October 8, 2020
DO YOU REDEEM THE TIME WITH THOSE OUTSIDE THE FAITH? Live with godly wisdom toward those who are outside the faith. Let them see Christ in you. Remember that you were once an “outsider” too, but Christ has brought you near. Season your conversation with grace, asking the Spirit to give you wisdom on how
October 4, 2020
LIFE’S MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION ANSWERED Most philosophers would say that the most important question is: “What is the meaning of existence?” More specifically, “Who am I and what is my purpose?” Or as the French would say, what is our “raison d’être?” (“reason of being”). In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, the central question
October 7, 2019
LET THE PEACE OF CHRIST UMPIRE YOUR HEART Paul said that we are to let the peace of Christ “rule.” The Greek word for rule is βραβευέτω (brabeuetō). It literally means to “umpire, arbitrate, to let make the call.” When our circumstances appear to overwhelm us, we are to let the peace, the “shalom,” of
October 6, 2019
DO YOU FEEL SOMETHING IS MISSING IN YOUR LIFE? In contrast to the emptiness of the world’s wisdom, Paul taught that believers are “complete” (“full to capacity”) through their union with Christ. This is not the same as the command to “be filled,” but a truth to know. Those who are united with Christ have
October 5, 2019
THE GOAL OF DISCIPLESHIP: CHRISTLIKENESS Paul’s goal for the Colossians and for everyone to whom he preached is here revealed: that he might present them to God as “perfect” (fully mature, finished, complete) in Christ. He did not stop at just introducing people to Christ. No, Paul used every faculty available to him, “warning and
October 4, 2019
THE FRUIT OF THE GOSPEL IS CHANGED LIVES! Paul used personification in describing the “Good News” (“Gospel”) as being like a world traveler that had brought the news of “God’s wonderful grace,” not only to Colossae, but also “going out all over the world.” He quickly changed metaphors and described the Good News as being
October 8, 2018
DOES YOUR CONDUCT AND CONVERSATION LINE UP WITH YOUR FAITH?
In the context of the previous verse, in which Paul told the Colossians to conduct themselves wisely around unbelievers, he went on in this verse to give them instructions concerning their conversation around unbelievers as well. He taught them that their conduct and conversation should line up with their faith, so that those who are not believers might be moved to ask about the hope that they have.
Paul gave two attributes and one goal for our conversation when unbelievers are present:
1) Let your conversation be gracious. Our words should carry the beauty and blessing that comes with the favor God has shown us.
2) Let your conversation be attractive. Literally, “seasoned with salt.” Salt is something we add to our food for added flavor. What would make our words taste better, so that they are attractive? Blessing people with the “salty” truths of God’s Word.
Be prepared to give the right response concerning the hope you have in Christ. When our conversation is gracious and attractive and our conduct is wise, unbelievers want to know why. This is the opportunity for gospel sharing. As the apostle Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15).
October 7, 2018
ARE YOU SPIRITUALLY JET-LAGGED?
Paul encouraged the Colossians believers to set their hearts and minds on things above, pulling them off the things of earth. He wanted them to focus on things that are eternal, not the temporal things that will not last. He encouraged them to remember that their lives are already hidden in Christ, and that Christ would soon return.
In a few weeks, those of us in the Eastern US will reset our clocks from DST to EST. We will “fall back” an hour. For a few days we will feel as though we got an extra hour sleep, but then we will quickly adapt to the new time. It only requires a small adjustment. But when we travel to Africa or Indonesia or some other far away place to visit our missionary partners, the adjustment is much more severe. We experience jet lag. Our bodies might be in Uganda, but our internal clocks are still in North Carolina! It can be very disorienting.
But I’ve learned that it helps alleviate jet lag to start setting your time on your destination as soon as you get on the plane. We may not have taken off yet, but we can go ahead and set our clocks on our destination’s time.
Where’s your focus today? Dear believer, your life is already hidden in Christ, yet your body is still here on earth. Why not go ahead and set your sights on the realities of heaven? Let the things of earth “grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
October 6, 2018
FOLLOWING CHRIST IS NOT ABOUT RULES BUT RELATIONSHIP
Paul warned the believers in Colossae that asceticism, while it gives the appearance of wisdom, offers no help in conquering evil desires. In fact, following a list of “don’ts” might cause a deeper longing for the thing denied. At the very least, it can lead to a kind of spiritual pride, so that the ascetic feels superior to those addicted to the things of the flesh.
The truth is, the more I focus on not doing something, the more I think about that something that I’m not doing. So, what is the answer? “Put off” the old nature which lost its power over you when received Christ. Count it dead, crucified with Christ. And immediately “put on” the new nature, which is yours in the risen Christ. Remember that in Christ there is no longer any condemnation. All your sins are forgiven. You are no longer a slave to sin, but a bondservant of Christ. You belong to Christ Jesus.
Following Christ is not about religious rule-keeping, but about walking in the new relationship we have as children of God in Christ Jesus.
October 5, 2018
PAUL’S AGONY FOR BELIEVERS
Paul often “agonized” for the believers in towns and cities where he had been before, but had left behind in order to carry the gospel to other places. Colossae was one of these places. Located in the province of Asia Minor (Modern day Turkey), Colossae was the least of three cities found in the Lycus valley, the other two, Hieropolis and Laodicea, being more prominent. Although we have no record of who planted the church in Colossae, the apostle Paul certainly must have passed through this area on one of his many missionary journeys. In fact, he spent three years ministering in the city of Ephesus, which was only 119 miles from Colossae or a week’s travel on foot. Yet, Paul agonized over the saints in places like Colossae and Laodicea, which he named in the verse above.
What did Paul mean by saying he “agonized” over them? Perhaps the best understanding is found in Dr. Strong’s definition of the Greek word, ἀγών (“agon”), as an “intense solicitude or anxiety.” Paul wrestled in his prayers and thoughts over the believers in Colossae, Laodicea and even those he didn’t know personally. What a heart Paul had for the sheep the Great Shepherd had entrusted to him!
Today, the sites of Hieropolis, Laodicea and Colossae are in ruins, with Colossae only being marked by a sign on what archaeologists call a “tel” (“An unexcavated mound”). The places may now lie in ruins, but the people that placed their trust in Christ are now in that everlasting city not made by human hands.