, it does not survive. If a person cuts himself off from Jesus, he has no direction. AND beware, if a man has no direction and claims to – he is a dangerous person to follow! Remember, it is Jesus Christ, Him crucified and raised to life to overcome sin & death. He is who saves.

Colossians 2:20-22 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?

  1. We are free in Christ Jesus; we died to the ways of the world.

 Do you remember all the scriptures we discussed last week about us dying with Christ, being buried and raised with Him? Basically he’s telling them, “Y’all just got out of all these rules, why do you want back in them with someone else?”

We will discuss more of this next week, in Colossians chapter 3.

Colossians 3:2-3

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

And Galatians 3:2-3:

Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

We don’t need rules to purify or save us! We have Christ, and once we have Him, we will put the rules on ourselves out of love and obedience to Him; not to a church, not to a religion, and not to impress people! But, because we love the Lord our God, it pleases us to walk in righteousness and be free from sin!

What Paul is saying is, “Guys! This is not Christianity, this is legalism!!! This not the gospel – this is not Jesus!” We have to know that creation is good; God made it for our enjoyment…within His holy and protective boundaries! (i.e. sex within marriage of 1 man and 1 woman = beautiful; sex outside of marriage of 1 man and 1 woman = destructive)

Mark 7:14-23  

14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

In day 4 of the homework, we will visit this whole subject of sin and grace pretty heavily. But, I love how Jesus teaches us here in Mark 7 about our hearts, it’s what’s inside, the sin nature that defiles, not food! And praise God, that is why we need Jesus and that is why we can have Jesus; oh how we need Him!

Colossians 2:23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

  1. We are free in Christ Jesus; He is the One who sets us free from our own flesh. 

We DO NOT need these things – we need HIM, we need Jesus, and He is the Only One!

“Many of the things we do are cultural and have nothing to do with Jesus. There are so many denominational biases and human traditions in the church. These rules are actually a barrier to spiritual maturity because it gives the false sense of “I’m doing so good, look at all the things I don’t do and my checklist of things I do for God.” It leads us down a path of “self-righteous” acts instead of faith and repentance as an on-going lifestyle.” – Bob Utley

I grew up this way. I knew how to make it all look good. And I definitely knew how to make it all sound good. But, God looks at the heart. And that is what Paul is telling them. You can check all the boxes in the do and don’t categories and still not walk one step closer to Jesus. It is a repentant heart and a humble spirit that draws you near to the throne of grace.  It’s obeying Him when He tells us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind; to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  As I quote earlier from Galatians 5:6, it’s not about circumcision or uncircumcision, it’s about faith expressing itself through love.  And take a look at what Paul says to the Corinthians…

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

When it says in verse 23 of Colossians 2 that those things, those rules, those regulations have “no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh”, I have experienced this in my life.  I would check off enough items in the “good girl” category, so I figured I deserved a few sins to indulge my flesh.  I was so deceived in my way of thinking because I had one foot on the narrow path and one foot on the wide path the lead to destruction.  I lived with a double mind, thinking it wasn’t that big of a deal if I sinned every once in a while.

It WAS a big deal. I was deceived. I knew what was right, but I was so deceived by my own flesh and by the world, that I did not see what I was doing was breaking the heart of my God who rescued me out of that darkness. But, again, just as v.23 says, all the outside stuff I could do to make everyone else think I was good, did NOTHING to stop me from indulging in my flesh. And it surely didn’t fool my Father in heaven. Praise God Almighty, He did not allow me to stay in the immature, hypocritical state very long. He broke me out of that prison of darkness, which I subjected myself to again, after I was already free.

Paul is telling the Colossians not to take back a yoke of slavery after you are free.  You and I can take a yoke of slavery to the law or to sin; either one imprison us from experiencing Jesus’ freedom and love that He died to give us. Oh yes, I am free in Christ Jesus, He is the One who set me free from my own flesh. He does it daily. How about you?

Next week, we will study Colossians 3:1-15, and it’s all about putting on the NEW SELF. We have absolutely died to the law and sin and the flesh, now we must put on our new self in Christ Jesus!!!

For now, I want to give you the opportunity to worship right where you are. As we did last week, it’s about 7 minutes. Please play the video and respond to the Lord your God in worship. He is worthy of it, and He is so very worth it! I want you to take a moment and respond to the Lord, I wonder what He might reveal to you as you meditate on the words of this song…

Week 7 – Colossians 2:8-15 “In Jesus and With Jesus”

Here we are in week 7!  Welcome!  I don’t know if you’ve been with us for this entire series (if not, you can go back to weeks 1-6 in “archives”, which you will find on the far Right side of your screen)!

I am so glad the Lord saw fit for me to study Colossians because it is absolutely full of truth about how great Jesus is!   He is high and lifted up in this letter, and in our world today – YOU & I need this message.  We need to continually press in to the truth that Jesus IS who He says He is, that we are who He said we are, and that we can trust Him.  He is our only hope!  Let dig in to this segment of Colossians today, chapter 2 verses 8-15.  Here are your notes and your 5 days of homework for week 7: Col PN 2.8-15  We will begin in verse 8, so open your Bible and let’s go!

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

In your homework last week, on day 5, we talked about life on the solid rock. What happens when we build our house on anything other than Jesus, the solid rock? All other ground is what?

This is what Paul is reiterating here! If any philosophy is not based on the Truth of Jesus, it will lead to destruction. Anything else is deceit, because it’s based in either human tradition, in the world’s thinking, and/or in the worship of creatED things rather than the creaTOR.  We’ll study this in Day 1 of your homework this week.  This is a serious warning Paul is giving, “Be ever on guard” or “be SURE that this never happens.”

  1. In Christ Jesus alone, we find TRUTH. All else is empty deceit, whether traditions of men or of the spiritual powers of the world.

Col 1:13 is where Paul tells them they have been rescued OUT of the Kingdom of darkness and transferred into the Kingdom of His dear son, SO DO NOT return to the darkness!!!  DO NOT be deceived, as he warned in Colossian 2:4, not to be deceived by well-crafted arguments.  It is a word that means, “to capture you as a slave, to be kidnapped, to be seduced.”

The heretics who were attempting to deceive the Colossian Church did 3 things in their philosophy and so-called superior knowledge:

  • They took away Jesus’ active participation in Creation.
  • They denied Jesus was fully God and fully man.
  • They removed Jesus’ atonement & substitutionary death as the central belief.

Friends, if we take those things away, or even entertain the idea these might be true, we NO LONGER have the truth of what the Bible teaches.  This can send us headlong into deception.  And this is exactly what Paul was warning them against!  And do not think for a moment these same deceptive philosophies are not alive and well today where we live.  They are.  And we MUST BE ON GUARD!!!

Let’s discuss quickly the use of the phrase “human tradition” or “philosophy” in this context.  Paul is not anti-intellect; he’s anti-false intellect!  We need to take the time to ask the question, “What is the source of that tradition? Is it God’s mandate or is it something that man made-up for themselves?”  And, we need to ask, “Is this philosophy one based on the truth of God’s Word, or is it something that the world says?”

Mark 7:3 For the Pharisees, in fact all the Jews, will not eat unless they wash their hands ritually, keeping the tradition of the elders.

This is just one of the hundreds and hundreds of regulations that the Jews had added to God’s original law over the centuries, i.e. the traditions of man.  This is what made legalism so prevalent in that day, and in our day as well.  When people believe that just by merely observing religious rules or regulations or practices they can be saved.  Are there any man-made traditions that you are giving too much clout?

Being good is never good enough to get to God.  Jesus said that He alone is the way, the truth, and the life, and NO ONE comes to the Father except through Him.  Man-made traditions will not save us.  Now, let’s look at this point from a slightly different angle:

1 Timothy 6:20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding irreverent, empty speech and contradictions from the “knowledge” that falsely bears that name.

In 1st Timothy, Paul is warning Timothy to GUARD well the Truth entrusted to him. Avoid irreverence. Avoid empty talk. Avoid things that contradict the FULL TRUTH.  Just because the world or even some in the church would call that kind of thing “knowledge” – Paul says “NO”, those things have nothing to do with knowledge!   You, Timothy, guard the TRUTH of the Gospel.

And I believe we can take that to the bank as well!  (Insert your name here), guard what has been entrusted to you!   DO NOT settle for irreverence or empty speech or things that contradict the truth of God’s Word!  Satan will counterfeit everything that is truth. He will be happy to use men and women to do this, to use governments, to use laws, relationships, books, media, culture, churches, even ministries.

SO HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT IS TRUE AND WHAT IS FALSE?

1 John 4:6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

WE MUST KNOW GOD!!!  WE MUST BECOME BIBLE LITERATE. We are living in a country now where most Christians do not know God’s Word, because it’s been “enough” (according to our human tradition) to show up on Sunday morning and have the Pastor preach, and then not crack it open until the next time they step inside church. Even then, we have the words on a screen in most places, so perhaps millions of Christians are never opening their Bible at all, whether it’s a physical bible or an app on their phone.  IF we are going to avoid being sucked in to deception and falsehood:

1. we have GOT to pray for discernment

2. we have GOT to know God through prayer and through His Word

3. we have GOT put away the things of the world and the things of man

Think about what that may mean in your own life.  What things of human origin and worldly origin are more important than God?  He calls that idolatry.  We are to have NO other God before Him.  I know that’s convicting!  B,ut praise God for conviction!  We can know the truth and be free!

Colossians 2:9-10 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

  1. In Christ Jesus alone, is the fullness of God dwelling in a human body.

This is a reiteration of Paul’s awesome Christological statement in Col 1:15-23 (week 4 of our study)

Col 1:19 For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In the next couple of verses, I want you to (if you feel the freedom to do so) mark all the places in verses 9-15 in your Bible where it references Jesus.  Notice all the places where it says “in or with Him” or “in or with Christ.”

  1. In Christ Jesus alone, we are made complete.

Perhaps one of the most glorious and overwhelming truths of all scripture is that when we lay down our lives and receive Jesus as our Savior, it pleases Him to reside in us through the Holy Spirit.  We talked about this concept 2 weeks ago as we finished chapter 1 of Colossians.

Col 1:27 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.

Eph 1:22-23 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

This concept of being made complete in Jesus, we will discuss further in Day 2 of your homework.

 Colossians 2:11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,

Circumcision was (in the Old Testament) much like baptism (is currently in the New Testament), an outward sign of an inward change. This is what Paul is getting at in verses 11-12.  In physical circumcision, the outer flesh or foreskin is removed as a sign of covenant with God. I actually got to witness the process of circumcision when our son was about a week old.  We took him to a Jewish Mohel, a Rabbi who performs the act of circumcision for all the Jewish babies (and those of us Gentiles who prefer to have our kids at home).  Our reasoning had nothing to do with a religious ceremony; we really just don’t use modern medicine unless it’s an emergency.  But, I will say that I am completely intrigued and taken by the fact that our faith has its very roots in Judaism; I love Israel.  We Gentiles and the Messianic Jews absolutely serve the same God as they do!  May we live in a way that makes them jealous to know our Messiah, Yeshua, and claim His salvation for themselves (Romans 11:11)!

Circumcision is what the LAW required in the Old Testament (OT).  But, because the Lord Jesus fulfilled the Law in total perfection, as most other physical things in the OT, it becomes a heart-thing in the New Testament (NT).  We no longer need animal sacrifice; we had the spotless Lamb of God take our penalty once and for all.  The physical riches promised in the OT become spiritual riches in the NT.  It’s no longer about keeping laws, but believing in the One True Messiah who came to set us free from the law all together, that we might live by faith in Him and be above reproach.  We will see next week in our discussion that Paul addresses this with the Colossians. The Mosaic law required punishment or death for committing adultery; Jesus said if you even look at a woman with lust, you already are guilty of adultery. The stakes are actually higher now, but His grace is completely sufficient on this side of the cross!

  1. In Christ Jesus alone, is the power of our flesh & sin destroyed.

Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

Col 1:22 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.

Romans 4:1-12 talks about Abraham being justified by his faith. Abraham lived BEFORE the Mosaic Law was given to Moses by God. Abraham was justified (saved) because He believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness (Romans 4:4). Abraham had no written law by which to live, he had relationship with the One True God, and he believed and he obeyed Him.

Now, Romans 4:11-12 speaking of Abraham:

He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

In Day 3 of your homework, we will study the circumcision of the heart that Paul refers to here in v. 11. 

Colossians 2:12 Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 

  1. In Christ Jesus alone, we are made right with God, by being buried with Him and then raised to new life with Him. 

There are so many beautiful, awesome scriptures that interpret this verse.  Please fight the temptation to skim these because it’s a long list.  Please slow down.  These are the Words God breathed onto the pages of the Holy Bible.  The reason I can tell you this is because I fight the same temptation when I see a long list of scriptures.  I beg you, slow down, read them one-by-one and let the Holy Spirit move in your heart.  God’s word is alive and active, sharper than any 2-edged sword, it has the power to set people free, to bring clarity where there is confusion, and to replace lies with the truth.

Matt 28:18-20 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Baptism: it’s not an option, we do it as an outward profession of our faith, Jesus commanded it; it’s a picture of what has already happened to us in the Spiritual realm.

Acts 2:24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.

Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.

Eph 1:19-20 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

Eph 2:6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

Col 3:1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

Colossians 2:13-14 And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, GOD made you alive together with Him having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Now, read these verses in the Amplified Bible:

And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions, having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross.

IN HIM the Dead are made ALIVE!!!  The debt has been completely forgiven, oh my my my!!!  Hallelujah!  Thank You, Jesus!!!

6.  In Christ Jesus alone, He made us alive by cancelling our record of debt and nailing it to the cross.

Romans 6:11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

In Ephesians 4:32 and in Colossians 3:13, We are told to fogive others…WHY? BECAUSE He forgave us for everything we ever did or ever will do, how dare we withhold forgiveness from someone else???

In Luke 7:41-43,47 Jesus was in the home of a Pharisee when a sinful woman came in a poured expensive oil on His feet.  He told this parable:

“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?”  Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”… Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

Jesus tells Simon the Pharisee this parable BECAUSE He’s making a point that those who have been forgiven much love much. The problem is, we don’t often see ourselves as we should, as those who have A HUGE Debt that has been forgiven by an innocent Savior.  Jesus cancelled the record of our great debt on the Cross!  Praise His Name!!!

Psalm 103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Isa 38:17Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness;)but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back.

Isa 44:22 I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.

Micah 7:19 He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

Jeremiah 31:34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

What an awesome Savior we have!  Hallelujah again!  Thank You, Jesus!!!

Now, look at verse 14 again.  This “certificate of debt” is a signed IOU, as if in debt under the law;  Bob Utley says it also could be a legal document that a prosecutor drew up to take someone to court; either way it is referring to the Mosaic Law.

The law was not bad, but we as humans are INCAPABLE of being good enough to fulfill and keep every law!  WE NEED GRACE!!!  We need a SAVIOR!!!  The law says “don’t” and we keep “doing”, which keeps us under heavy debt to the Law.  By His Grace, He has paid our debt; which makes this certificate null & void!

And now, “nailing it to the cross” – The Mosaic Law was nailed to the cross with Jesus, He fulfilled and gave our lives back to us completely FREE.

Eph 2:15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Romans 7:6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Colossians 2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.

Listen to this verse in 3 other translations:

NIV: And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

NLT: In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

 AMP: [God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].

  1. In Christ Jesus alone, are Satan and all the powers of darkness disarmed and put to shame.

These are hostile angelic beings, and demons.  Satan now has NO authority in the lives of those who belong to Jesus!!!

Hebrews 2:14-15 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

 2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

I don’t know about you, but all I can think to do is praise Him right now.  There is too much to thank Jesus for and too much evidence of His majesty to just go on to my next task.  I feel so compelled to ask you to stay another 7 minutes, right where you are, click play on the video below and respond to your Savior in praise and worship and adoration and humility.  The words are on the screen as he sings.  Let these words overwhelm you.  Think about what Jesus has done and what He continues to do in your life…Jesus, we love You!!!

Week 6 – Colossians 2:1-7 “Rooted-In and Built-Up in Jesus”

Welcome to Week 6 of our study through the book of Colossians (this marks our halfway point)!  What an amazing gift God gave us though Paul’s letter penned to this little house church full of believers who were in need of instruction and guidance.  Our God sees our needs, and He is there to show His sufficiency no matter where or who we are.  If we will call out to Him, He WILL answer.  It’s Who He is.  He cannot help Himself but respond as Deliverer to the children whom He loves; and aren’t we so glad He does?!  Thank you, Jesus!  Let’s get into Colossians chapter 2, there are 10 points in our notes today from this passage…here are your week 6 notes and 5 days of homework: Col Notes 2.1-7

Colossians 2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,

Slide02

Quick History REMINDER: Laodicea is another town in the same valley, Epaphras started the church, Paul had not been there, and they met at Philemon’s house.  So, when he’s agonizing over them and for the church at Laodicea, Paul is talking about real, live PEOPLE!!!

1.  We can agonize (struggle) in prayer for those we know personally, and those we have never met.(v.1)

This is not agony or struggle without hope in the sense that we might perceive it in the English language.  We can actually biblically agonize for someone.  The Greek word Paul used here is “agon.” It means, “INTENSE care or concern for someone or something; anxiety.

Why do you think Paul would use a word that meant anxiety?  Inevitably, we will all feel anxiety in this life at some point.  When we do, we should immediately turn to Jesus; He is the One who bears our burdens.

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you

I believe this is the point Paul is trying to make.  The proper expression of agony or struggle is in prayer!  The root word for “agon”  is “ago” which means, “to lead by accompanying into a place or to lead with oneself.”  I find this so fascinating and encouraging because Paul was agonizing in prayer for them.  He was boldly coming to the throne of our gracious God for them, showing intense care and concern, and willing to lead with himself.  Paul did not go around telling others they should pray for certain things.  He did it.  He led by example.

When is the last time you agonized for someone you have never met personally (i.e. someone’s testimony of persecution you saw on YouTube, etc.)?   Or maybe someone you have but do not have a current relationship with (i.e. someone from your high school years)?  Are you willing to take the lead for them in prayer?  Often you hear people say that what got them through great difficulty were others standing in the gap for them.  Are you and I the ones who are willing to put ourselves in the place of intercession?

That is what Paul does here. He agonizes in prayer, he takes it straight to the throne of Grace, he contends, he struggles against the powers of darkness and wants people he doesn’t even know to be free.

Now, take a look at verse 2.  It’s full of goodness, so we will break it up into 3 parts.

Colossians 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,

The NLT translates it this way: 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.

2.  We can know that it is God’s will for our hearts to be encouraged (v.2a)

Make no mistake, we are to be encouraged as Believers.  

Encouraged: to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort

No matter how dark things get, no matter the depravity of man, we can KNOW that when we are IN CHRIST (as we talked about last week); we are in a place of security.  He will not loosen His grip on us. I don’t know about you, but that is plenty enough to console my heart and to strengthen my resolve to continue fighting the good fight.  We are commanded in Galatians 6:9 and 1 Thessalonians 3:13 not to grow weary in doing good. Be encouraged, we serve an awesome Savior!

The world is FULL of discouragement.  The Gospel is called the Good News for a reason; let that encourage your heart today.  Now, for the second part of verse 2:

3.  We can know that it is God’s will for us as believers to be knit together in love (v.2b)

The word for “knit together” in the Greek is: symbibazo.  It means, “to cause to join together, unite in affection, to gather, uniting in a conclusion or coming to the same opinion; it is said of the church, as the body of which Christ is the Head.”

Perhaps it’s because I have sat through hundreds of hours of science lectures in my lifetime, but the word “symbiotic” came to mind when I read that word. It’s fitting actually.  Symbiotic means 2 organisms living in close proximity, typically an advantage to both.

Symbibazo (knit together) is used only 2 times in the NT: Colossians 2:2,19; and only 3 times in the OT: Job 10:11, Ps 139:13

Not only are we to be knit together, but Paul makes sure we know that it is a knitting together in love, specifically agape love.  Do you remember studying agape love in WEEK 2?  We looked at Romans 5:5, its the Holy Spirit given kind of Love, and all those examples of what love is in 1 Corinthians chapter 13.

Let’s move to the 3rd part of this verse: I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.

The word for “complete confidence” here at the end of v.2 means, “FULL ASSURANCE, MOST CERTAIN CONFIDENCE.”

4.  We can know that it is God’s will that we know Jesus Christ, and knowing Him is what truly matters on all levels and in all realms (v.2c)

When it comes right down to it really, it’s all about Jesus Christ Himself. Do you know Him?  Do you believe He did what He said He did?  And that He’s who He said He is?  Or, do you believe something else about Him?

It is mysterious when we try to put it all together; how God orchestrated this whole story of creation and salvation and our Savior conquering death and sin.  And, we can have uttermost confidence that what what the Bible says about Him is true.  Not one detail of any prophecy about Jesus has ever been wrong.  Not one detail of anything in the entire Bible has ever proven false.  He is truly all in all and fills all things with Himself.

Colossians 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

5.  It is Jesus Who holds all the treasures of wisdom & knowledge. (v.3)

Paul uses the words as a play on the gnostic false beliefs. It is in Jesus ALONE that all they (the Colossians) and we (modern-day Americans) are wanting is found.

Different translations of God’s Word render the word “hidden” as  “stored up.”   The Amplified Bible uses both “stored up” & “lie hidden.”  Either way – we have full access through Jesus.  When we seek Him – what is hidden becomes revealed.  When Jesus is our chief desire, what is stored up becomes released.

Considering this subject of all wisdom and knowledge, do you ever think about how much you don’t know? I do. It happens daily as I attempt to parent a 3 year old with incredible strength of will!  I get reminded regularly as  I take care of hundreds of people with hundreds of different bad habits and lifestyle choices and I try to help them all feel and function better.  I rarely watch the news, but when I do, I wonder what on earth is going on in the earth…there is indeed a whole, whole lot that I do not know.

And yet, in HIM is hidden or stored up every single thing that I could ever need to know. The more I know Him, the more I will know what I need to know, and the rest I leave in His nail-scarred hands. You remember how Paul said He is supreme over all creation and that all things were created through Him and for Him. That’s all I need to know. I know The Man with the plan.  May these scriptures sooth the aching, struggling neuronal synapses in our tired and over-stimulated brains.

Prov 9:10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

Isa 33:5-6

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness, and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.

Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!  “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”  “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

JOB 38-39 when God answers Job. Read this if you want to fully understand what we do not know, it’s a chapter guaranteed to put us in our place; the place of humility before a holy and righteous and all-knowing God!

Jeremiah 33:3

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

Thankfully, the Lord invites us to ask Him for answers, and He delights to show Himself mighty.  Now, let’s move to verse 4.

Colossians 2:4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.

The NLT calls them “well-crafted arguments.”

6.  We CAN be deceived, but it is God’s will that we would not be swayed from the truth. (v.4)

Bob Utley, in his commentary, notes that Paul is warning them about people using eloquent style and reasoning.  The intellectuals could have fancy words, etc. with which to deceive or mislead the Colossians.  If you listen to the world, there are many well-crafted arguments to convince us that what we have been discussing about Jesus is non-sense, i.e. the storyline in the movie God’s Not Dead.  

There is no superior knowledge you can attain aside from knowing Christ Jesus personally, believing the truth of the Gospel and walking out how He says to live. Period.  That is what keeps us from being deceived.

Increasingly, at the end of days WE MUST FIGHT DECEPTION!!!  We fight deception by KNOWING GOD’S WORD.  That’s EXACTLY how Jesus did it!  Remember in Matthew 4, with every lie of the enemy, Jesus answer with the phrase, “It is written…”  The reality is that our enemy seeks to devour and deceive us.

John 8:44

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

And yet, as deceiving as our enemy is, the reality is that he is defeated and King Jesus already won the victory at the Cross.  I love what Revelation 12:11 says:

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

May you and I be willing to stand for truth in a pluralistic, humanistic world where truth has been made relative.  Nothing about true Christianity is relative or plural.

Colossians 2:5 For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

NLT: For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.

In the KJV, the words used here are “order” and “steadfastness.”  Again, going to the commentaries of Bob Utley, he explains that these words are 2 military terms, indicating the Colossians’ battle.

7.  Let’s rejoice when we see brothers and sisters living right with strong faith in Jesus. (v.5)

Paul’s influence on the Colossians started when he taught Epaphras the truth, and then Epaphras went and spread the gospel in his hometown of Colossae.  You and I do not just have influence on those who live under our roof, we have influence in all kinds of ways.  One of the ways the Lord has been showing me this is in the area of my prayer life, we’ll talk more about that in Day 4 of your homework.  Paul is then overjoyed to hear that they are walking in the truth in which they were taught.  He was far away from them, but his heart was with them.

Who, in your life, is far away from you but your heart is with them?  Isn’t it just the most wondrous news when you hear someone dear to you is believing God and strong in their faith?  I got this kind of news from 2 friends who were my very best friends from 6th grade until our Jr. year of college (until I moved to Dallas and time and space began to separate us).  I got news that one of them had breast cancer in November.  And yet I rejoiced because both of those friends had grown tremendously in their walk with Christ (as had I, praise the Lord!).  Their faith was strong, and it blessed me so much to hear it!  When we talk it is as if no time has passed since we were together.

Let’s be ready to rejoice and praise God when we get reports of others living as they should and strong in their faith!

Colossians 2:6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,

NLT translates that last portion, “you must continue to follow Him.”

8.  It is God’s will that we receive Jesus as Lord and then continue to follow Him. (v.6)

In v. 6, Paul gives them the proverbial, “Keep on keepin’ on!”  I read this quote from Christine Caine not long ago, “It’s easier to start than sustain.”  Do you think that’s true?  It seems so easy to sustain something at the beginning when we are fueled by emotional hype.  But, when happens when the new and exiting wears off?  Are we willing to endure and persist for the long-haul with Jesus?

Greek word for “TO WALK” means:

to make one’s way, progress; to make due use of opportunities; related to the Hebrew word meaning, to live, to regulate one’s life, to conduct one’s self

Do we make our way to Jesus?  Do we make due use of the opportunities He gives us?  Do we regulate our lives by Him?  Do I conduct myself as He did?  These are valid questions, litmus tests if you will, to see if we are walking with Him or walking our own path.

Colossians 2:7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

NLT: Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

9. It is God’s will that we be rooted and built up in Jesus and established in the faith. (v.7a)

The word “ROOTED” here is “to cause to strike root, to strengthen with roots, to render firm, to fix, establish, cause a person or a thing to be thoroughly grounded.”

The only other use of this word in the Bible is Ephesians 3:17:

For context we’ll read Ephesians 3:14-21, it’s one of Paul’s famous run-on sentences so full of greatness you can’t do it justice if you break it up…

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Roots in the TRUTH give strength and staying power.  They provide nourishment and stability.  Roots in the TRUTH are the foundation and the lifeblood.

This concept of letting roots go down into Him goes along with Banning Liebsner’s message at the Inspire Conference I attended in July 2014.  I wanted to share a couple of my notes with you:

“God develops our roots in hiding, not fruit on stage.”

“He develops that structure needed to be able to hold the weight of what is coming”

“God did not develop David in the palace, 1st Samuel 16 he is anointed King by Samuel, then 15 yrs later he becomes King of Judah, then another 7 yrs before he’s King of all Israel.”

“The process is: Seed – Death – Roots – THEN Fruit”

“Longevity matters – long-term fruit matters, it’s more impressive to finish races rather than to just start them”

Paul makes sure that he reiterates to them that the truth they were taught is the truth.  Right?  He is contending against false teachers with eloquent arguments.  He wants the Church at Colossae to be rooted in Jesus, and we should be, too!  Strong roots yield good fruit.  We will get back to that in a moment, but let’s finish verse 7.

10.  It is God’s will that we with overflow with thankfulness. (v.7b)

If you have been with us all 6 weeks here, you can probably guess what that word thankfulness is in the Greek.  It’s a form of “eucharisteo”:  To feel thankful, to be thankful, to give thanks.   Do you remember now?  This is the third time Paul has used some form of this word thus far!  Here he is wanting them to overflow with gratitude.  Not just be filled with it, but to overflow.  When we are filled with gratitude all things change, situations turn a different direction, people are influenced mightily, and God is honored and glorified when thankfulness is our attitude.  We are made whole when we can trust our faithful God and give Him thanks no matter what the cost.

There are 4 directives in v. 7 I want to highlight before we go:

  • deeply planted in Him
  • being continuously built up in Him
  • growing stronger in faith
  • overflowing with thankfulness

All of these are related to our daily walk in Christ Jesus the Lord!  Show me a person who is doing these 4 things…I’ll show you someone who is bearing much fruit to the Glory of our Father!  This is a person who is showing him/herself to be a disciple of Christ Jesus!

Isaiah 58:11

And the Lord will guide you continually
    and satisfy your desire in scorched places
    and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters do not fail.

Isa 61:3b

…that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

And I want to leave us with this awesome segment of God’s Word today…

Jeremiah 17:5-10   Wisdom from the Lord

This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,

who rely on human strength

and turn their hearts away from the Lord.

They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,

with no hope for the future.

They will live in the barren wilderness,

in an uninhabited salty land.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord

and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.

They are like trees planted along a riverbank,

with roots that reach deep into the water.

Such trees are not bothered by the heat

or worried by long months of drought.

Their leaves stay green,

and they never stop producing fruit.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,

and desperately wicked.

Who really knows how bad it is?

10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts

and examine secret motives.

I give all people their due rewards,

according to what their actions deserve.”