Hello friends and family and welcome to part 2 of this series on the book of Colossians, "Who Are We In Christ". I pray that through these studies, we get a better understanding of this powerful book of the Bible and that we know just who we are in Christ Jesus. Amen?
Last week, we looked into some of the history of that time. We looked at what it means to be called a saint. Does anyone remember the definitions?
Saint - One separated from the world and consecrated to God; one holy by profession and by covenant; a believer in Christ.
We briefly looked at the importance of prayer and being in the Bible, and the importance of how Apostle Paul opened up his letters to the churches through the epistles. Last week was more of an introduction of the following weeks though this study.
Please turn to Colossians chapter 1 and mark it and then turn to 1 Corinthians 2:12-16 and we will read those verses first. So let's get started, and I hope that you have your pens ready to take notes, and especially to write down the scripture references we will be looking at today. Praise God. Everyone ready?
1 Corinthians 2:12-16 KJV (12) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (13) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (15) But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. (16) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Does anyone want to share what those verses said to them? To me it means when we as true believers are more concerned about trusting, praying, seeking and obeying. God can see farther than the philosopher on his tiptoes, for spiritual truth can be perceived only by the spiritually prepared mind. The truths of God are foolishness and trifling to a carnal mind. The only way to understand spiritual truth is to yield to the Author of it, the Holy Spirit. Amen? That fired me up. Jesus, the cross and His blood is the sum and substance of the Gospel. To believe and teach on the cross and the love of Christ is what you and I are called to do. So many people for centuries have thought it is the place of the Pastors to be witnessing. Not so. We are all called to share the Gospel. To be the hands and feet. Praise the Lord. Someone shout halleluiah.
Colossians 1:4 KJV Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
Here we see that the church in Colosse had at one time been on the right track. In this epistle, Paul rejoices that the Gospel had begun to come to all the world and that truth was being preached "to all the creation under heaven," and that "the riches of the glory" and this secret, this mystery was made known among the heathen. He lets them know that it is the most precious possible news to him that they have faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ, and love to all the saints, because of the hope laid up for them in heaven. It is the truth that wears well and bears perpetual using, and gets brighter with use, this truth that the Gospel, with its one Lord and its one hope, tends directly to bind believing hearts in one. Many influences blind our sight to the reality and glory of the fact.
Colossians 1:5 KJV For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
Paul believed that the truth was first being taught in this area, but as we will soon learn, there was junk entering in, and it needed to be addressed.
Colossians 1:5 AMP Because of the hope [of experiencing what is] laid up ([a]reserved and waiting) for you in heaven. Of this [hope] you heard in the past in the message of the truth of the Gospel,
Let's look at verse 6. This excites me and I will share in a moment why.
Col 1:6 which is come unto you; even as it is also in all the world bearing fruit and increasing, as it doth in you also, since the day ye heard and knew the grace of God in truth;
Paul is saying to these people that he is excited and most likely because of what we read in verse2 and 3 last week, rejoicing that the Gospel had been taken there. But what I jump for joy is when he said, "as it is in all the world." Friends, the gospel is not meant for only the Jews. In fact, what was Paul told to do? Please turn to Acts chapter 9. I am going to read from the American Standard version. Here is what Jesus spoke to Ananias, who Apostle Paul would meet. We have to remember this is right after Paul was blinded on his way to Damascus to do more harm to Christians.
Acts 9:10-16 ASV Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord said unto him in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. (11) And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go to the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one named Saul, a man of Tarsus: for behold, he prayeth; (12) and he hath seen a man named Ananias coming in, and laying his hands on him, that he might receive his sight. (13) But Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard from many of this man, how much evil he did to thy saints at Jerusalem: (14) and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call upon thy name. (Church, I want us to catch this verse) (15) But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel: (16) for I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name's sake.
Where was Paul to go preach? Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel. Here the man who seemed to hate what you and I stand for, would now be converted in a moment. To me, it shows that when we truly come to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, no matter how bad you have messed up, He can change our hearts. Praise Jesus!!
Saul, at the time before his conversion, had a major stronghold. A religious spirit. He, at the time, was part of the Sanhedrin. Now someone might be asking, "What is a stronghold?" Glad you asked. I am not going to dig in too deeply on this topic, but just to help anyone who may not be sure what it is.
We know that the Bible says that the devil, Satan, Lucifer, or the serpent, is the father of lies. He is the one that comes to steal, kill and destroy. Satan's strongholds on people is a faulty thinking pattern based on lies and deception. Deception is one of the primary weapons of the devil, because it is the building block for a stronghold. What strongholds can do is cause us to think in ways which block us from God's best, like right at the beginning after God created this earth and water and all that is within, the serpent came and twisted what God said to Adam and Eve, and they fell for it.
The same with Saul, he did not believe Jesus was the Messiah. The Chosen One. Yet let's look what he says to the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 10:1-5.
2 Corinthians 10:1-5 KJV (1) Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: (2) But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. (3) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) (5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
The strongholds in Paul's life were gone. He was the new creation he preached about and where we should be also. Praise Jesus.
Colossians 1:7 KJV As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;
Epaphras was from what I can gather, the pastor or leader of the Colossian church, if you will. Because there is no proof that Paul started this church, through research, my guess is that Epaphras probably heard Paul preach in Ephesus during the 2 years he was there and then brought what he had learned to Colosse. From what we see here and what we will learn later, Epaphras was a friend and was guided by Apostle Paul.
Colossians 1:8-9 KJV Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. (9) For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
Here again, Paul makes the statement that he and at least Timothy pray for this congregation as in verse 3 and send words of encouragement to them. Friends, these comments we should take notice of. Here we have two servants of God doing what they were called to do , by the Lord Jesus. I wonder sometimes if when we hear what the Bible says, do we really take notice? Do we really hear the words? And then, most importantly, do we carry those words out in our daily walk? Something to ponder on. Praying for those in the church, praying for all missionaries, whether they be in peaceful areas of the world and especially those in dangerous areas, where some are even at risk of losing their lives for their faith in Jesus. Do we pray for those who are on Christian sites that we belong to, desiring them to be filled with knowledge of God's will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, like we read in verse 9?
Friends, this is part of living a life with Jesus in you. We have these examples repeated over and over again for a reason. That reason is so we get it. I am getting it, but it took a long while to get these nuggets through this thick head of mine. This is the reason I share with you. I want all of us to be where our Lord wants us in our spiritual journey. Apostle Paul confirms this in the next 2 verses.
Colossians 1:10-11 KJV That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; (11) Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
Colossians 1:9-11 (AMP) 9 For this reason we also, from the day we heard of it, have not ceased to pray and make [[a]special] request for you, [asking] that you may be filled with the [b]full (deep and clear) knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [[c]in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God] and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things 10 That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and [d]desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, [e]acquaintance, and recognition]. 11 [We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy,
How do you discover the will of God for you? You need to attend a church. You need to read and obey the word of God. And, you need to pray. For those who join us each week here or on Skype, I pray that you have been blessed by what we teach. I hope that your spirit is growing. Praise God. For those who read this online, again I pray that you are blessed, but if you are not at a church, I pray that you do find a home church so that you can learn, but also have important fellowship.
Verse 10 should be our daily prayer. Live a life worthy of the Lord; please Him in every way, bear fruit, grow in the knowledge of God. We as followers need to know the will of God. How foolish is it for us to try to serve God without knowing His will?
Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will. Praise His name!!
Last week we looked at verse 3 and saw that Paul prayed always for the church of Colosse. We also see that in other epistles that Apostle Paul wrote. Jesus taught on prayer. Paul was a firm believer in prayer. He states that living a life worthy of the Lord is connected with prayer.
Church, in order to please God in every way, we must pray. This means that we must ask to discover His will for us. Sometimes Christians do not pray enough, and when they do pray, are they praying for God's will? The Lord wants us to seek Him out regularly, fervently, and specifically. Amen? Yes, I believe that He wants to know the desires of our hearts, because His Word says that, but our main focus should be seeking everything He has for us and to ask Him to mold us. And sometimes that is going to hurt. We as humans do not like to surrender everything. We don't want to give up some of the things that the world does.
Please turn to Galatians 5:22 and we will finish up. Paul gives high regard to bearing fruit in every good work.
Galatians 5:22-23 KJV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
To live a life that is worthy of the Lord is to bear fruit. What kind of fruit is he speaking of? Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. Church, this should be our daily prayer. Our flesh does not like these things. It's not natural to want all these things in our daily lives. Am I speaking to anyone?
Friends, we will pick up with this lesson next week. I pray that these scriptures spoke to your hearts and that we can all learn from them and then act upon them. May the Lord bless you.