ROUTE 66, Week 4, The Book of Colossians

I. Colossians: A Church in TroubleRoute 66 Logo for Web.001

  1. Author? Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Colossae
  1. Paul had never been to the city,  yet he is helping them Grow!
  2. ——This helps explain the personal greetings he included at the end of the letter, a practice he usually reserved for letters to churches he had not visited.

God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you.” Colossians 1:25

  1. Paul sought to develop personal connections!

B. When?  AD 60–61, during his first imprisonment in Rome

Paul wrote this letter to the Colossian church after he had received a report that they were struggling with a christological heresy.  They were in trouble (false teaching about Jesus was creeping in.)

“I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally.  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.” Colossians 2:1-2

  1. Who? The report came from Epaphras, likely the leader of the church at Colossae and a convert of Paul’s from his more than two-year ministry in Ephesus!! 
  1. Epaphras had come to Rome in part to serve Paul during his imprisonment (Philemon 1:23) but also to confide in him regarding the dangerous teachings the Colossians were hearing.
  2. ——So Paul sent this letter, along with the letters to Philemon and to the Ephesians, with Tychicus, accompanied by Onesimus (Colossians 4:7; Philemon 1:10–12). Tychicus was a coworker of Paul who would have been able to help the Colossian believers understand and apply the apostle’s teachings in the letter.

II. Why is Colossians so important?

  1. The church at Colossae was under attack from False teachers!!
    1. They were Denying that Jesus is God.

But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.” Colossians 1:23

2. They were Teaching Worldly Non-Sense

Well-Crafted Arguments and High-Sounding Nonsense!!

“I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments.”        Colossians 2:4

“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” Colossians 2:8

    1. Jesus Christ as Creator and Redeemer are nonnegotiable, so Paul wrote to them that he might bring his wisdom to bear on this difficult and trying situation.
    2. It was critical to him that this church know Jesus in His Greatness and Glory, rather than in the deficient view given them by the false teachers.

“I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.” Colossians 2:2

I think we can learn a great deal from this story about Leonardo da Vinci:

Leonardo da Vinci took a friend to criticize his masterpiece of the ‘Last Supper,’ and the remark of the friend was, ‘The most striking thing in the picture is the cup!’ The artist took his brush and wiped out the cup as he said, ‘Nothing in my painting shall attract more attention than the face of my Master!’

III. What’s the big idea?

  1. The True Nature of Christ was Being Challenged 
  1. Paul writes a powerful statement to re-focus the Believers on Christ

“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.  Everything was created through him and for him.  He existed before anything else,  and he holds all creation together.  Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body.  He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.  For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ.”  Colossians 1:15-19

  1. Paul presented Christ as the Center of the Universe!
  1. Jesus is the Active Creator, Christ was and is the visible image of the invisible God, containing within Himself the fullness of Deity.

“For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” Colossians 2:9

  1. The false teachers were saying that Jesus was just a regular human
  2. Sadly, the same things are being taught today by Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims, and many others cults and world religions

—- Because of His divine nature, Jesus is sovereign, above all Things. with an authority given Him by the Father. As such, Jesus is also Head over the church. He has reconciled all things to Himself through His death on the cross, making believers alive to God and setting them on the path to right living. This proper view of Christ served as the antidote for the Colossian heresy as well as a building block for Christian life and doctrine both then and now.

C. The All Sufficient Christ—More claims about Jesus in Colossians

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, many things are said about the all sufficiency of Jesus Christ. These statements tie in well with John’s first chapter.

Remember what we heard from John 1:1,

“In the beginning The Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

1. Every Human Being Can Be Made Complete in Christ – Colossians 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.”

Paul proclaimed Christ to “every person”, and his goal was to present every human complete in Christ. The work of Christ is applicable to everyone.

2. All the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge are Hidden in Christ

“In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  Colossians 2:3 

3. All Things Are Under the Authority of Christ

“So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” Colossians 2:10

4.  All Our Sins Are Forgiven Through Christ

“Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.” Colossians 2:13

Also…..All Believer’s are Free from the Powers of this World because of Christ

“You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world.” Colossians 2:20

  

IV. How do I apply this? (ch 3)

“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 3:1

  1. Your view of Jesus Christ impacts every area of your life.  Jesus is our life, he is the one who who died for Us and He is the one we live for.
  2. Paul’s view was different. He saw that the christological problems in the Colossian church had practical importance as well.

Believers have died with Christ; therefore, we need to die to our sins.

We have also been raised with Christ; therefore, we must live well in Him and put on qualities that are motivated by Christian love.

And because He is Lord over all, the life of the Christian is a life of submission to Jesus.

  1. Are you following after Jesus as you should? Our faith in Jesus Christ should transform the relationships we have in every area of our lives—in our homes, our churches, and our world.

B.  Paul’s Writes from Theology to Practice to Fruit.

Knowledge of God, Please Jesus, Life will Produce 

Know God, Live Like Jesus, Harvest a Crop.   

Abide, Love, Produce

We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.  Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to  know God better and better.” Colossians 1:9-10

Hosea 9:16, “The people of Israel are struck down. Their roots are dried up, and they will bear no more fruit.”

Galatians 5:22-23, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

John 15:7, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

What you believe leads to how you live.  The more you learn about Christ the more you’ll act like Christ. 

V. PRAYER AND GREETINGS (ch 4)

2 Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart…

5 Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity…  6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

  1. Paul writes notes encouragements, orders and greetings to a whole collection of New Testament leaders

“After you have read this letter, pass it on to the church at Laodicea so they can read it, too.  And you should read the letter I wrote to them.  And say to Archippus, ‘Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.’  HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL. Remember my chains. May God’s grace be with you.” Colossians 4:16-18