We begin a new
book of study this week. The Book of Colossians is one of Paul’s
prison epistles. Epaphras, their Pastor, has been overtaken by the
attack of intellectualism, ritualism, legalism, mysticism, and
asceticism. He went to Rome and asked Paul to address these
issues. They were teaching Christ plus something else. Paul wrote
the letter with this theme, “We Are Complete In Christ” or “The
Suffering Of Christ Alone”. Colosse was but a small town in what
we know today as modern Turkey. A short time after Paul’s death
history tells us this town was destroyed by an earthquake and is no
more. O how our God raises up churches for His use and when He is
done He closes and puts them down. What He has opened we are not
able to shut and what He has shut we are not able to keep opened.
Go with us now as we
search this book with the thought of we are “Complete in Christ”
or simply “Christ Is All I Need”.
Let us begin this
week with verses 1-8 of Chapter 1. Have your Bibles opened, as I
will not quote this text.
In verses 1-2 I see
“The Address Of Introduction”. Paul uses his title of ‘apostle’
in the introduction for authority. He is an apostle by no act of
man but solely by the will of God. Paul in his address calls
Timothy and the folks at the Colosse Church ‘brother’ and ‘faithful
brethren’. I was asked not long ago why I used ‘brother’
and ‘sister’ when referring to church folk. I say because
Paul and the Bible does.
He called Timothy
his brother and Phebe his sister. (Romans 16) O what a great family
we are a part of by the divine act of the new birth. It is much
larger than the physical family you were birthed into and you will
find to be even closer. He addresses his letter not to all the
saints at the Colossian Church but the ‘faithful’. The word
means steadfast, full of faith, loyal, firm in adherence to the
Bible, trustworthy and reliable. There will be many in the church
who claim to be saved but few who are faithful. They are called the
‘saints’. This word means those who have been declared Holy
by a righteous act of God. If you are saved you are saints. This is
a part of our completeness in Christ. He extends grace, the source
of salvation, and peace, the fruit of salvation, to these saints. He
uses the Father and the Son together in the same verse giving them
oneness. This would have been a shot across the bow of the ship to
the intellectual Gnostics who didn’t believe the Father and Son were
In verses 3 and 7 we
have “The Adoration Of Introduction”. Paul gives thanks for
this church and states that he prays for them always. When I see
that our Lord and the apostle Paul sensed a need to pray always,
where my friend does that leave you and I? In verse 7 he gives
adoration to Epaphras their Pastor. He calls him a ‘fellowservant’
or fellow slave. He calls him a ‘faithful minister’. The word
means table waiter. Epaphras was a dependable trustworthy table
waiter. May the Lord raise up Pastors who want to serve their people
and not to be served by their people.
In verses 4-5 and 8
Paul mentions their great hunger of truth from the Bible. I call
this “The Accomplishment Of Introduction”. They are faith,
hope, and love. In verse 4 we see their ‘faith’ mentioned.
It is the belief in the unseen and the unbelievable. It is a gift
from God of which we are not born with. The more we learn of Him and
exercise our faith in Him it increases. The other hinge of truth is
love. This love only comes from the Lord. They expressed this love
for one another. (Vs. 4) We are told in verse 8 that the Holy
Spirit produces it. O may our churches be a place where love for one
another, with all our spots and blemishes, is expressed. The lasts
hinge that keeps faith and love active is the truth of hope. (Vs.
5a) Hope is confident expectation that the Lord has reserved a
reward for us in the land beyond and by faith I can see it afar. O
how I love Him who made it all possible.
In verses 5b-6 Paul
tells us of “The Advancement Of Introduction.” Paul is
magnifying the advancement of the gospel. It has spread even to
this area of modern day Turkey and is causing fruit to come forth.
O how little Paul realized the worldwide scope of the gospel to
break the most hardened sinners. Little did he know it would spread
one thousand nine hundred and four years later to a little town in
Portsmouth, Virginia and save an old sinner like me and make me
complete in Christ.