The world has very little of it

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Your faith and love have arisen from the hope laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard about in the message of truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as in the entire world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, so it has also been bearing fruit and growing among you from the first day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth. You learned the gospel from Epaphras, our dear fellow slave – a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf – who also told us of your love in the Spirit. Colossians 1.5-8

With what do you identify? When you analyze your thoughts and emotions, what do you find? Do you find that your faith and love have risen? Do you find that you are at the end of a dark tunnel where you see no light at the end? Do you find that you are just maintaining the status quo?

For the Christian, the realization that this world is not our home makes a huge difference. Our hope is in heaven. The gospel that is the message of truth brings us this hope making it possible for our faith and love to grow. Just as Epaphras taught the gospel to the Colossians, we should be teaching and sharing the gospel with all who will listen. This message brings hope to a world that has very little. It is a message that is not stagnant, but living and growing. Just as a seed that is planted sprouts, grows, and bears fruit, the gospel brings about growth in the lives of those who embrace its truth.

There is one other thing about this growth that is important. The gospel must be shared and taught to bring about this growth. The growth is not only for the one being taught, but occurs in the life of the one who is doing the teaching the world over. Are you teaching others about the hope that you have? Do you feel that you have stagnated in your faith? Perhaps you need to start spreading the good news.

#risingjoy #Colossians #gospel

Ebb and flow of beliefs

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2.6-8

There are people who go through life jumping from one belief system to another. In the end, these people are often confused, for many of the systems they have at one time or another staked their lives on had very differing and often opposite conclusions. The ebb and flow of their beliefs leave them with a feeling of instability.

Paul encourages the Colossians who have received Christ Jesus to continue to live in him. He even warns them from being captivated by empty, deceitful philosophies that draw a person away from the teaching of Christ. We must be like the Bereans in Acts 17.11 who examined the scriptures every day to see if what was being taught was in line with what the Bible teaches.

When we make this our practice, our faith will grow and become stronger. We will become like the tree in Psalm 1.3 that is planted by flowing streams. It is healthy with a good root system that sustains it during the time of storm. Our thankfulness will overflow!

#risingjoy #Colossians #beliefs

The importance of knowing God’s will

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” (Colossians 1:9-12 NKJV)

A few things are worth noting from this short section of scripture when it comes to the importance of knowing God’s will:

  • It was necessary to their walking pattern with God
  • It was necessary to working fruitfully for God
  • It was necessary to avoid wavering without the strength supplied by God
  • It was necessary to a willful thankfulness for the accomplishments of God

Living a life void of the knowledge of God’s will in the 21st century is no more beneficial than it was during the 1st century. Therefore it easy to see why Paul’s desire for the church at Colossi (and Laodicea – Colossians 4:16) remains the desire of the Holy Spirit for all of the church today.

It’s not enough to know that God has a will – it’s knowing that God’s will would have us know and believe what that will for us is as individuals and as the collective church.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2 NKJV)

 

#Colossians #will-of-God

Focus on the spiritual realm

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3.2,3

It is so easy to get caught up in the mundane things that we have to do on a daily basis. Our work, our studies, our lives become the focus so often of our thoughts and consequently of our actions. For us to change, we have to take a step back and look up. These things are indeed important. But they are not the most important! Paul encouraged the Colossians to keep thinking about things above. Our focus needs to be on the spiritual realm which is where the true value of our lives needs to exist. Why? Here on this earth there is so much evil in existence. We get discouraged so easily with the barrage of negative information that we receive. We can come to the conclusion that it is not worth the effort to live for God. It is so easy to focus on that and lose sight of the fact that we are not of this world. Even the day-to-day same-old same-old can take our focus off of what is important and become drudgery! Which can lead us to forget where our focus should be. In Hebrews 12.2 we are encouraged to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus who is the pioneer (he paved the way) and perfecter (he completed the task) of our faith. He has already walked the path and he can show us the way! That is cause for joy.

#risingjoy #important #Colossians

How to deal with situations according to truth

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it. Colossians 3.9,10

Earlier in chapter 3, Paul had listed sins that the Christians were to remove from their lives. Interesting that in this verse, he specifies not to lie to one another. As a Christian I must strive to change my ways from sinful deeds to righteous ones. That includes my tongue. James 3.1-6 warns us about the power of the tongue. It is capable of great good as well as extreme damage. In one of my jobs in the past, I met a young woman who had lied so much that she no longer knew what the truth was. She would contradict herself repeatedly during any conversation. To avoid conflict, many times we will tell a little white lie. What I need to remember is that in God’s eyes, no lie is little. It is a lie, a sin. What if someone you know is doing something that is sinful? Do you have the courage to speak up and stand for the truth or do you tell yourself that it is none of your business? As a Christian, I must change from the old way of life. For some of us, that is more difficult. But as a new man I have that ability. I am renewed in knowledge. I learn how to deal with situations according to truth. Jesus gives me that capacity. I am renewed according to his image. He makes it possible.

#risingjoy #Colossians #lying

Notes on Colossians 4.7

As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information, Col 4.7 NASB.

Today’s MOST Bible verse is Col 4.7. Most Bible versions prefer translating the Greek word διάκονος as “minister” rather than its general sense, “servant.” Why is that? (A few, mostly off-versions, translate it as “deacon.”) Are they tainted by a clergy mindset, since “minister” has become an official title? Or is it simpler, considering that the third noun is σύνδουλος, which most translate as “fellow(-)servant”, and the versions prefer not to translate it a slave, to avoid “servant” twice in the same phrase? NASB doesn’t have a problem with that, however. Continue reading

#colossians, #servants, #tychicus

MOST: Paul describes Tychicus

Meditate on this verse:

As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information, Colossians 4.7 NASB.

Offer this prayer:

Heavenly Father, make me worthy of such fine descriptions as Paul made about Tychicus. Help me to dedicate myself to the saints. Lead me to work alongside dedicated laborers in the Kingdom. Hold me up to serve the gospel without fail.

Savor this thought:

Dedication is a rare trait that will make you stand head and shoulders above others in God’s eyes.

Take this action:

Find a way you can help someone do a task today, rather than taking your own initiative.

#most #Colossians #Tychicus

You have been filled in him, Colossians 2.9-10

“For in [Christ] all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”

Colossians 2.9-10

Christ’s physical fullness brings to his followers spiritual fullness. He is supreme. Nothing prevents him from filling his followers with his life.

How to realize this fullness? By developing our love for him and his people. By strengthen our hope in his coming. By growing in faith that all will be fulfilled in his time.

#votd #Colossians #fullness

Everyone: Colossians 1.28

“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”

Colossians 1.28 ESV

Paul states the purpose of his work in these terms. The Christian’s mission is sharing the gospel. The target, “everyone,” is stated three times in one verse. By “all wisdom” he refers to the full truth of salvation.

Am I hiding the gospel by not sharing with everyone? Am I speaking all God’s wisdom to people? Is Christ my proclamation? Is my goal to see everyone a mature saint in Christ?

#votd #Colossians #mission

Do not lie to one another: Colossians 3.9-10

“Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it.”

Colossians 3.9-10

Lying belongs to the old way of life. Christians have turned over a new leaf. God is renewing and transforming them. So they must live following the image or example of Christ.

Fear hides behind many a lie. Some people are just malicious. Do not we know better? God is true and cannot lie. The truth of the gospel precludes our use of lies. Watch your tongue!

#votd #Colossians #lying

Open a door

“At the same time pray for us too, that God may open a door for the message so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.”

Colossians 4.3

The apostle Paul asked for prayers for his work of proclaiming Christ. He had urged the Colossians to be alert in prayer, v. 2. Among many subjects of prayer, the greatest is the spread of the gospel.

Where is your prayer list of people who spread the gospel? How many people who need to obey do you pray for? What doors might God open through your prayers?

#votd #Colossians #prayer

Do not let anyone judge: Colossians 2.16 VOTD

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days—”

Colossians 2.16

Since it’s impossible to prevent others from criticizing or making judgments, what did Paul mean by not letting anyone judge the saints when it came to food or drink or observance of special days? He meant they should not be bothered or swayed by others who might judge them in this way, by standards that differ from the gospel truth.

Why is it we sometimes feel pressured to conform to a twisted vision of faith that others insist on?

#judging #Colossians #VOTD

Textual parallels in Ephesians and Colossians

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eph-col-parallels

#bible-study, #colossians, #ephesians, #textual-parallels

Short introduction to Colossians

“The theme of Ephesians is ‘The church of the Christ, while the theme of Colossians is ‘The Christ of the church'” (credit: Terry Jones).

While Ephesians has in mind the supremacy of the Lord’s church in the eternal plan of God (Eph. 3:10-11), Colossians has in mind the supremacy of Christ over all things (Col. 1:15-20).

It is the pleasure of the Godhead that every Divine purpose be fulfilled in the One called “Jesus” (v.19; cf. 2:9). It is through His supreme, sacrificial offering alone that humanity may be reconciled to the Creator (v.20). It is through Him that the riches of God’s grace are manifest (1:25-28). He holds the key to all spiritual wisdom and knowledge (2:2-3).

Only Christ can “cut off” our sin, raising us from the dead through faith and baptism in His name (2:11-13). Only Christ can overthrow empty, insufficient world views, and bring us into the realm of true worship (2:18-23).

He is now at the right hand of God, but He will return in glory, ushering an eternal, bodily resurrection for those who have put their trust in Him (3:1- 4).

His faithful ones live exemplary lives — honest, unbiased, holy, merciful, kind, humble, meek, patient, and charitable (3:8-14). They have peace, because they seek to please Him (3:17). Christ permeates every realm of the Christian’s life (3:18-4:1).

An interesting side note: the Colossian letter gives us insight into how the early church received and circulated inspired letters, “And when this epistle is read amongst you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea” (4:16).

Rick Kelley, Prestonsburg (KY) Informer

#colossians, #nt-introduction, #pauls-epistles

I pinched myself in my sleep

Remember that saying about pinching yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming? Well, last Saturday night I woke myself up because I’d pinched my arm in my sleep. I have a good bruise from it. First time ever I’ve done that.

I don’t remember dreaming about anything that might have led me to pinch myself. But maybe I was dreaming about the days when our children were small. (Ever pinched your child as discipline? Not my norm, but I think I may have done it once or twice.) Or maybe I was dreaming about pinching The Missus, but I probably wouldn’t have done it on her arm.

So Sunday morning, as I had the communion meditation, I talked about it being God’s way of letting us pinch ourselves to make sure we’re not dreaming. I told about pinching myself. Though I left out the part about any dream of pinching The Missus. I didn’t want to distract people.

I introduced Eph 1.3-11 as a single grammatical sentence, a piling-on of blessings from being in Christ. I actually read verse 3 only, since our time was running out, but characterized the passage as Paul pinching himself, in a way, almost not believing all we have in the Lord. All as illustration, of course.

So when you pinch off a piece of that bread, said I, pinch yourself, spiritually, not physically, and tell yourself that you’re not dreaming. Christ is real, and the hope, faith, love, power, and purpose that we have in him are real as well.

• A brother asked about “spiritual understand” and “wisdom” in Col 1.9. Here are my edited comments, which might be useful to someone else, somewhere.

BDAG gives this definition for sunesis (understanding) in Col 1.9: “understanding such as God grants to God’s own.” Sophia  (wisdom) seems to have a more practical turn than Robertson/Abbott allow; not only about general principles but how to make right decisions depending on the situation. Though one might argue in this context, at the beginning of Colossians, for a more theological meaning over a moral and practical one.

IOVC says of the two: “The knowledge for which the author pleads (vs. 9) is that insight into truth granted by the powerful working of God (vs. 11) to those who are open to spiritual wisdom.This wisdom expresses itself concretely in the life of the believer who increases in knowledge as his life bears fruit ‘in active goodness of every kind’ (vs. 10 NEB; cf. 3:10).”

These terms were possibly used by false teachers, but Paul rescues them from their twisting hands to put them into the lives of the Colossians. What a saint knows he lives, in communion with God. Such knowledge adds tread to his walking shoes.

• Which reminds me: I hear all the time, and I heard it last Sunday again, the words “difficult” and “complicated” applied to the Christian life. I’ve ranted and raved about this, to no avail, yet, apparently. “Complicated” is a code word for “impossible.” The excuse for inaction is that it’s “difficult.” But come now: If we have all spiritual blessings in Christ, and if in Christ all the fulness of God has been deposited for our access, and if the kingdom of God is home for his little ones who have no theological degrees nor knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, how can we say the way of Christ is difficult and complicated? Continue reading

#colossians, #communion-meditations, #corollaries, #movies