Archive for the ‘Colossians’ Category

Divert from Reading Plan for Col. 1:24-2:3

Tomorrow at Women’s Bible Study we will be looking at Colossians 1:24-2:3 together, and in preparation for that I am diverting from Malachi tonight to look at this portion of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Colosse.
And we start off with a bang. I love to use this verse in opening up conversations with believers, just by asking “what do you think Colossians 1:24 means? Is there some lack in Christ?”
Well, one thing we know, this word afflictions is never used of the suffering of Jesus on the cross. Most commentators see this as a reference to the affliction Jesus endured in ministry. These afflictions are not yet complete, and in this sense Jesus still “suffers” as He ministers through His people, the Church.
Notice that Paul didn’t suffer for himself the way that an ascetic might. Instead he suffered for the sake of the body of Christ.
Ascetics focus on their holiness, on their spiritual growth, and on their perfection. Paul followed in the footsteps of Jesus, and was an others-centered person. Instead, Paul found holiness, spiritual growth, and maturity when he pursued them for others.
In the Biblical sense, a mystery is not a riddle. It is a truth that can only be known by revelation, not intuition. Now it can be known, because it now has been revealed to His saints.
The wonder and glory of the abiding, indwelling Jesus was not clearly revealed in the Old Testament – especially that He would abide in the Gentiles. Therefore, this aspect of the work of Jesus in His people was a mystery that wasn’t revealed until the time of Jesus and the apostles.
This is the Christian’s hope of glory. It isn’t our own hard work or devotion to God, or the power of our own spirituality. Instead, it is the abiding presence of Jesus: Christ in you.
This was the focus of Paul’s preaching. He didn’t preach himself, or his opinions, or even lots and lots of entertaining stories. He preached Jesus.

Some translate warning “counseling.” It means, “to impart understanding,” “to lay on the mind or the heart.” The stress is on influencing not only the intellect, but also the will and disposition. It describes a basic means of education.
The goal of Paul’s ministry was to bring people to maturity in Christ, not dependence upon himself.
Paul’s work was empowered by God’s mighty strength and energy. 
Chapter 2
This great conflict was inside Paul (I have for you). It wasn’t that Paul fought with others about the Colossian Christians. Paul described his spiritual warfare and heartfelt care for the Colossians as a great conflict. 
  • Paul was concerned about their enthusiasm, because he longs that their hearts may be encouraged. Paul knew that discouraged, downcast Christians are easy prey for the world, the flesh, and the devil.
  • Paul was concerned about their unity, because he wanted to see them being knit together in love. The unity wouldn’t come from coercion, but love.
  • Paul was concerned about their understanding, because he wanted them to gain all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God.

The term mystery of God is used in a few different ways in the New Testament. Here, Paul uses the term regarding the character and person of God – something we could not know unless it were revealed by Him.

Real riches are found in the believer’s full assurance
It’s not wrong to seek after wisdom and knowledge; but we must seek it all in Jesus.
So much more to this portion, but I am struck foremost by the fullness we have in Jesus Christ, and not just in one arena, like spiritually, or mystically, or emotionally. But in every arena. ALL the FULLNESS dwells in Christ and He in us! O the riches!
Lord Jesus, thank You that when we suffer, You feel it, You are intimately acquainted with it. There is just something comforting about knowing we are that closely connected.

Also, Father, as St. Philip’s attempts to go Beyond Ourselves and into the Bright Zone, I pray we would be faithful to Jesus and to them. That it would be more than just a social outreach, but like Paul, we would counsel, teach and proclaim the glorious riches of Christ! Equip us O Lord, and use us. 

I pray especially for the Birds, Brinkmans, Babbilis, Goforths, Harringtons, Harrisons, Lundes, Mazrie-Goltehebrath and Wintons. That You would be their Wonderful Counselor, their Prince of Peace, and Mighty God. We all need power during this time of our nation. We desire Your energy to be working in us! Give us a glimpse of what it is to be in conflict for someone else, rather than ourselves, by Your power. In Jesus’ name, Amen!