Colossians 3: Col
Welcome to session
3 in our study of the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to Christians in the city
of Colossae. We know that all of Paul’s
letters address various issues that poised a potential problem for people seeking
to live their lives to the full through faith in Jesus Christ. The Message is the good news of the gospel
that proclaims that God sent His Son to be atonement for our sins, sins that
caused and propagate an estrangement between Him and all of humanity. It is by faith in Jesus' sacrificial death
that reconciliation is found through the forgiveness of sins and adoption into
relationships to be messed up.
Everything rises and falls on relationships. When relationships are good, life is
good. But when they are sour, your
entire world hurts. Sin causes good
relationships to go bad. Think of a bad
relationship as a revelation of sin causing problems in your life. The Bible explains that the desire for
self-rule, to be like God, caused humanity’s representative to sin against God,
which created individual estrangement for everyone. We call this original sin. Then there are the things that we do that
deter, damage, or destroy good relationships either by commission or omission.
We call these personal sins. Sin wages
war against relationships. A chain
reaction of wrongly relating has created every human mess we see today. We can’t relate rightly to God, to others, to
our very selves because of sin. Jesus
dies to forgive sin, reconcile us to God and empower us to create and thrive in
righteous relationships. God’s master
plan involves your acknowledgment of your sin problem, your belief that Jesus
is the solution to your sin problem, your commitment to be a disciple of Jesus,
and your desire to be saved, to be made right with God. Be encouraged to do a little
self-examination, see if there is a sin problem that you need to deal
with. If so it’s a good day to seek out
God for His help. Ask Him to show you
the way, the truth, the life. If you do
so or need help to do so, please let me know.
Who exactly is
Jesus? Sagely wisdom says that
familiarity breeds contempt. Sometimes
we can take what is most precious and get so used to it that we forget the
treasure we have. In these next verses,
Paul will remind us who Jesus is, because there are many competing ideas. In the Christian faith, we believe in one
God. There is only one God, Father, Son,
and Spirit. This has always been an
intellectual stumbling block, how three can be one and one can be three while
still being one is hard to grasp. Nothing in nature exists this way so we have
nothing to compare the Triune God to. The question of the nature of Jesus
eventually lead to the doctrine of the Trinity, the God that exists as One in
Three and Three in One. Before this
teaching was formulated Paul is going to answer the questions: Who is Jesus?
What is Jesus?
The answer to the
nature of Jesus is a question that still lingers in the minds of many today.
First, was there ever a man named Jesus?
The proper historical answer is no, there was a man named Yeshua bar
Yosef of Nazareth, but Jesus is a translation of the Hebrew, to the Greek, to
the English. Ok with that out of the way
was there a man named Jesus to which Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John attest? The answer to that is a resounding
“yes.” Such a man lived. Second, was Jesus a great teacher, a
reformer, a revolutionary, a prophet, a man like any other human but anointed
by God to perform a task, or was Jesus something more? Paul is going to argue for something more.
We look at this Son
and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original
purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and
below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything
got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it
came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when
it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a
He was supreme in
the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end.
From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So
spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him
without crowding. Not only that but all
the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and
atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of
his death, his blood that poured down from the Cross.
That’s a head full
and it is meant to be. There were some
sophisticated thinkers in the congregation.
Was Jesus a phantom, an angel, a prophet, a teacher, just a man, an
emanation of God? Paul magnificently
answers the question.
When asked “Who is
this Jesus?” Paul answers that when you examine the character, the intent, and
the behavior of Jesus you gain an understanding of what God is like because
Jesus is God. This revelation updates
all other visions of God. You can’t see the Father, if I were a scientist I
might say God’s physicality is interdimensional, which I think the scripture
means when Jesus declares that God is spirit (John 4:24). But when you walk with Jesus, you know that
this is what God is like. Jesus
manifests the attributes of God because that is who Jesus is. It is in Jesus that God can be known. The invisible God self-reveals in Jesus.
“We look at this
Son and see God's original purpose in everything created.” When you examine the
Son you see God’s master plan. We see in
Jesus' divinity and humanity existing in peace.
Divinity and Humanity united, no longer estranged. In Jesus, we see what is meant when we say
God and we see what is meant when we say human.
In Jesus is a picture of the Garden before the fall. Jesus prays for us.
John 17:20-23 (NIV)
“… I pray also for
those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be
one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so
that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory
that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me.
May they be brought to complete unity…”
This unity is a
present reality in those who believe. As we mature we actualize more of this
unity. Are you partnering with
Jesus? As you do, you grow up, grow deep
and the fruit you grow tastes like unity, harmony, intimacy, oneness, and love. That’s yours.
Self-surrender is the path, not a one-time event, but many surrenders as
God manifests in your life.
The culture in
Colossae held angels in high esteem.
Maybe Jesus was an angel? Paul answers Jesus is the conduit through
which everything came into existence. He
is not an angel, he is the creator of angels.
Paul corrects another popular thought embedded in Greek culture. This thought was that creation was the work
of some lesser being. God would not
sully Himself by creating anything material.
The World and everything in it, the universe, all science has uncovered,
All matter is inherently evil.
God could not do evil, therefore some lessor being hostile to God
created the material planes of existence.
This of course is part of Gnosticism well-rooted in the culture. No wonder some people choked at the idea that
God would incarnate, put flesh on, become human. Paul says this is exactly the case. Everything in existence has Jesus as its
We sang “What a
friend we have in Jesus,” a great old hymn of the Church. Contemplate this fact, the one who created
everything calls you friend (John 15:15.
You’ve got VIP access.
When some folks
hear that Jesus is the source of all things and nothing exists that He did not
create will be quick to say, “Well, what about Satan, demons, hell, and evil in
the world?” For God to carry out His
master plan every sentient being had to have free will, the ability to choose
to stay in a right relationship with God or to leave it. Love demands this kind of freedom. It’s not love if it’s forced or coerced. When choices are made that are contrary to
God’s will problems occur. Have you ever
tried to put together a complicated piece of machinery or some new tech or some
child’s toy, without referring to the instruction manual? The result is often “It doesn’t’ work and
what do I do with these extra parts is often the result.” When we choose other than God’s will,
problems occur, we call that sin by the way.
Are you partnering with Jesus to bring heaven to earth through your
obedience? It’s your choice, God does not control your choices. You must decide to live up to the calling
that has been bestowed upon you.
Paul affirms that
Jesus is preeminent and also that it is in Him that humanity finds
purpose. That purpose is to love and be
loved. Love created the universe, love
sustains the universe, and in loving, we find what we have been made for, in
loving we find our meaning. Love is the
foundation of order and harmony. The
followers of Jesus are expected to love on people (John 13:35). When you are kind, graceful, forgiving,
helping, you are walking with Jesus (1 John 1:5). Your choice to love opens the doors for God
Paul tells us that
Jesus is Creator and that Jesus is the sustainer. Verse 17: “He was there before any of it came into
existence and holds it all together right up to this moment.” Jesus is not a
created being, not an emanation of God (a Platonic thought), which would have
been a cultural popular way of thinking of Him. Jesus is present before the
beginning. It is Jesus who holds
creation in order. [[(Wisdom Pr
2&8, Word (Logos) find their incarnation in Christ. Question:
Does Ruach, the Spirit of God find incarnation in Christ also?) ]] “'For in him we live and move and have our being'” (Acts
17:28 (NIV). Jesus is the power that
holds creation together, He is the sustainer of all things (Barclay). Jesus is with you all the time, for He is
within you, not as a judge, but as encourager and advocate, as the one who
empowers you (1 John 2:1-2). Consider
that when you willfully choose not to do God’s will not only do bad things
happen, but your emotions tank, you feel bad, the reason why just might be
because of the tears of Jesus inside you.
Paul tells us that
Jesus is not somewhere beyond, he is joined to those who believe as a head is
joined to the body. “And when it comes
to the church, Jesus created the church, the called-out ones. He organizes and holds it together like a
head does a body” (verse 18). When you
allow Jesus to be the brains of your organization, Jesus uses you to be a
conduit of blessings to others, which also becomes a blessing to you. Through your doing, Jesus continues to His
mission to set all things right. What is
the head urging you to do?
Paul has told us
that there is no creation without Jesus.
In the Revelation of Jesus given to the Apostle John, Jesus is speaking
when and says “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning
and the End” (Revelation 22:13). We
should add “everything in between.” Paul
quickly moves from thoughts of creation to thoughts of redemption, of
reconciliation. Verse 18B: “He was supreme in the beginning and—leading
the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's
there, towering far above everything, everyone.”
We should note that
to “lead the resurrection parade” one has to be human and as a human has to
die: Dead and gone, stone-cold, toes up,
farm bought, pushing daisies. Then there
is a resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:13-15).
The resurrection is Divine proof that Jesus is exactly what He claimed
to be, “one with the Father” (John 10:30), completely human (Galatians 4:4),
and completely Divine, totally God, and totally man. Jesus is not a dead hero, He is the
resurrection and the life (John 11:25, 10:10); the risen Savior. Through faith,
you can experience the resurrected Jesus, for He is a living person. To make this a reality for yourself you need
to practice the 7 habits of a disciple:
Bible study, prayer, fellowship, service, worship, obedience, and
contemplation, this is because during these types of activities God speaks to
you. Not only can you intimately know
Jesus, He promises that those who know Him, will also be resurrected. Don’t take this for granted, stick close to
There is so much
more to Jesus than an intellectual acknowledgment and a prayer. He is the one who redeems your life from
death, and one day, gives you the hope, that everything will make sense. Verse 19:
“So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper
place in him without crowding. 20 Not only that but all the broken and
dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get
properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death,
his blood that poured down from the Cross.
consummation of the Kingdom comes the scripture reveals “that at the name of
Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”
(Phil 2:10-11 (NIV). The second coming brings the Garden in Eden,
righteousness, being rightly related, in harmony, fitting together becomes the
way we will live. Everything will be
fixed and fitted, the price for this total makeover has been paid in blood, the
blood of this same Jesus who is God in the flesh.
Who is Jesus? Paul has answered the question. The truth of that answer is to be pursued, to
be enjoyed, to be the strength of your life.
Don’t let religion replace relationship.
Don’t let familiarity devalue that relationship, don’t take Jesus for
granted. He is your precious treasure,
act like it, value your relationship with Jesus.
On little surprise
for you—scholars believe that verses 15 through 20 are actually a song sung in
Paul’s day. Go make your own music to
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