Sunday, February 18, 2007

Knowledge of God (Tozer) Part 2

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.

The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man's spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.

For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God.

Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, "What comes into your mind when you think about God?" we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man. Were we able to know exactly what our most influential religious leaders think of God today, we might be able with some precision to foretell where the Church will stand tomorrow.


That our idea of God correspond as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us. Compared with our actual thoughts about Him, our creedal statements are of little consequence. Our real idea of God may lie buried under the rubbish of conventional religious notions and may require an intelligent and vigorous search before it is finally unearthed and exposed for what it is. Only after an ordeal of painful self-probing are we likely to discover what we actually believe about God.

A right conception of God is basic not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well. It is to worship what the foundation is to the temple; where it is inadequate or out of plumb the whole structure must sooner or later collapse. I believe there is scarcely an error in doctrine or a failure in applying Christian ethics that cannot be traced finally to imperfect and ignoble thoughts about God.

It is my opinion that the Christian conception of God current in these middle years of the twentieth century is so decadent as to be utterly beneath the dignity of the Most High God and actually to constitute for professed believers something amounting to a moral calamity.

All the problems of heaven and earth, though they were to confront us together and at once, would be nothing compared with the overwhelming problem of God: That He is; what He is like; and what we as moral beings must do about Him.

The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer, 1961, pg. 9-10

Knowledge of God (Tozer)

True religion confronts earth with heaven and brings eternity to bear upon time. The messenger of Christ, though he speaks from God, must also, as the Quakers used to say, "speak to the condition" of his hearers; otherwise he will speak a language known only to himself. His message must be not only timeless but timely. He must speak to his own generation.

The message of this book does not grow out of these times but is appropriate to them. It is called forth by a condition which has existed in the Church for some years and is steadily growing worse. I refer to the loss of the concept of majesty from the popular religious mind. The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men. This she has done not deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic.

The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.

With our loss of the sense of majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and consciousness of the divine Presence. We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience the life in the Spirit. The words, "Be still, and know that I am God," mean next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshiper in this middle period of the twentieth century.

This loss of the concept of majesty has come just when the forces of religion are making dramatic gains and the churches are more prosperous than at any time within the past several hundred years. But the alarming thing is that our gains are mostly external and our losses wholly internal; and since it is the quality of our religion that is affected by internal conditions, it may be that our supposed gains are but losses spread over a wider field.

The only way to recoup our spiritual losses is to go back to the cause of them and make such corrections as the truth warrants. The decline of the knowledge of the holy has brought on our troubles. A rediscovery of the majesty of God will go a long way toward curing them. It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate. If we would bring back spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God more nearly as He is.

The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer, 1961, pg. 6-7

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Knowledge of God (Spurgeon)

It has been said by some one that "the proper study of mankind is man." I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God's elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, "Behold I am wise." But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought, that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass's colt; and with the solemn exclamation, "I am but of yesterday, and know nothing." No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind than thoughts of God. We shall be obliged to feel

Great God, how infinite art thou, What worthless worms are we!
But while the subject humbles the mind it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe. He may be a naturalist, boasting of his ability to dissect a beetle, anatomize a fly, or arrange insects and animals in classes with well nigh unutterable names; he may be a geologist, able to discourse of the megatherium and the plesiosaurus, and all kinds of extinct animals; he may imagine that his science, whatever it is, ennobles and enlarges his mind. I dare say it does, but after all, the most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead's deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead...

A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 7th, 1855, by the Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon, at New Park Street Chapel

Increasing in the Knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10)

Our knowledge of God should always be growing. Since we are finite and God is infinite there is never ending room for our knowledge of Him to become greater. This knowledge is not just a list of facts but is a full, intimate, and practical knowing that affects the way we think, feel, and live. The knowledge of God is revealed through scripture (2 Timothy 3:16), the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-12) and creation (Romans 1:19-20).

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16)
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. (1 Corinthians: 2:9-12)
What may be known of God is manifest in [us], for God has shown it to [us]. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead... (Romans 1:19-20)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Fruitful in Every Good Work (Colossians 1:10)

Our lifestyle is to be full of all kinds of excellent deeds and activities. We cannot do this on our own. Only Jesus can make us fruitful workers (John 15:4-5). Just as a vine dresser removes dead branches so a vine will produce more fruit, God removes bad works and attitudes from our lives so we will produce more good works (John 15:2). The best effect of our good works is that God is glorified through them (John 15:8).

Some examples of fruitful good works are evangelism (1 Corinthians 16:15); praise to God (Hebrews 13:15); giving to the poor (Romans 15:26-28); a righteous and virtuous lifestyle that is acceptable to God (Hebrews 12:11); love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Worthy Walk (Colossians 1:10)

Our walk is the way we live our day to day lives. We are to live in a way that is deserving of God having called us "into His own kingdom and glory" (1 Thessalonians 2:12) through the "gospel of Christ" (Philippians 1:27). We walk worthy when we are humble, gentle, patient, loving one another, and unified in the Spirit (Ephesians 4:1-3); behaving honestly, properly, and decently (Romans 13:13 KJV, NKJV, NIV); contented (1 Corinthians 7:17); living by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7); doing good works (Ephesians 2:10); loving sacrificially (Ephesians 5:2); in the light (Ephesians 5:8); wise (Ephesians 5:15); in the truth (3 John 3-4).

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

God's Will and Prayer (Colossians 1:9)

As a relevant aside, fully understanding God's will concerning a situation is a requirement for effective prayer. Confidence in prayer comes from knowing that we are praying for what God wants to happen. Scripture teaches that if we pray for anything according to His will then we will have what we ask for (1 John 5:14-15). Prayer is ineffective when it void of wisdom and understanding of God's will.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Wisdom and Understanding (Colossians 1:9)

Wisdom and understanding are practically synonymous. In relation to the knowledge of God's will revealed through scripture, they are both spiritual in origin. The only difference between them seems to be that wisdom is more general and understanding is more specific.

Wisdom is the ability to pull together the big picture from all that scripture teaches on a subject. Many topics in the bible are addressed in more than one place. Wisdom allows us to piece together what is taught to fully know God's will on a topic. For instance, teaching on marriage is spread throughout the bible so we are wise concerning marriage when we have gathered that teaching together into a coherent whole.

Understanding is the ability to apply biblical knowledge to a specific situation. When we are wise and know God's will on a topic, understanding allows us to apply what we know to a situation we are dealing with. For example, if a friend is contemplating divorce we will be able to apply biblical teaching on marriage to help them understand God's will in their situation.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Filled with the Knowledge of His Will (Colossians 1:9)

Many people believe God's will is mystical, subjective, and virtually unknowable. They search for it, pray for it and hope they will some how find it. Paul seems to have a different point of view as he prays for the Colossians to be filled with the knowledge of God's will. He literally asks God to make them completely full, all the way to the top, with correct, exact, and full knowledge of what He wishes for them to do.

How can this be? How can we know what job to take, who to marry, or where to live? The answer is what, who, and where we want given some conditions. God has clearly revealed His will to us and we can know it. It has been revealed through the scripture. It does not tell us which job to take but it does tell us about how to earn and use money. It does not tell us which person to marry but it does tell us what kind of person to marry. As long as we fulfill what the bible teaches concerning money, marriage and every other area of life we are free to do as we please.

There are basically two reasons why we struggle with God's will in our lives. First, we are ignorant of what God has revealed concerning the issues we deal with. Hence Paul's request that God fill us up with complete knowledge of what He would have us do. Second, we refuse to do what we already know is right in favor of doing what we want.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Prayer (Colossians 1:9)

Paul begins his letter to the Colossians by revealing his consistent prayer for them. This makes it perfectly clear what Paul is expecting God to do in their lives and what they should be expecting as well. Telling others specifically how we are praying for them can be a great encouragement. This prayer also stands as an excellent example of how we should pray for each other.

We are actually commanded to pray for each other. "[Pray] always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" (Eph. 6:18). We are not to pray sporadically but "always" and with "perseverance". We must not sleep on the job like the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-46). They failed to pray for Jesus when He needed them most. Lets not fail each other in our times of great need.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Summary of Colossians 1:9-14

Paul prays that the Colossians will know God's will, live a life pleasing to Him, be strengthened with His power, and be thankful to Him knowing that He delivered us from darkness into His kingdom.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Outline of Colossians 1:9-14

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it,
    do not cease
        to pray for you,
        to ask

that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will
    in all wisdom
    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.

He has
    delivered us from the power of darkness
    conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
        in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Colossians 1:9-14 (NKJV)

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. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Showing Love, Part II (Colossians 1:4)

This post is an addition to Showing Love (Col. 1:4). These ideas for showing love to all the saints were provided by Laura, Megan, Olivia, Rebekah, and Matthew.

  • Give someone a hug
  • Send a card to someone who's sick
  • Clean house for someone
  • Share
  • Go shopping for someone
  • Work together
  • Fold laundry together
  • Put away someones laundry
  • Take care of somebody when they are sick
  • Invite someone to play at the park
  • Share my bike or my skates
  • Help someone who gets hurt
  • Give away things that belong to me if someone else needs them

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Epaphras (Colossians 1:7-8)

Epaphras means charming. Most likely he was a convert of Paul at Ephesus. He founded the church in his home town of Colosse (vs. 7) and was likely the founder of churches in near by Laodicea and Hierapolis (Col. 4:13). He traveled to Rome to minister to Paul on behalf of the Colossians (vs. 7). While in Rome he either voluntarily shared Paul's imprisonment or was possibly arrested for his christian beliefs (Philemon 23).

Even though there are only 5 verses in the Bible concerning Epaphras we learn a number of interesting things about him. 1) The Colossians learned the gospel from him so he was an effective evangelist (vs. 7). 2) Paul referred to him as a "dear fellow servant" and a bondservent indicating that he served the Lord in the same humble manner as Paul himself (vs. 7; 4:12). 3) He was a "faithful minister of Christ". Minister is the same word we get deacon from so he was taking care of Paul's personal needs on behalf of the Colossians (vs. 7). 4) He reported to Paul the condition of the Colossian church which most likely prompted him to write this letter (vs 8). 5) He is a Colossian (Col. 4:12). 6) He prayed for the Colossians with great intensity like that of an Olympic wrestler striving against an opponent (Col. 4:12). 7) Paul personally vouches for the great concern and labor he puts into prayer for the churches he started (Col. 4:13). 8) He spent time in prison with Paul (Philemon 23).

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Grace of God (Colossians 1:6)

God freely gives forgiveness of sins and eternal life. We are incapable of earning these by our own actions, knowledge, or good intentions.

Our natural state is that of being spiritually dead because of inborn sin and continuous breaking of God's law (Eph. 2:1-3). As a result, we are the targets of His wrath (Eph. 2:3). Yet, while we are in this horrible state, God mercifully shows His love toward us by giving us spiritual life with Christ (Eph. 2:4-6). He saves us from our terrible predicament to "show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us" (Eph. 2:7). Forgiveness for breaking God's law is a gracious and free gift of God that can only be received by trusting belief in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8). Nothing that we do or say can earn forgiveness (Eph. 2:9). God completely and freely grants us forgiveness so He gets all the credit and praise. We cannot take any credit for ourselves (Eph. 2:9).

Friday, January 19, 2007

Heard and Knew (Colossians 1:6)

It is obvious, but worth pointing out, that people must hear the good news of Jesus Christ before they will believe and be reconciled to God. It is clear that "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" but "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Rom. 10:13-14) If people do not hear God's message of forgiveness from us then they will not believe because "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17).

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fruit of the Gospel (Colossians 1:6)

Belief in the good news of Jesus Christ changes individuals and affects people around them. It produces in us new spiritual life that was not there before (Rom. 6:4). All living things are fruitful as they themselves grow and as they produce new life. The same is true for spiritual life. Individual growth results in the "fruit of the Spirit" which "is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control" (Gal. 5:22-23, NIV). New spiritual life is produced as spiritually living people reproduce themselves in the lives of others by sharing the good new of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

All the World (Colossians 1:6)

The gospel is for the whole world. It is not bound by national, racial, ethnic or political boundaries. It was natural for the Jewish people to think the gospel was exclusive to them. To dispel this, Peter was given a vision revealing that the gospel was for all people (Acts 10:28-29, 34-35, 43; cf. Acts 10:9-43). Subsequently, Paul was sent as Christ's messenger to the non-Jewish world (Rom. 11:13). The blood of Christ will reconcile individuals to God from every tribe, language, people, and nation (Rev. 5:9).

Monday, January 15, 2007

Gospel (Colossians 1:5)

The Colossians had placed their faith "in the word of the truth of the gospel." What truth or facts did they put their trust in? Paul, reminding the Corinthians of the truth they trusted, explains "Brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:1-4) These facts are the basis of the gospel. Gospel means "good news" or "good message".

How sure are the facts of the gospel? There were literally hundreds of eye witnesses to these facts (1 Cor. 15:5-8).

Why is this such good news? It is good news because Christ's death for our sins, which make us enemies of God, made it possible for us to be reconciled with Him. His rising from the dead shows that he conquered death and we can have eternal life through Him.

Showing Love (Colossians 1:4)

These suggestions for showing love to someone are the result of a brainstorm during our bible study.

  • Loving correction when it is needed
  • Writing letters, notes, or emails of encouragement
  • Praying for them
  • Spending time with them
  • Discovering and meeting any needs they may have
  • Fixing a meal for them
  • Baby sitting for them
  • Call them on the phone and talk
  • Open up to them and share yourself with them
  • Take care of your sisters
  • Do yard work or other chores for them
  • Be patient with them
  • Visit them if they are in a nursing or assisted living home
  • Visit them if they are in the hospital
  • Overlook ways they may wrong you
  • Show hospitality to them by inviting them into your home
  • Offer your skills like mechanical, electronic, sewing, plumbing, or cooking to them
  • Invite them to a meal in your home
Please feel free to add more suggestions as comments to this post.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Hope (Colossians 1:5)

Paul was thankful for God's work in the Colossians (v. 3). Their faith and love was evident (v. 4) and he knew God had something special stored up for them in heaven. This something special is referred to as their hope. What is this hope? Peter writes that there is "an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for [us]" (1 Pet. 1:4). John writes "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!...and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is" (1 Jn. 3:1-2). Our great hope is that one day we will be like Jesus, "incorruptible and undefiled". That day will come when we see Him.

This hope helps us persevere through difficult times in life (Rom. 8:25). "For [we] consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:18; cf. Rom. 8:18-30)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Love for All the Saints (Colossians 1:4)

Jesus said His disciples could be recognized because they would love each other (John 13:35). This love is not an option or a fleeting emotion it is a command (John 13:34). John strongly emphasizes the importance of love for our fellow believers in his first epistle.

He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (2:9-11)

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. (3:10)

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (3:14-15)

If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (4:20)
1 Corinthians 13 is well known as the love chapter. To some degree it has been romanticized and applied more often to the marriage relationship. The actual context of the passage is how Christians should act toward other people as they use their spiritual gifts. It is a description of how we should love the saints, our fellow Christians. This love does not come from within ourselves but is produced in us by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). It is manifest in self sacrificing service to others whether they are deserving or not.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Faith in Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:4)

"[Faith] means to be persuaded that something is true and to trust in it."1 This persuasion is based on credible evidence not emotion, ignorance, or a blind leap in the dark. The lives of people transformed by Jesus are solid evidence that He is real and alive today. The best evidence for "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). The bible provides all that we need to be reconciled with God and live a life pleasing to Him (2 Tim. 3:14-17).

While we are saved from God's wrath by faith, that faith can't be in anything or anyone we choose. Only "faith in Christ Jesus" will do. "No one comes to the Father except through [Him]" (John 14:6). "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

1 The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Colossians & Philemon, John MacArthur

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Your Faith and Love (Colossians 1:4)

Paul has prayed and given thanks for the Colossians ever since he heard evidence of their reconciliation with God. The evidence was their "faith in Christ Jesus" and "love for all the saints". People can only be reconciled to God through faith in Christ. How can people determine who has "faith in Christ Jesus"? "By this all will know that you are [Christ's] disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35)

Is there enough evidence in our lives for other's to thank God for us? Is our "faith in Christ Jesus" apparent? Do we clearly show "love for all the saints"?

Lord (Colossians 1:3)

Not only is Jesus the Christ, the anointed one, He is also Lord. A lord is a master or owner of something that he has complete control over. God the Father has exalted Jesus as Lord over all things in heaven and earth (Phil. 2:9-11). That includes all mankind whether they believe in Him or not. One aspect of saving faith is submission to Jesus' position as Lord and admitting it verbally (Rom. 10:9).

Some mistakenly believe that Jesus is Lord in a person's life when they are obeying Him and the individual is lord when they are disobeying Him. The truth is that Jesus is Lord whether we obey Him or not. If we obey Him we are being faithful and submissive to our Lord. If we disobey Him we are being unfaithful and rebellious to our Lord.

Monday, January 08, 2007

God and Father (Colossians 1:3)

Stating that God is the Father of Jesus affirms that He is God's Son and is Himself divine. This same statement is made in Romans 15:6, 2 Corinthians 1:3, Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 3:14, and 1 Peter 1:3. Together these statements affirm the virgin conception of Christ by the Holy Spirit and His perfect life as the Son of God in human form.

Thanks (Colossians 1:3)

Paul is thankful for the Colossians' faith in Christ and love for all the saints. Notice who he is thanking. He is thanking God for what they have done and are doing. He did not try to flatter or build up the ego of the Colossians. Instead, he put thanks where they belonged. He put them on the God who gave them their faith and love as a free gift along with every other work and fruit of the Spirit in their lives (Eph. 2:8-10).

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Summary of Colossians 1:3-8

We thank God because of the hope you have through faith in the gospel of grace you learned from Epaphras.

Outline of Colossians 1:3-8

We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
praying always for you,
    since we heard
        of your faith in Christ Jesus
        of your love for all the saints;

because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven,
    of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,
        which has come to you, as it has also in all the world,
        is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you
            since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;

as you also learned from Epaphras,
    our dear fellow servant,
    who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf,
    who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.

Colossians 1:3-8 (NKJV)

We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.

Colosse (Colossians 1:2)

Colosse was located in Asia Minor in what is now modern Turkey. It formed a triangle of cities with near by Laodicea and Hierapolis. It was about 100 miles east of Ephesus. The church was most likely founded by Epaphras during the time Paul was ministering in Ephesus. Colosse was a once great city in decline because the major trade routes had been rerouted through Laodicea. The population was predominately Gentile but there was a significant Jewish community. Today the city no longer exists.

Paul (Colossians 1:1)

Paul is the author of the epistle to the Colossians. This letter was written while he was inprisoned in Rome along with the epistles to the Philippians, Ephesians, and Philemon. Collectively these letters are known as the prison epistles. Paul had never been to Colosse so he wrote this letter to encourge them and to correct some doctrinal issues.

Grace and Peace (Colossians 1:2)

Paul begins all his letters with a greeting that includes grace and peace to his readers. This grace and peace are from God who is the only true source of each. It is interesting that they are always stated in the same order. We cannot have peace with God or each other until we experience the transforming grace of God.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Saints (Colossians 1:2)

Today most people think of saints as a select few Christians who live exemplary lives. In the bible saints are synonymous with "the church", with "those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus", and with "all on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord." (1 Cor. 1:2) The general meaning of saint is one who is called out of the world to live a holy life for God.

The Roman Catholic church has made sainthood into an honor bestowed upon certain notable individuals by the church after their death. These individuals are then able to bestow blessing and merit upon those who pray to and worship them. This doctrine is foreign to the scripture.

Among Protestants today, the word "saints" has almost totally lost its original denotation, that is, of being set aside for the exclusive ownership and use of the Triune God. Very few people in the Christian Church today would consider themselves to be "saints", for the word today has the [Roman Catholic] meaning almost universally. Unfortunately the original meaning of the word "saints" has largely fallen into disuse. (The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible)

By the will of God (Colossians 1:1)

Paul's apostleship is not a role he chose for himself. God chose him in a dramatic and forceful way. According to Acts 9:1-22, Paul was determined to destroy the church but God stopped him on the way and imposed His will upon him (vs. 3-6, 15). Paul was an apostle and preacher of the gospel because he had been given a stewardship by God. He was compelled to this ministry even against his will (1 Cor. 9:16, 17).

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christ (Colossians 1:1)

Paul is an apostle of Jesus Christ. Is Christ Jesus' last name? Many people think of Christ as part of His name but it is actually His title.

Christ literally means anointed. Jesus is God's Anointed One. "The word 'Christ' affirms that Jesus has been specially commissioned by the Father to an important office. In the OT the word 'anointed' is closely linked with two offices--that of king and that of high priest."1

1 Zondervan Expository Dictionary of Bible Words

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Apostle (Colossians 1:1)

"An apostle is an envoy, sent on a mission to speak for the one sending him and having the sender's own authority."1 The apostles are the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:19-22). To be an apostle one must meet the following qualifications:

  1. Seen the resurrected Christ (1 Cor 9:1; 15:7-9)
  2. Chosen personally by Jesus (Matt. 10:1-4; Gal. 1:1)
  3. Performed miracles, signs, and wonders (2 Cor. 12:11, 12)
1 Zondervan Expository Dictionary of Bible Words