Thursday, August 30, 2018

Colossians 1:15-29

"so that in everything He might have the supremacy" Colossians 1:18b

Jesus Christ is supreme in all things.  Jesus is supreme in His revelation of God to us.  Jesus Christ is God Himself.  Colossians 1:15 says,"He is the image of the invisible God."  God is invisible; but Christ, the eternal Son of God, also became man.  Jesus Christ, as God and man reveals God to us.

Jesus Christ, who is God Himself, is also supreme in all creation.  Colossians 1:16-17 says, " For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him, and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."  Everything was created by Jesus Christ and was made for His glory.  The Lord Jesus Christ also continues to sustain all of His creation by His mighty power and control!

Jesus Christ is also supreme in the church.  He is the head of the church.  He is also the beginning and foundation of the church.  By His death and resurrection Colossians 1:18b says He is "the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy."  It was Jesus Christ who saved us from eternal death in hell by His atoning sacrifice on the cross.  He made us to be at peace with God and no longer separated from God by our sins.  Colossians 1:20b says that Jesus Christ did this "through His blood, shed on the cross." Once we were enemies of God.  But now, according to Colossians 1:22b, because of Christ's death we are "holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation."  We now have a righteous and holy standing before God because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross!  When God looks at us He sees Christ's righteousness and not our sins!

Our righteousness standing in Christ, however, must also be increasingly shown in practical holiness in our lives.  We need to increasingly grow in our faith and in our love and obedience to the Lord.  We must increasingly grow in our desire to reflect Jesus in our lives.  We must increasingly grow in our desire to rid our lives of sinful attitudes and actions.  Colossians 1:23 reminds us that we must also persevere in our faith and continue in our faith "firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel."

Christ must become supreme in every area of our lives.  Our lives must be built on the Lord Jesus Christ.  Nothing in our lives should come before the Lord.  In order for this to happen we must spend time each day in prayer and Bible reading.  We also must be submissive to the Lord's working in our lives even in difficult times.

There is no greater joy than having Christ in the center of our lives and living our lives totally devoted to Him.  Nothing on this earth can compare to the joy of belonging to the Lord!  Colossians 1:27 tells us that to us, His children, He has chosen to reveal His "glorious riches" which is Christ living in us, "the hope of glory."  Our salvation in Christ, His presence and protections in our lives, and an eternal future with the Lord are all ours in Christ!  In thankfulness let us truly make Him Lord over over area of our lives!  Jesus Christ already has supremacy and glory in all things.  May our lives reflect His glory! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Colossians 1:9-14

Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.  We are filthy in our sins and can do nothing to bridge the gap between God and ourselves.  We can do nothing to even contribute to our salvation.  We stand in holiness before God only because of Jesus' atoning blood on the cross.  As a redeemed child of God, however, we now need to also grow in practical holiness in our lives.  In our Scripture passage today, Paul prayed for the Colossian Christians.  Paul prayed for practical holiness in their lives.  Paul's prayer in Colossians 1:9-14 is a beautiful example of the type of prayer we should pray for ourselves and for others.

Paul prayed that the Colossian believers would be filled with the knowledge of God's will and purpose.  Paul's prayer was that their understanding of God's will and purpose for them according to Colossians 1:9b would come through God's "spiritual wisdom and understanding."  Godly knowledge must not just be a possession of facts.  Rather, Godly knowledge involves a practical change in our lives.  Godly knowledge results in a change in our attitudes.  Godly knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in our lives involves our giving up our selfish "me" centered attitudes and being clothed with Christ-like attitudes.

Godly knowledge also involves Christ-like actions in our lives.  Paul continued to pray for the Colossian believers in Colossians 1:10-11. Paul prayed that they would "live a life worthy of the Lord" and that would "please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might."

This must be our prayer and passion also!  Our lives must be lived not for ourselves, but for the glory of God.  This is the purpose for which we were created.  Our lives must show spiritual fruit and evidence that we belong to the Lord.  The only way this can happen is if we are "growing in the knowledge of God."  We can only live for the Lord if we are immersing ourselves in His Holy Word, and we are seeking the Lord and His will with all our hearts.  Our lives can only be lived for the Lord through His power residing in us.  As believers we have in our possession the Lord's resurrection power in us!  This resurrection power gives us the potential and power to live for the Lord!  As believers, however, we must make the conscious and willing choice to walk in Christ-like attitudes and actions.

Paul also prayed that the Colossian believers would be strengthened with God's power and might, so that they according to Colossians 1:11b would "have great endurance and patience."  God's power in us is sufficient for us to prevail in patience even during those very difficult times in our lives.  We have God's power in us to not only endure these difficult times with gritted teeth, but we can even go through these times with a joyful and thankful heart.  We can in all things have hearts filled with praise, because we belong to the Lord for time and eternity!

Colossians 1:12b-14 reminds us that as children of God we "share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.  For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."  Jesus Christ has rescued us from the "dominion of darkness" and sin. Christ has delivered us from Satan's kingdom to His kingdom of righteousness.  He has done this for a purpose, however, and that purpose is so we can live as trophies of His grace and for His glory.  God has given us His resurrection power to live for Him.  It must be our choice and responsibility, however, to resist sin and the devil and to pursue His holiness and His will in our lives.  May it be our consuming passion to live for the Lord!  May it be our consuming passion to grow in practical holiness in our lives!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Colossians 1:1-7

"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints-the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven."  Colossians 1:3-5

In Paul's letter to the Colossians Paul refers to the Colossian believers in Colossians 1:2 as "holy and faithful."  Because of Christ's sacrificial death on the cross they were holy in their standing in Christ.  These believers were now wearing the righteous robes of Christ's righteousness.  They were not holy  and righteous in themselves, because every human being is filthy in their own sins.  They, however, were now clothed in Christ's righteousness.  When God, the Father, looked down on them; He no longer saw their sins.  Instead He saw Christ's righteousness and holiness.  This is true of believers today also.  We are righteous and holy in Christ's atoning blood alone.  A new life in Christ, however, brings about growth in practical righteousness and holiness.  A new life in Christ brings about a growth in Christ-likeness in our day to day lives.

In Colossians chapter one Paul lists several characteristics in the lives of the people in the church in Colosse for which he was thankful to God.  Paul was thankful to God for these characteristics, because all evidence of spiritual growth and spiritual fruit in a believer's life comes from God.  These were characteristics in the believers' lives which showed a growth in practical holiness and a growth in Christ-likeness in their lives.  These are characteristics of growth in holiness that should be increasingly evident in our lives as believers today also.

Faith and love are the first two characteristics Paul mentions.  Faith is trusting and leaning our entire personalities on the Lord in absolute and complete trust.  It is trusting the Lord for everything we need for time and eternity.  Faith is trusting in God's wisdom, power, goodness, and faithfulness.  Love encompasses love for God and for others, especially our fellow believers.  This kind of love extends even to those people who are sometimes not loving to us.  It extends to those who are unlovely or difficult.  It is easy to love those who are pleasant and loving to us. It is much more difficult to love those who are sometimes insensitive and unloving to us.  The Lord loved us, however, in our sinful and unlovable state.  We need to show that same love to others.

Hope is another characteristic of a spiritually growing Christian.  The word "hope" in the Bible does not refer to something for which one might wish but is uncertain.  The word "hope" in the Bible refers to the absolute certainty of the promises of God which have not yet fully been attained.  It is an anticipation of the glories of our rewards in heaven.  It is also a willingness to cling in faith to the Lord in times of trial.  It is a willingness to cling in joyful anticipation to His precious promises of victory in our lives as children of God.  It is a willingness to wait for the Lord's perfect timing for all the events of our lives. 

Fruitfulness and faithfulness are two other characteristics of a true child of God.  Children of God will show the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  They will show that they are children of God by their lives and words.  They will be spiritually fruitful in their attitudes and actions in their lives.  They will also be faithful in their service to the Lord to the very end.

We need to examine our lives to see if we are growing in holiness and Christ-likeness in our lives.  We need to be growing in faith, hope, fruitfulness, and faithfulness.  We need to be growing to become more like Jesus every day!