Spiritual Wisdom and Understanding (Colossians 1:9) “Paul prayed that the believers ‘might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.’ His use of the very terms employed by the heretics probably startled his readers . . . Paul demonstrated such knowledge was available to all of the believers, not just to a privileged few . . .” Gromacki, New Testament Survey, p. 271
Every “Good” Work Greek Word is “agathos” Describes that which, being good in its character, or constitution, is beneficial in its effect; it is used of things physical (tree, ground, etc), in a moral sense, frequently of persons and things. Can we name some “good” works?
Deeds of the Flesh v.Fruit of the Spirit(Galatians 5:16-26) While walking by the Spirit, we will not carry out the deeds of the flesh Flesh sets desire against the Spirit; and Spirit against the flesh Led by Spirit, not under Law Deeds of Flesh are evident (5:19-21) Fruit of the Spirit (5:22-26)
Heresies Addressed By Paul Legalism of Judaism over whether Gentiles were required to eat certain foods, get circumsized, and celebrate Jewish holy-days. Gnosticism/Essene Teachings
Paul’s Responses to Heresies (1:15-22) A. He is the “image of the invisible God.” (1:15) B. In Him “all things were created.” (1:16) C. . . . through Him things “created.” (1:16) D. . . . for Him things “created.” (1:16) E. He is “before all things.” (1:17) F. He is the “head of the body, the Church . . . the beginning; the firstborn from the dead.” (1:18) G. . . . in Him all God’s fullness dwells. (1:19) H. . . . through Him “all things . . . “ (1:20) I. . . . through Him “peace” . . . (1:20) J. He has now “reconciled.” (1:22) K. . . . before Him “presented holy and blameless.” (1:22) Descriptions of Jesus Christ
Paul’s Responses to Heresies (1:15-19) A. He could not be the exact representation, or image of God unless He is God. (1:15) B. “Firstborn” indicates His priority before all creation. (1:15) C. “By Him were all things created” signifies that He took part in Creation; He did not create Himself. (1:16) D. Not only did He create all things, these things were created “for Him.” (1:16) E. “He is before all things,” indicates His pre-incarnate state of deity. Now incarnate, all deity dwells in Him. (1:17) F. He maintains Creation and holds it together. (1:17) G. He is the “head of the Church, firstborn from the dead; Only One raised in a glorified body.” (1:18) H. Jesus Christ is “preeminent in all things.” (1:18) I. Jesus is 100% God and 100% man; He is the “full fullness.” (1:19) Statements Concerning the Person
Proto-tokos v. Proto-ktistos The question . . . Is Jesus the Firstborn, the heir of all things created, or is He the first created thing of all creation?
Colossians 1:24 We find Paul rejoicing in his own sufferings. What does he mean by this? How does James 1:2 coincide with Colossians 1:24? “Consider it all joy, My Brethren, when you encounter various trials.”
James 1:2 “My Brethren” James immediately points to those he is writing to as equals. He never uses his position of authority as a position to abuse power. His humility as a servant is grounded in Christ.
“Consider it all joy” How can it be joyful or even profitable for us when we meet trials? This entire passage focuses on the development of the Christian character.
“Joy” From the Greek word kara. Literally means gladness and being joyful. T Trials are the cause for occasions of which there is to be joy. Matthew Henry writes: “Philosophy may instruct men to be calm under their troubles; but Christianity teaches them to be joyful, because such exercises proceed from love and not fury in God.”
Back to Colossians 1:24 Let’s examine the following texts: 2 Timothy 2:3 1 Peter 1:20-25 Philippians 1:27-30
Colossians 1:25 Paul became a minister according to God’s purpose, and to accomplish God’s will.
Colossians 1:26 God’s Word, in its fullness, is equated with a mystery. Paul contrasts this mystery of the ages with that of the teachings of the Gnostics. The major difference here is that all saints have complete access to this mystery, not merely those of a higher intellectual plane.
Colossians 1:27 God willed to make known to the Colossians the riches and glory in Christ In what ways did these riches become known? How was this “revelation” different from those secret revelations claimed by the Gnostics?
Colossians 1:28 What is Christian maturity? What are some biblical, and personal characteristics of this maturity? Let’s revisit James 1:1-16
James 1:1-16 What are the marks of a mature, effective Christian? What about the opposite? Habit 1: Dichotomize Your Life. Truly ineffective Christians apportion their lives into secular and sacred components.Habit 2: Make tolerance your god. Accept anything and everything. All viewpoints are not only valid but also equal.Habit 20: Seek the quick, self-help solution. Look for easy answers. Trust your instincts.
Colossians 1:29 Paul states that he labors according to God’s power What is the difference in our culture between “labor” and “work”?
Colossians 2:1 Paul seeks to identify with those who are struggling and to be certain those believers know he is with them in their struggles.
Colossians 2:2 Paul relates the purpose of their “struggles” together What joins the Colossians to Paul, in terms of struggles? What is to be the result of “struggling”?
Colossians 2:3 Paul draws a direct contrast to the things that are claimed to be hidden by Gnosticism, and the “treasures of wisdom” available for all in Christ. In your mind, what are “treasures of wisdom and knowledge?”
Colossians 2:4 ~How persuasive are some of the heresies and false teachings that are found in the church? ~What persuasive teachings exist in culture that believers would do well to avoid? ~Ever heard someone speak, know there was error in there somewhere, but were unable to decipher the actual error at the moment?
Colossians 2:5 ~Paul was rejoicing from afar with the Colossians for their Christian character. ~How important is Christian stability to those who are watching? ~When trials come, what security does it provide to know that mature believers have been through similar circumstances?
Closing Question What have we ascertained about the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1—2:5?