Colossians Chapter 2 Colossians #6 Col 2: 1-5

 

Colossians Chapter 2 Colossians #6 Col 2: 1-5

 
What have we gleaned from the first chapter in the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the congregation in Colossae?

 We know that to be a participant in God’s master plan we must surrender self-rule.  We must bend the knee by acknowledging, believing, committing, and asking. 

 We know that one doesn’t earn God’s salvation, God gives salvation to those who ask. 

 We know we need a faithful companion, spiritual friends, and to find them we have to be one.

 We know that love is the foundation of God’s master plan and love is to be the distinguishing characteristic of every participant in God’s plan. 

 We know that hope in the glorious ending of God’s master plan keeps us keeping on. 

 We know that the Message, the gospel, is the door, the path, to rescue lives from dead-end alleys and the dark dungeons of life. Salvation through faith in Jesus is not a one and done, it's one and started.

 We know that we are required to proclaim the Message to others and to back up our testimony with deeds of love and encouragement.

 We know that God gives glory strength that sees beyond the circumstances and situations of life to the bright and beautiful that God has for those who stick it out.

 We know that Jesus is more than savior and friend; He is the living God, through which everything was and is created and sustained

 We know that the spiritual journey is one of becoming increasingly like Jesus. 

 We know that our lives are to be an open case study demonstrating the power of God to change us so that we live a forgiven, reconciled, put together, whole, and holy life.  God has made you a case study in His mercy, grace, and power to transform

 We know that suffering love is the willingness to endure difficulties for the sake of others.  Suffering love is what Jesus did, what Paul was doing, and is empowered by God for you to do now.

 Today we begin Chapter 2.  We are going to discover that time and distance are not an obstacle in the Kingdom of God because of prayer, that what you need to know to have a right relationship with God is found in Christ.

 Colossians 2:1-5 (MSG)

I want you to realize that I continue to work as hard as I know how for you, and also for the Christians over at Laodicea. Not many of you have met me face-to-face, but that doesn't make any difference. Know that I'm on your side, right alongside you. You're not in this alone. 2 I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything, there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God's great mystery. 3 All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else. And we've been shown the mystery! 4 I'm telling you this because I don't want anyone leading you off on some wild-goose chase, after other so-called mysteries, or "the Secret." 5 I'm a long way off, true, and you may never lay eyes on me, but believe me, I'm on your side, right beside you. I am delighted to hear of the careful and orderly ways you conduct your affairs and impressed with the solid substance of your faith in Christ.

 The towns of Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis were within a day’s walk from each other.  Laodicea and most likely Hierapolis had a community of believers.  Paul himself had not visited these congregations.  Most likely Epaphras was instrumental in these cities hearing the Message.  Paul tells them even though they have not personally met, he is with them in their common cause of proclaiming Christ and living life to the full. Friends, we are in this life, called of God, together, not just we who meet in this place, but with all those who are members of God’s family (Acts 6:7).  We are not in this alone.  You are not in this alone. 

 The hard work that Paul is doing for these congregations is two-fold; prayer and testimony.  As believers, we are to engage in intercessory prayer.  Intercessory prayer is our request for God’s blessings upon the lives of others.  There is a certain efficacy, a certain power when someone prays for you.  Have you been made aware of selfish prayers?  Prayers that have a side benefit for you.  I pray for Grant’s healing, there is a side benefit for me when God does restore Grant.  But when someone who prays because love motivated them, compassion called them, who have nothing to personally gain to an answer to prayer, such prayers are powerful.  Distance, time, situations are not important when we pray for those we seek God’s intervention for.  We don’t have to be physically present, we don’t have to be face to face, we don’t even need to know them personally, to bring their need to God and ask for His intervention.  Think of such prayer as righteous prayers.

 James 5:16b (MSG)

The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.

 Powerful prayers come from hearts rightly aligned with God.  Your obedience is essential to be rightly aligned with God (Proverbs 15:29; 28:9; John 9:31).  Selfless kingdom prayers are powerful.  Think of the opportunity you have to make a difference in someone’s life by asking God to intervene. 

 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (MSG)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation.

 Are you helping others with your prayers?  Are you opening the windows of heaven for others? Are you asking God to bless another’s life, a blessing that you have no personal gain in the fulfilled prayer?  This is what you are expected to be doing.  As you do, you become a conduit of God’s blessings.

 Paul says he is hard at work in prayer. There is additional labor that Paul is engaged in.  He allows himself to be an example.  His testimony, being faithful, even in prison for the faith, is encouragement for you and I to keep on keeping on regardless of the persecution and opposition we face.   It’s easy to renounce Jesus.  So much hardship was endured by our spiritual ancestors.  The accusation of being a Christian could result in the confiscation of all your property, no buying or selling, it could mean imprisonment, it could mean death. All you had to do was throw a pinch of incense on a brazier and say Caesar is Lord; an easy out. 

 Hear what Jesus tells His disciples:

Matt 10:32-33 (MSG)

"Stand up for me against world opinion and I'll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I'll cover for you?

 When the tide of popular opinion turns against the faith you are expected to keep your testimony in the face of all opposition.  Don’t let your actions camouflage your faith. Stay true to Jesus.  People were watching Paul, he was a leader in the faith, if the leader falls, what of those who are following?  Your actions can either confirm or destroy the faith of others. When a Christian leader falls there is a fallout.  Believers become disillusioned and drift away from the faith when the person they respect slips off the path of righteousness. Those who have rejected Jesus confirm their conviction that Christians are all hypocrites. Do you realize that people are watching you?  They are examining your testimony. What they see in you influences them to accept or reject Jesus.  Eternity is on the line in the decisions you make.

 Paul wants all believers to be woven into the tapestry of love.  It is through knowledge of God in Christ that we are woven into love.  If we didn’t know about the prevalence of Gnosticism we might not understand what Paul is writing about in verses 2-4.  The “gnosis” from Greek means knowledge, to know.  Gnosticism is a set of beliefs about creation and salvation.  God is pure spirit, this is true but in Gnostic imagination pure spirit would have nothing to do with the material.  The world and everything in it were created by an evil lessor being they called the Demiurge.  Humankind is imprisoned in the material world.  Salvation involves escaping the material world and entering a spiritual world where the incomprehensible and unknowable God exists. Jesus is the emissary of that God, who appeared human but was actually spirit. The God spirit possessed Jesus the man at his baptism and left at the crucifixion.  When a person possesses the secret knowledge of the mystery of Christ they are the ones whose souls return to God upon death escaping the material world and entering the spiritual.  Knowledge, the secret knowledge of the mystery of Christ, creates the divine spark within. This knowledge was found through individual experience of the esoteric and ecstatic variety, a kind of religious trance, a rapture of the soul, being carried away by the spirit.  The knowledge gained through these experiences would be authoritative, the testimony being, “the spirit revealed this to me.”

 Paul says no to the Gnostics,

Colossians 2:2-4

I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God's great mystery. All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else. And we've been shown the mystery! I'm telling you this because I don't want anyone leading you off on some wild-goose chase, after other so-called mysteries, or "the Secret."

Paul tells this congregation to be confident, be at peace, everything you need to know about salvation you will find in Jesus.  Jesus is God’s revealed mystery.  Jesus is God’s self-revelation, and reflecting in chapter 1, Jesus is God in the flesh.  Love is the key, a tapestry of love, we are woven into God’s being as we believe, bending the knee, actualizing righteousness through the intentions of our hearts, and actions of our bodies, our hard work for the Kingdom.  Nothing is hidden; the mystery is out in the open for any who desires to be united to God.

 Is there a desire in your heart to be united with God, to be woven into His tapestry of love? Then all you have to do is ask.  Ask God to forgive you of your sins, receive in the faith the atonement of Jesus made for you, and determine to live a life of love.  God will draw nearer to you and receive you as His own.  Now is the best time to ask.  If you do please let me know. I want to welcome you to the family and encourage you in your faith.

 Paul writes:

5 I'm a long way off, true, and you may never lay eyes on me, but believe me, I'm on your side, right beside you. I am delighted to hear of the careful and orderly ways you conduct your affairs and impressed with the solid substance of your faith in Christ.

 The phrase “I’m on your side, right beside you” is the translation of the Greek word parakalei.  The word is usually associated with the Holy Spirit, the way Paul has used it is an assurance that he is the person enabling you to meet some difficult situation with confidence and with gallantry, courageous in the face of the opposition, not alone, but supported (Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT).  I am with you.  This is exactly what Jesus told his disciples to encourage them in the task that they faced.  Carry out your mission, become the person I have created you to be, do the things I have enabled you to do “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matt 28:20 (NIV).  You can face any opposition; endure any hardship or heartbreak knowing that Jesus is with you.  “Being with” is also the encouragement we can give to one another, our prayers, our testimony, our helping hands.  I am with you.

 Paul’s delight is that this congregation is demonstrating the substance of their faith in an orderly manner (1 Corinthians 14:33). The solid substance of the faith is love.  Love: the actions of obedience and meeting human need, partnering with God, and being a good steward of your material blessings this is the way of Christ.  Love manifests the presence of God. We see God’s glory in acts of your Love.

 

Here are some thoughts you can take away from our time together:

We learned that separation, distance, and most likely time are not obstacles to our prayers. It is through our prayers that we can encourage others. 

 We learned that our prayers for others and our testimony are an encouragement to others.  Others are watching, others are evaluating, we must do our best as God’s ambassadors.

 We learned that our prayers for others, called intercession, are often more effective than when we pray for ourselves.  God hears the requests of the righteous person who is seeking God’s blessing on another.

 We have learned that everything that we need to know about salvation is discovered in and through Jesus.  The Message, the Gospel, God’s Master Plan is simple and clear and in the open for all who have ears to hear.

 We have learned that as Jesus is with us so we are to be with other believers, even if we never see them face to face. There is both comfort and encouragement when we know that others are supporting us.  

We have learned that our acts of love are a demonstration of the substance of the faith.  Where there is no love there is no faith.

 

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