Introduction to the Epistle to the Colossians
Col. 1: 1 – 2
While Paul was imprisoned in Rome, he wrote four wonderful Epistles namely, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. These four Epistles are called “Prison Epistles”. God’s marvellous wisdom, grace, mercy, power, and omniscience is shown here. He can make good out of difficult and frustrating circumstances. Paul’s imprisonment did more contribution to Christianity to which until now we modern or I would end times Christians still benefit from his writings.
I. Some important facts
A. The book of Colossians is similar to the Book of Ephesians, the emphasis on the Ephesians is “the body of Christ”, while the emphasis in the Colossians is “Christ the head of the body”
B. Paul did not start the church in Colosse. He never visited the city (Col. 2:1). He only heard of their faith (Col. 1:4).
C. It is possible that the Church in Colosse was started by Epaphras. One of his students while he was teaching the Word of God in Ephesus at the house of Tyrannus (Acts 19: 9, 10).
D. For those who want to know where the City of Colosse is, it is located in Turkey, now an Islamic nation.
E. This Epistle was written to set forth the pre-eminency of Christ, His all sufficiency (v. 1:18, 2:9) and He is God’s answer to error.
F. This letter was written to combat what we call the Colossian Heresy which is a combination of Judaism and Gnosticism (anything material was sinful). There were false philosophies of tradition, legalism, mysticism, and asceticism (v. 2:18-19) which we will all deal as we study his book for the next few months.
II. Paul’s Apostleship (v. 1)
A. Paul was not one of the 12 original Apostles.
B. One qualification for apostleship was they were chosen personally by Jesus. Paul was chosen by the Lord (Acts 9:15). The apostles saw the resurrected Christ. Paul saw the risen Saviour (1 Cor. 9:1, 15:8-9).
C. Their message was received by direct revelation from God not from man. Paul got his message from God (Gal. 1: 11-12).
D. Special sign were given to the original apostles. God gave Paul miracle working power to authenticate his apostleship (II Cor. 12:12, Heb. 2:3-4).
E. Paul was an apostle by the will of God, not by his own self appointment. He did not choose it, it was God’s choice to make him an apostle and give him the ministry to preach to the gentiles.
No more apostles today. Those who think and uphold their leader as an apostle are committing a very big mistake. No one can meet the qualification of the apostles as written in the Bible. The first apostles were called to lay the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20). The foundation has been firmly laid, and those men, with their special authority, calling, sign gifts have passed off the scene. No NT passage instructs churches to select or ordain Apostles—only pastors and deacons (1 Tim. 3, Tit. 1).
A. He was one of Paul’s closest co-labourer and the recipient of two Epistles of Paul
B. Considered as his son in faith (II Tim. 2:1)
C. Timothy has Gentile father (Acts 16:1) but his mother and grandmother is a Jew (II Tim 1:5). He learned the OT from a young age from them (II Tim. 3:15).
IV. Saints (v. 2) Saint means one who is set apart for God. The words “saint”, “holy” and “sanctify” are from the same Greek word. In the NT the term saint is applied to all true Christians. Even the carnal Christians at Corinth were called saints (2 Cor. 1:1). Christians are saint because they have a sinless Saviour and He has removed their sins before God (Rev. 1:5, 6; 1 Pet. 2:9-10).
People say they don’t feel like they are saints. But it has nothing to do on how you feel. Being a saint is our position in Christ the moment we receive Him as our personal Saviour. The Colossians is also called by Paul “faithful brethren” in the sense that they remain faithful to the truth that have known even in the face of false doctrines.
V. Greetings of Grace and Peace (v. 2)
A. There were two ways grace is used in the Bible:
1. Saving grace – is the free unmerited favor of God. Biblical grace means the unmerited eternal salvation of God which comes freely to the believing sinner through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Salvation by grace alone through faith alone is the gospel preached by the Apostles and revealed to us in the Word of God (Eph. 2:8-9). Saving grace comes through the blood of Jesus Christ and is received by trusting that blood (Rom. 3:24, 25).
2. Serving grace – is the enablement God gives Christians to make them able to serve Him. (Acts 14:26, Rom. 12:3, 6). A person cannot receive serving grace until he receive saving grace. Serving grace comes through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and is received by prayer and by walking in obedience to the Holy Spirit (Eph. 3:7, Gal. 5:16, Heb. 4:16).
Illustration: Strength for Ministry (2 Tim. 2:1)
(1). Saved by grace Eph. 2:8-9 (2). Stand by grace Rom. 5:2 (3). Serve through grace I Cor. 15:10 (illustration of wick and oil. If the oil runs out, the wick burns. As long as there is oil, the wick doesn’t burn. The question to ask: what’s burning? (4). Sustained by grace II Cor. 12:9 (5). God can minister grace through my speech Eph. 4:29 (6). God gives grace to grow II Peter 3:18 ((Colin Seitz).
Illustration: The Net
During the building of the Golden Gate Bridge over San Francisco Bay, construction fell badly behind schedule because several workers had accidentally fallen from the scaffolding to their deaths. Engineers and administrators could find no solution to the costly delays. Finally, someone suggested a gigantic net be hung under the bridge to catch any who fell. Finally in spite of the enormous cost, the engineers opted for the net. After it was installed, progress was hardly interrupted. A worker or two fell into the net but were saved. Ultimately, all the time lost to fear was regained by replacing fear with faith in the net.
B. Two kinds of peace
1. There are two kinds of peace in salvation-peace with God and the peace of God. Peace with God is received through faith in Christ’s blood. It is a product of justification (Ro 5:1). . Men are at war with God because of their refusal to love and serve Him only (Lu 19:14). Jesus Christ came to earth and made peace by His blood (Col 1:20) so men could be brought near to God. This is the message of peace now to be preached to every person and nation in the world (Ac 10:36; Ro 10:15; Eph. 2:17). Men do not make peace with God concerning their sin. God has made peace through His Son, Jesus Christ, and it is up to men to receive, ignore, or reject the peace God is offering. Those who receive Jesus Christ enjoy peace with God.
2. The Peace of God is that comfort and encouragement and tranquillity of mind and heart which He gives obedient saints (Col. 3:15). Jesus gives peace and comfort to His followers as they faithfully serve Him (Jn. 14:27; 16:33). The believer enjoys this peace only as he casts his care upon God in prayer (Ph. 4:6-7). Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22), and is enjoyed by believers who allow the Spirit of God to rule their lives (Col. 3:15). Peace comes to a person’s heart when he meditates upon God’s love and protection (Isa. 26:12).
Here in this book is taught the all sufficiency and pre-eminence of Jesus Christ. To learn more about the Saviour, we must learn of this book. May God richly bless us all as we continue our journey in knowing our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Note: Most of the definitions here were taken from Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity by David Cloud.
Preached: 27 Jan. 2013