Colossians 1:1-29 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The Supremacy of Christ
Comments for Study 1

Colossians 1:1-29
Memory Verse: 20


I. Thanksgiving and Prayer (1-14)

>1. Who is the sender of this letter?

* Colossians 1:1-2 "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father."

* "Paul" -Paul persecuted the church until Jesus called him to service for God. Paul is not recorded to ever visit Colosse. He wanted to travel through Asia Minor, the region Colosse is in on his second missionary trip; but the Holy Spirit kept him from going through the area. (Acts 15:40-18:23). During his third missionary trip he traveled through the area and may have stopped in a neighboring town, Laodicea. (Acts 19:1) During the third trip Paul stayed a long time in Ephesus, the capital of the area Colosse is located in. At that time Colosse was pioneered by a man, it is believed, converted by Paul. (Acts 18:23-21:17) At the end of his third missionary journey Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and taken as prisoner to Rome (Acts 23:23-26:32). During the time Paul was in house arrest and wrote this letter himself. (4:18) See the Introduction for the time frame and more background information.

* "Timothy" -Timothy had joined Paul on his second missionary journey. He may have been to Colosse while Paul was in neighboring towns especially on Paul's third missionary trip. Timothy was with Paul when he was arrested in Jerusalem, though he was not arrested. Timothy followed Paul to Rome.

* "To the holy" -Holy and saint mean the same thing. A saint is someone who has been sanctified, made holy, purified by the Jesus' blood, not because of good conduct. Israelites were called holy, separated, and consecrated. (Ex. 19:6; Deut. 7:6, 14:2,21; Dan. 7:8,22) The Christian church has inherited the title and the privileges of the Israelite nation. So are you a saint or a ain't? If the latter, what are you waiting for? Admit your sin and helpless state, turn to God in humble repentance and ask for his forgiveness and for him to become the Lord of your life giving him complete control.

* "faithful" -Meaning to have faith continually. True faith is faith without end. (Heb. 11:1-2, 13)

* "brothers in Christ" -In Jesus all believers are brothers no matter what race, age, gender, social status, place in church, place in society, wealth or lack of, time that they lived in, and no matter what we are all related.

* "in Christ Jesus" -We are in Jesus. We are not above, below, beside, or around Jesus. We are in Jesus. Paul stated that true believers are in the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12:27, Eph. 4:12) Jesus said, "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." (John 14:20)

* "Colosse" -See introduction for a brief summary of the town and congregation there. Also, two questions below deal with how and when they heard the gospel.

* "God our Father" -Jesus told his disciples to refer to God as our Father when we pray. We are brothers and have a heavenly Father.

* Paul was in his first Roman imprisonment as recorded in Acts 28 when he wrote at least 4 letters. The letter to the congregation in Colossal is his first.

Verses 9b thru 12 is one long sentence full of great knowledge and encouragement. Being long makes this hard to grasp in one reading. Here, Paul lays out how to be truly happy and joyful. I, like all want to be truly happy and joyful. Thus, I seek to know what Paul is trying to say.

First, Paul wanted them to be filled with the knowledge of God's will. The Holy Spirit gives wisdom and understanding to know God's will. This is why I try to take time for meditation with God via Examin Meditation's 5 steps. However, lately I have not taken time to stop and do this

Paul knew that once they knew God's will they would live it. Living God's will means pleasing him (10). In general, God's will for his children is doing good works and growing in the knowledge of him. "Knowledge" here is not just head knowledge. It is experiencing God. This is the difference between knowing of a famous actor and knowing my children. So I understand meditation to know God's will includes personal communion with God.

Living in God and his will guarantees I experience his character. This includes his power (11). God's power is the source of endurance and patience (11). These are refreshing because at times living in God's will is not externally pleasant and not personally desired, like Paul's imprisonment wasn't.

Paul thus tells me that to be truly happy and joyful is not dependant on my external situation and circumstance. To be truly happy and joyful is internal communion with God, knowing his personal will for me and living it.

>How did Paul identify himself? Are you in the will of God for your life?

* "an apostle of Christ Jesus" -Apostle means sent. Jesus chose twelve to be his apostles during his earthly ministry. When Judas betrayed Jesus another was chosen to take his place. Then Jesus called Paul, the fourteenth apostle. (Acts 9:1-30) Apostles are the only ones that display all the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to support the mission that God has given them.

* "by the will of God" -The only way to be an apostle is by the will of God.

* "Christ" -Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word "Messiah".

* "Jesus" -The Messiah's name given before birth to Joseph, his step father, through an angle. (Matt. 1:21)

>Who is the recipient? How did they hear the gospel? (7-8; 4:12; Phm. 1:23; Acts 19:9b-10)

* Colossians 1:7-8 "You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

* Colossians 4:12 "Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured."

* Philemon 1:23 was written at the same time as this letter. It says, "Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings." Some believe this to be a different person, though we cannot be sure. Since the two letters were written while Paul was in prison, it could be the same person.

* Acts 19:9b-10 "He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord."

* Epaphras either heard the gospel from Paul or from someone who heard it from Paul. The former is the most likely. He probably heard it during Paul's over two year ministry in Ephesus.

>2. What was Paul thankful for? (3-4)

* Colossians 1:3-4 "We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints"

* "we" -Paul had a group with him while under house arrest.

* "always thank God" -Even though Paul pioneered many churches, and indirectly this one, he knew it was God who did all the work. Paul did not say this in his letters to other churches.

* "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" -Joseph was only a step father to Jesus. Mary knew no man before she became pregnant. She was a virgin. Mary's virginity is important because it meant that Jesus' blood was pure. The fetus' blood comes from the father alone. No blood comes from the mother at all. So when Jesus shed his blood on the cross it was unique pure sinless blood. For more on this read the manuscript The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspired.

* "when we pray for you" -Paul thought and prayed for them often.

* "we heard of your faith" -Paul himself was not there when they came to believe in Jesus.

* "and the love you have for all the saints" -Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)

* God never thanks man for these things since he is the source of love and faith.

* "your love in the Holy Spirit" (8)-the Holy Spirit is the source of Christian love.

>What does verse 5 tell us about the gospel?

* Colossians 1:5 "the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel"

* "the faith and love that spring from the hope" -Hope for the eternal future is a seed that produced the fruit of faith and love. If a believer in Jesus forgets or lose the seed of their eternal glorious future with Jesus in his kingdom, then faith and love will wilt and would die if not for the grace of God. Recently when I was spiritually attacked from different directions I began to wonder the point of this life since heaven is secured for us. I have lived by faith for a long time. I have lived by faith through many trials, but these were the hardest to date. The plant that came from the seed of hope was wilting. God in his mercy poured his Spirit on me when I called out to him. He watered seed with renewed understanding of the glory that Christ has set for me and all the saints. He answered my questions with a vision of the eternal future. Don't lose sight of the future. And if you begin to wonder what it all for, seek the Lord in spirit and truth and he will answer you.

* "that is stored up for you in heaven" -God has given us freely given the gift of eternal life when we came to believe in him. And that is not all; based on the acts of faith, hope and love in this life he will give us rewards when we enter his kingdom. Praise be to God the Father and Jesus the Son, not only does he freely give eternal life to those who live by faith, but he gives rewards too. They are stored in heaven and he will pass them out to his bride at the wedding feast of the lamb.

* "the word of truth" -God's promises are truth. We can trust in his words. His words are recorded in the Bible. Studying the Bible is studying God's word of truth.

* "the gospel" -Gospel means good news. All I wrote in this question is part of the gospel.

* Sects say that they have secret knowledge, but Paul here is saying God's knowledge is worldwide.

>How does it bear fruit? (6)

* Colossians 1:6 "that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth."

* "All over the world" -We only know of the beginning of Peter's ministry and Paul ministry as they are recorded in the Bible. The other apostles went out in every direction two by two spreading the gospel all over the world.

* "bearing fruit" -Jesus taught several parables to illustrate how his word is like seed that is planted in the soil of people's hearts. Our job is to scatter the seed of the word to people. God will make it grow. (Matt. 13:1-41)

* "heard it" -In order to hear the word someone needs to speak it.

* "understood it" -Those God has chosen will understand the world of God.

* So that hearing and understanding is how the seed of the word is planted in a person. Thus a new life is begun. Jesus taught, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." (John 12:23-26)

* "God's grace" -We were chosen not because of anything we did, will do, any good or admirable quality in us, or our wisdom strength or some ability. It has nothing to do with anything about us and everything to do with his sovereign grace.

>3. What is Paul's prayer topic in verse 9?

* Colossians 1:9 "For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding."

* "God to fill you with the knowledge of his will" -We should be mature with regard to knowledge, a thorough knowledge of God's will in accordance with wisdom. God's will for us is found in the Bible. Studying it with the enlightenment of the Spirit we will come to know it. God's will is for us to grow in the image of his Son, Jesus. God's will for us it to glorify the Son and enjoy him forever. Biblical knowledge is not merely the possession of facts. Rather, knowledge and wisdom in the Bible are practical, having to do with godly living. This is borne out by verses 10-12, where knowledge, wisdom and understanding result in a life worthy in the Lord.

* "spiritual wisdom and understanding" -Colosse contained people who claimed to have a special wisdom not found in the Bible. They had blended pagan beliefs with the word of God and called it new understanding. This has been going on every since.

>Why does he pray for that? (10a)

* Colossians 1:10a "And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way"

* "live a life worthy of the Lord" -Jesus calls us to a life of faith and obedience.

* "please him in every way" -We should live every day and moment by asking the question, "Would Jesus be pleased by what I am thinking and doing? Would Jesus be pleased by the desires of my heart?" We are not to please him in some ways, or occasionally, but in every way. "So what every you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31)

>What four things are a part of this? (10b-12a)

* Colossians 1:10b-12a "bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father"

* "bearing fruit in every good work" -The labor that we do should bring good fruit. Jesus said, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." (Matt. 7:15-20)

* "growing in the knowledge of God" -Jesus is the Creator God. Jesus is therefore infinity, eternity, omnipresent, omnipotent, pure, bliss, and omniscient. The revelation of Jesus is the unending life pursuit of the bride. Can the attributes of Jesus be comprehended by those who are finite, limited, localized, weak, dirty, and in need? Yes, if God wills it and he wants no more that to reveal himself to his bride, but not all at once. (from The Believer's Future - Hope That Inspires)

* "being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might" -Jesus is the source of our all our power. 2 Corinthians 12:10 "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

* "joyfully giving thanks to the Father" -Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." Psalm 100

>4. What is the kingdom of light?

* Colossians 1:12b "who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light."

* "inheritance of the saints" -In order for there to be an inheritance someone needs to die. Jesus died and we inherited the kingdom. Jesus lives and we live because of him in the riches of his grace and truth. Praise be to Jesus.

* "kingdom of light" -The kingdom of light, the kingdom of God, the kingdom of the Son, and the kingdom of heaven all mean basically the same thing in the fact that Jesus is the king. Kingdom here is not a territory, but an authority. Unlike modern times with the population increase and worldwide wars, ancient times like those in the Old Testament and in some respect the New Testament too, a person was considered in a kingdom if the king had authority over them and their territory, city, town, or village. This is the only place the kingdom of light is used to describe the kingdom. However the Bible often uses light to describe Jesus, our God. "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." (1 John 1:5-7) "I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Rev. 21:22-27)

>How can one become a member of the kingdom of light?

* Colossians 1:13-14 "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

* Light and life are interchangeable in John 1:4. Light symbolizes purity, truth, life, glory, love, and holiness. The symbolism of light and darkness is often used in the gospel of John. (3:2; 13:30)

* "The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood (Or darkness, and the darkness has not overcome) it." (John 1:5)

* "The light shines"-Jesus always shines, through out eternity.

* Nature reveals God, yet in simple clouded form. "since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Rom. 1:19,20)

* The word of God reveals God.

* The best revealing of God is in Jesus, Christ the Son of God.

* Light is self evidencing.

* In the dark one can not find his way around, he does not know were he is and what the reality of his surroundings are. But when a light shines he can see clearly so that he can get around, always knows where he is at and the reality of his surroundings. This is true spiritual when Jesus, the light, shines.

* "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" (John 8:12)

* "'I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.'" (John 12:46)

* Light and darkness are completely opposite.

* "Now the earth was (Or possibly became) formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." (Gen 1:2)

* Light always expels darkness. When Jesus comes into a persons heart he expels the darkness.

* "overcome"-darkness is inferior. Darkness can not reject the light.

* "understood"-People don't know what light is like if they had not seen it.

* Often times people don't know when we are in darkness. Often time we forget this.

* "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." (Rom. 1:21)

* "Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done." (Rom 1:28)

* "For God does speak--now one way, now another-- though man may not perceive it." (Job 33:14)

* "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." (John 3:19-20)

* "redemption" -The key to getting into the kingdom of light is God redeeming us from the kingdom of darkness. Redemption is the payment of a ransom -the substitutionary death of Christ.

* "the forgiveness of sin" -God will let us in his kingdom only when he cleans us up -taking away our dirty sin.

II. The Supremacy of Christ (15-23)

* Some believe that 15-20 was an hymn at that time.

* "This section provides an answer to those who would deny the deity of Jesus Christ. To understand these verses is to realize how wonderful he really is. Paul is specifically attempting to answer one of the oldest heresies in the church, Gnosticism. Another of the first heresies was Arianism. Arius of Alexandria (256-336 A.D.) said that the Lord Jesus Christ was a creature, a created being. The Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. answered this heresy saying, "The Son is very Man of very man, and very God of very God." Later on in the history of the church, Socinus (1539-1604 A.D.) and Italian theologian propagated the heresy that Jesus was not God and that mankind did not need a Savior from sin. He taught that we were not totally depraved. Today this is the basis of Unitarianism and some of the cults, including Jehovah's Witnesses" and Islam. (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary)

* Jesus is God (15, 19). He created everything (16). He created light. He created the sun, the stars, and the planets. He created the earth. He created trees and flowers. He created birds, reptiles, bugs, and mammals. He created me. Jesus sustains all these, including me to this very day (17).

Jesus created his church, his congregation which is his body (18). The church includes all those who call on his name. We are each unique and connected. We function as he, the head wills and coordinates every day and every moment throughout the centuries. He made me a member of his body. He made a place for me within his church.

Jesus died and rose from the dead (18). Through these I was reconciled to God (20). I will rise from the dead as he did. I will live eternally with God and in God through Jesus. Now this is something to live for.

>5. How is Jesus described in verse 15?

* Colossians 1:15 "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation."

* "image" -Men make images and claim they are God. Jesus is the image of God proclaimed here and in 2 Corinthians 4:4.

* "Image implies a prototype, and embodies the essential verity of its prototype. Compare in the form of God in Philip. 2:6 and the effulgence of the Father's glory Heb. 1:3. Also 1 John 1:1." (Word Studies in the New Testament, Vincent)

* "Image of God reflects upon the Adam-christ typology (Gen. 1:27; Ps. 8; Heb. 2:5-18), in which Christ is viewed as the first true man who fulfills god's design in creation. Thus to be in the image of Christ is the goal of all Christians. (The Wycliffe Bible commentary)

* "invisible God" -Men can not see God as he is. "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." (John 1:18) "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:12)

* In the Old Testament anyone who it is said saw God actually saw Jesus, the image of the invisible God.

* When Jesus came as the Son of Man, in human form he was still God. Jesus said, "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:9-12)

* Hebrews 1:3 states, "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."

>What does it mean that he is the firstborn? (18; Rom. 8:29; Heb. 1:6, 12:22-24; Rev. 1:5-6)

* Colossians 1:18 "And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy."

* Romans 8:29 "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."

* Hebrews 1:6 "And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him."

* Hebrews 12:22-24 "But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel."

* Revelation 1:5-6 "and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father--to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen."

* Jesus is the Son of the trinity. Micah 5:2 says, "Micah 5:2 says, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." When he was born Isaiah 9:6 says, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given." Jesus is the Son of God, his place eternally in the trinity.

* God gave to Israel through Moses two feasts of the firstfruits; one in the spring and one in the fall. The spring is where the high priest waved a sheave of first grain harvest. (Lev. 23) Jesus is the first grain harvest, rising from the dead and presenting himself before God His Father. Thus Jesus is the firstborn, the beginning. We will follow his resurrecting as the second harvest is coming, the fall harvest. James 1:18 states, "He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created."

* "from among the dead" -Something cults seem not to read or understand when they quote verse 15.

* "so that in everything" -including the resurrection and the glory.

* "supremacy" -Jesus is greatest at everything. Just as the firstborn son had certain rights over his younger siblings in the Bible times, so Jesus as firstborn has privileges - priority, preeminence and sovereignty.

* "As image points to revelation, so firstborn points to eternal pre-existence. We must carefully avoid any suggestion that Christ was the first of created things, which is contradicted by the following words, "in Him were all things created." The true sense is "born before the creation." Compare "before all things" in verse 17. This fact of priority implies sovereignty. He is exalted above all thrones, etc., and all things are unto Him, as they are elsewhere declared to be unto God." (Word Studies in the New Testament, Vincent)

>6. In what way is Jesus the Creator? (16-17)

* Colossians 1:16-17 "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

* "by him" -Jesus alone is the creator. There is no other God, force, power, eminence, or collaborator.

* "all things were created" -The act of creating is taking that which was not and making something. Hebrews 11:3 states, "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."

* "things in heaven" -Traditionally the Bible speaks of three heavens; the atmosphere, the space where the planets, moon, and stars are in, and the place where God dwells.

* "visible and invisible" -There exists outside of our five senses (sight, hearing, feeling, tasting, and smelling) things that God created, one of which is spirits, good and fallen.

* "thrones or powers or rulers or authorities" -This phrase is aimed at the angle worship in their congregation and promoted by false teachers in their congregation. The creator should be worshiped, not the created things.

* "by him and for him" -Everything is Jesus centered. All is for Jesus, the creator. The cults that take away Jesus' divinity and yet admit he is creator do not worship him as he deserves as creator.

>Who is the head of the church?

* Colossians 1:18a "And he is the head of the body, the church"

* "head" -The head is the leadership, the focal point, the center of the body. All parts of the body work to serve the head.

* "of the body" -The church is described as a body in many other New Testament places to illustrate the functions of the members.

* "church" -meaning congregation and assembly.

>7. How does verses 19 and 20 further define Jesus' divinity?

* Colossians 1:19-20 "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."

* "For God" -God the Father.

* "all his fullness dwell in him" -This brings together all the previous points about Jesus in this letter; the image of God, firstborn of all creation, creator, the eternally pre-existent, the Head of the Church, the victor over death, and first in all things.

* "fullness" -The totality of the divine dwells in Jesus.

* "reconcile" -He restores us to friendly relations so that we coexist in harmony and complete compatibility.

>How does God reconcile us to him through Jesus?

* "by making peace" -goes with reconcile earlier in the sentence.

* "through his blood" -Jesus' blood poured out as an atonement for our sins. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice because he alone is of the seed of God. His blood alone in the entire human race is and was pure. As Paul says he is the second (last) Adam. (1 Cor. 15:22, 45) Leviticus 17:11-12a states, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life." Hebrews 9:22b states, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

* In his book, The Chemistry of the Blood, M. R. DeHann, M.D. explains the origin of blood: “The blood which flows in an unborn babe's arteries and veins is not derived from the mother but is produced within the body of the fetus… It is only after the sperm has entered the ovum and a fetus begins to develop that blood appears. As a very simple illustration of this, think of the egg of a hen. An non-fertilized egg is simply an ovum on a much larger scale than the human ovum. You may incubate this non-fertilized hen's egg, but it will never develop. It will dry up completely but no chick will result. But let that egg be fertilized by the introduction of the male sperm and incubation will bring to light the presence of life in an embryo. After a few hours it visibly develops. In a little while red streaks occur, denoting the presence of blood According to scientists from the time of conception to the time of birth not ONE SINGLE DROP OF BLOOD ever passes from mother to child. The mother contributes no blood at all.” Jesus' pure blood was not conveyed by his mother, the daughter of sinful Adam. Rather, it was conveyed by the pure seed of his Heavenly Father!

* Centrioles are supplied by the father's sperm. A centriole is the center of a centrosome and is a minute protoplasmic body. Plasma is the fluid part of blood and protoplasm is organized living matter, the fluid complex of the living nucleus that is often designated the physical basis of life. The basis of life is in the father's protoplasmic seed: a seed made of fluid and plasma – water and blood. Jesus came by just such a seed. John tells us there is one who came by water and blood – Jesus Christ (1 John 5:6) John also tells us that when Jesus died he saw the blood and water come out of Jesus side separately, thus marking his death. (Source, In Search of Israel by Batya Wootten.)

* Through his act of love Jesus' bride was cleansed of sin by his pure blood. (Rom. 4:25) Thus, Jesus was able to again establish the lost love relationship with his bride. God and anyone in the human race who wants it can have a relationship again. As a symbol of this, when Jesus died on the cross, the curtain that separated the most holy of holies from the place where priests could stand in the temple in Jerusalem was torn in two. (Matt. 27:51) The curtain was the symbol of sin separating God from his people. With Jesus' death for his bride, sin was removed and thus no longer would Jesus be separated from his bride. (Col. 1:19-21)

* "shed on the cross" -A person crucified in Jesus' day was first of all scourged (beaten with a whip consisting of thongs with pieces of metal or bone attached to the end) or at least flogged until the blood flowed. This was not just done out of cruelty but was designed to hasten death and lessen the terrible ordeal. After the beating, the victim was forced to bear the crossbeam to the execution site in order to signify that life was already over and to break the will to live. A tablet detailing the crime(s) was often placed around the criminal's neck and then fastened to the cross. At the site the prisoner was often tied (the normal method) or nailed (if a quicker death was desired) to the crossbeam. The nail would be driven through the wrist rather than the palm, since the smaller bones of the hand could not support the weight of the body. The beam with the body was then lifted and tied to the already affixed upright pole. Pins or a small wooden block were placed halfway up to provide a seat for the body lest the nails tear open the wounds or the ropes force the arms from their sockets. Finally the feet were tied or nailed to the post. Death was caused by the loss of blood circulation and coronary failure. Especially if the victims were tied, it could take days of hideous pain as the extremities turned slowly gangrenous; so often the soldiers would break the victims legs with a club, causing massive shock and a quick death. Such deaths were usually done in public places, and the body was left to rot for days, with carrion birds allowed to degrade the corpse further. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

>8. What was our relationship with God before Jesus?

* Colossians 1:21 "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior."

* "Once you were" -Paul is speaking to the Colossian believers, and thus it applies to all those in Jesus. This is past tense. These are what we were before Jesus' blood reconciled us; there is no exception.

* "alienated from God" -An ant cannot understand and comprehend what it is like being a human and wouldn't know a person is around even though he may be observing the ant. A dog that was once owned by a person is suddenly sent away because the dog harms the owners children. A son asks for his inheritance and then leaves his father's household to spend his newly acquired wealth. All three wrapped together can give an idea of what is meant here.

* "were enemies in your minds" -Every thought was working against God's work in our heart. This is blaspheme of the Holy Spirit that cannot be forgiven.

* "because of your evil behavior" -The evil in the heart is manifested in evil actions and lack of doing what is right before God.

* Realization and acceptance of our state is the first step to salvation. Without this there is no asking for help when the truth is heard and thus no forgiveness of sins.

* Paul is writing to all with the words, "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your mind." (21) Jesus taught that sin starts in the heart. The human heart is the mind and will. From these comes actions, whether good or evil. I was so alienated too.

Thanks be to God. Jesus made it possible to be reconnected with him (22). Without Jesus being in me and with me I would have given up many times. Jesus gives me hope (23).

Jesus gives me hope when sometimes there seems to be no hope. He helps me focus on the present. He helps me not regret the past nor worry about the future. He shows me wonders in the moment. He helps me to be thankful. Jesus is the one I proclaim (28).

>What was the reason God became flesh and blood? (22)

* Colossians 1:22 "But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation"

* "by Christ's physical body" -Jesus body was and is physical. His body was flesh and blood. When he was conceived in Mary's womb, he was physical just as we are.

* "through death" -Death of his physical body. When a person dies they do not cease to exist as some believe. Being united with Jesus we die with him; our old self dies.

* "to present you holy in his sight" -A day is coming when we will be presented to Jesus as his bride. We will be free of sins. This is the Bema seat of Christ, after the resurrection of the saints.

* "holy" -Holy is used several times in this letter meaning separation unto God and from worldly defilement..

* "free from accusation" -Satan has been accusing us of many things. When we are presented to Jesus he will not be able to say anything.

>What is required of us after we hear the gospel? (23)

* Colossians 1:23 "if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant."

* "continue in your faith" -Some who confess Jesus' name see putting faith in him as a one time event. The reality is that once we start to put our faith in Jesus we must continue in that faith. Hebrews chapter 11 gives examples of those who died with the same faith they started out with. We have faith in what he has done as much as what he has promised he will still do.

* "established and firm" -Past, present, and future tense. The former is metaphorical, the latter more literal. The former implies greater respect to the foundation by which believers are supported. The latter suggests inward strength which believers themselves possess.

III. Christ in You, the Hope of Glory (24-29)

>9. Why was Paul willing to suffer?

* Colossians 1:24 "Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church."

* "was suffered for you" -Paul suffered greatly on his missionaries journeys that established many of the congregations in Asia Minor and Greece directly and indirectly as recorded in the book of Acts.

* Paul was willing to suffer if it was for the benefit of believers in Christ.

>What is Paul's commission?

* Colossians 1:25 "I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness"

* "I have become its servant" -Paul often calls himself a servant of Jesus and the gospel.

* "commission" -An order giving the authority to perform the task of giving God's word.

* "in its fullness" -The heretics claimed they had a special message given only to them. Paul said that he presents the full word of God. Even today there comes a person saying that they have been give a special message for the church that has not been given before.

>What is the glorious mystery now made known?

* Colossians 1:26-27 "the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

* "kept hidden for ages and generations" -When Jesus came he instituted a direction that was hidden in the Old Testament, the church age.

* "among the Gentils" -The fact that many people who were not Israel would be saved was hidden from the Old Testament saints.

* "Christ in you" -Not only are Gentiles brought to salvation, but the Lord has poured out his Spirit into every one of them. The fact that all the Gentiles would receive the Holy Spirit was a shock even to the apostles. (Acts 10:45; 11:1, 18)

* "the hope of glory" -The Holy Spirit is a promissory to future glory.

>10. To Paul, what did it mean to proclaim Jesus?

* Colossians 1:28 "We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ."

* "admonishing" -warning of the consequences of rejecting the gospel.

* "teaching" -Explaining how things are and are not with a positive effect.

* "we may present you" -Paul is saying that those who were brought to Jesus through their preaching will be presented to Christ. We are symbols of their obedience and faith.

>Why did he do that?

* Colossians 1:29 "To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me."

* "labor" -Paul spiritual labor is compared to a woman about to give a child.

* "his" -Christ's energy through the Holy Spirit.

>What does this tell us about our life of faith?

* Soon Jesus will take us home and we will be given and expected to present to Jesus those we gave the good news.


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