The Way - Day 133 (Colossians 1)

Daily Reading:
Colossians 1
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
With the group, make a list of all the descriptions about Jesus from chapter 1. How do these truths impact who you are and how you live?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 51:10-11
OPTION 2: Proverbs 18:21
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:7-8
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Colossians 1 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Colossians 1:1-8
Paul begins his letter to the church at Colosse with a greeting "to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ." Whenever the term faithful is used in the New Testament, it refers to genuine followers of Jesus Christ, so this letter is written to believers. This is an important observation to make at the beginning so we will have a better understanding throughout this letter to whom these words are addressed. As Paul often does in his letters, he expresses his thankfulness for their "faith in Christ Jesus for all the saints...." Because of their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, Paul reminds them 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...and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth...." The Colossians had been given the gospel which is the good news of Jesus Christ's victory over sin, death, and hell through His sacrifice on the cross. Since man had been sentenced to die and spend an eternity in hell, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth in order to take man's punishment for him. In a subtle way, Paul was bringing their minds back to the truth which they had originally believed about Jesus Christ. Reminding them of this simple truth would allow Paul to guard their mind from false teachings about the gospel and what truly brings salvation. In Colossians 1:7, Paul mentions the possible founder of the church at Colosse, Epaphras. He mentions that Epaphras taught them the truth of the gospel and he had also accepted it from Paul in Ephesus. He refers to Epaphras as "our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, who also declared to us your love in the Spirit." Paul wanted the Colossians that Epaphras did not come to him to tell on them but because he loved them. Epaphras wanted the Colossians to guard themselves from false doctrine so that they could continue to be an effective church in spreading the gospel. It was out of concern that Epaphras sought out Paul. As we will soon discover, the church at Colosse had been distracted by many false teachings, but their leader never gave up hope that they could get back on track. Maybe you know someone who has gotten off track in what they believe. Commit today to pray for them and guide them in proper doctrine. Don't give up! Approach the person in a spirit of humility and love expressing your desire for them to return to a proper view of God's word.

Colossians 1:9-18
Having heard of their faith in Jesus Christ and love for others (1:4), Paul informs the church at Colosse that he often prays for them and then he reveals his prayers for them. First, Paul prays that they would "be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." Since the way God reveals Himself to us is through His written word, Paul is challenging them to allow Scripture to bring wisdom (knowledge of Scripture) and understanding (the application of that knowledge). Secondly, Paul prays they will "walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." When a person understands God's will, it should lead to an outworking of His will through our actions and attitudes. Love for God and His word results in following His ways. James 2:26 declares that "faith without works is dead." Next, Paul prays they would be "strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy." Paul knew that people who choose to follow Jesus Christ are often met with trials and troubles. Because of this knowledge, Paul desires them to evidence patience and longsuffering during hardship. All of us will face difficult circumstances, but God provides patience for us to endure. Lastly, Paul prays that the Christians at Colosse would give "thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light." The only way we are "qualified" is through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, where He took our punishment for sin. The "inheritance" we receive is eternal life in God's kingdom and salvation from death and hell. Paul expands on this thought by declaring that God 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 sin." What an incredible thing to realize! The fact that we have redemption means we were slaves to sin but the blood of Christ purchased our pardon from death and hell as well as the forgiveness of sin. In Colossians 1:15-18 , Paul begins to combat the church's failure to believe that Jesus Christ was God. In the introduction to this book, I talked about the influences of Gnosticism on the church and the compromising effects it had on the deity of Jesus Christ. Paul unapologetically states that Jesus "is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." Jesus is a perfect image of God because He IS God in human flesh. The fact that He is the "firstborn over all creation" does not mean He was born, but rather superior over all creation. Verse 16 says that "all things were created through Him and for Him...He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." Since Jesus is God, He created all things for His glory and He sustains it by His power. Jesus Christ is the head of the church and therefore provides direction for it. Paul also states that "He is the firstborn of the dead", meaning His resurrection was the first of those who would also be resurrected and never again die. Jesus' redemption of sinners (1:13-14), authority over all creation (1:15-17), headship of the church (1:18a), and resurrection (1:18b) exist so that "He may have the preeminence." Jesus Christ is truly God and therefore deserves all our worship!

Colossians 1:19-23
Paul continues to combat the false teaching of Gnosticism in these verses where he had previously defended Jesus' deity and superiority over all the creation. Gnosticism questioned Jesus' divine attributes and taught He was one of God's created beings making Him inferior to God the Father. Paul had already made it clear that Jesus "is before all things, and in Him all things consist." So, why did God the Father send Jesus to earth? Submitting to God's will, Jesus took on human form so that He could "reconcile all things to Himself." Reconcile carries the idea of restoration and refers to a sinner being restored to life. Reconciliation took place "through the blood of His cross." All mankind is separated from God because of sin and God required blood to be shed to pay for sin. The only way to satisfy the wrath of God on sin was through death. God told Adam that he would die if he disobeyed Him. Adam was deceived and immediately death came on all who would be born. Romans 5:12 declares that "through one man sin entered the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned...." Now those "who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works...He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight." This act of making us holy and blameless is not about anything which we have done, but about the righteousness given to us through Jesus Christ in exchange for our sin. Bringing all of his teaching back into perspective, Paul reminds them that they should not move "away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister." These Gnostics had brought many false teachings into the church and Paul wanted them to understand the true gospel. If the deity of Jesus Christ is compromised, there is no salvation. Salvation is only found when a person places their faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and Him alone.

Colossians 1:24-29
Paul writes the next few verses on a personal note explaining to them his current circumstances and his attitude toward hardship. Remember that Paul was writing from a Roman jail where he was imprisoned for proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. His message opposed Jewish legalism and Greek paganism ultimately upholding Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation. Because preaching the gospel was Paul's passion, he viewed his persecution as God's will; in fact, Paul says "I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church." The persecution, which brought Jesus to His death, was now being carried out on those who spread the same message...mainly that Jesus is the only way to God. The church had been entrusted to deliver the message of salvation to all people and Paul considered himself a "minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God." God has given all followers the command to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised that believers would "receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8) The task of spreading the gospel had become even larger when God revealed a "mystery which has [had] been hidden from ages and generations, but now has been revealed to His saints." A mystery meant that something had been previously hidden and was now being made known. The particular mystery Paul was referring to was that Jews and Gentiles alike would receive salvation through Jesus Christ and be indwelt by His Spirit (1:27). The Old Testament indicated that Gentiles would receive salvation through the coming Messiah, but it did not say that the Spirit of Christ would actually dwell inside the church. What an amazing promise! Since the Spirit of Christ indwells us, He provides us with the power to spread the message of salvation to everyone. Paul says it like this: "Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." The task is simple - preach Christ, warn of sin, teach the truth, and present men mature before Christ. May this be our desire!

Dear God, thank You for entrusting Your message of salvation to me. Help me to be a good steward of truth and may many give their lives over to You!