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Introduction to Colossians, Part 3

July 30th, 2019

To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. (Colossians 1:2)

The third thing that we notice in this introduction into the letter to the Colossians, was that Paul had the utmost respect for the recipients of the letter. He respected them and esteemed them because of the work that Christ had begun in them. And he felt this way “because of the hope laid up for [them] in heaven” (Col. 1:5). 

The Colossians themselves were made up of the normal stock of the First Century Mediterranean world. His confidence for them did not come from themselves in themselves alone mostly, or even at all, nor from the fine work of a fine young man named Epaphras who had taken the gospel to them. Neither was it invested in his own prowess as an apostle and church builder and disciple maker. 

He knew that fine men and women had invested their lives in them, but neither did he rest in their work alone. His confidence was in God and he knew that once God saved a man He would never let him go. He would strengthen him no matter the cost, and transform him into someone Christlike. What he did not complete here he would complete in heaven.

He stated matter of factly that God powerfully worked in him (Col. 1:29), and that he sought not to serve in his own strength but in the constantly and limitless strength of God. This truth was foundational to his understanding of his mission — both in its goal and in its nature. For God and by God and through God was his understanding of all that he undertook.

Paul did not write to “get something off of his chest.” But to fulfill God’s plan for him and for the Colossians. Here is another element of character and an example for us to follow as well. We serve the Lord in whatever ways He has given us for His purposes, and not for our own. And God’s purposes are often best expressed in the simple idea of building up our brother and sister in Christ. So the words of Paul — “grace to you and peace from God our Father” — were sincere and not a mere expression. 

Follow God’s leading. Bless others. Work with others. And in so doing you and I will fulfill God’s plan for our lives.

 

Colossians, Uncategorized

Sent by Jesus

January 31st, 2019

As the Father sent me, so send I you. (John 20:21)

I would like to reiterate the points I wrote yesterday about the initiative of God in our salvation. In John 5: 17-20, Christ explained how he fulfilled his earthly ministry. He saw where God the Father worked, and then became active in the ministry himself. He said, “The Son can do nothing by himself.” He was totally dependent on the father. And Christ said that the Father showed him what he did because he loved the Son.

Just as the Father was for Christ, so is Christ for us. We can do nothing without Christ (John 15: 5). He will show us what he is doing and invite us to join him on his mission. The question is, of course, how can we know what Christ is doing?

First, we should have a basic knowledge of the Bible, the commandments of Christ to His disciples and the Great Commission. He has commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations. He has commanded us to teach these disciples to obey everything he had taught.

Second, we should be sensitive to the guidance of his Spirit. This was a strong feature of the early Church, that they brought the teachings of Christ to the people to whom God led them. They followed the guidance of the Spirit in their hearts.

Third, we should let God guide us through the circumstances. We find that the early church trusted God in the midst of circumstances they could not control. Sometimes the “circumstances” developed because God’s Spirit had been working through other believers. Sometimes they developed through unbelievers and even people who sought to do evil against the church. But they saw God at work in them nonetheless.

They also used the modern technology of their time. The apostles traveled on ships. They traveled the streets that Rome had built. They wrote and sent letters. They wrote new Christian songs and sang them in worship. They used these practical ways to fulfill God’s plan for them.

So these are four ways we can follow Christ today: know the Bible; listen to the spirit; let Christ speak to us through other believers; and pay attention to the circumstances that he has entrusted to us. And we should not be afraid of change and new technologies.

Are you in the word of God? Do you listen to his Spirit? Are you in good fellowship with other Christians? Do you trust that God is above the circumstances of the world? Are you open to God to find new and modern ways to reach people?

May God bless you!

Uncategorized