Christ’s Example

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 2:8-15 (day four)

Satan does not exercise a lot of creativity when it comes to temptation.  He has been using the same lies since the Garden of Eden.  He wraps them up in a different wrapper, but they are the same seductive snares.  Sadly, they continue to effectively draw us away from God’s perfect plan.

One of the well-worn enticements is to do God’s work, but in our own practical, efficient way.  Jesus faced this temptation in the wilderness.  God does not necessarily value efficiency as much as obedience.  Paul cautioned the Colossians to avoid the deception of the world and follow our example in Christ.  In our short, 8 verse passage, Paul references our relationship with Christ thirteen times.  {In Him…with Him…He (meaning Christ).} Our example to follow is clear.  Assignment:  Circle or underline these references in your Scripture, but more importantly, underline them in your life and follow the example we have in Christ!

Wealth

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 2:1-7 (day four)

Attaining to all the wealth..” verse 2Does this passage support the prosperity gospel of today’s TV evangelists?  No…this reference has nothing to do with material gain.  Wealth relates to the invisible characteristics that are ours in Christ.  Kindness, love, understanding, wisdom, knowledge, peace, faith, humility, gentleness, patience…all of these qualities are available to us through Christ.

Romans 2:4 says, “do you think lightly of the riches…?”  We settle for so much less when we focus on material gain.  It is trading fresh, flowing water for broken, stagnant cisterns. (Jeremiah 2:3)  Paul longed for the Colossians to know all of these characteristics of Christ and for them to grow and mature in their lives.  A relationship with Christ is not complete if we just know Him.  Growing in Christ-like character is essential for life…a life that is healthy and pleasing to God.  Go back to Paul’s prayer in chapter 1…”so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.”  Are you?

Through Us

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:24-29 (day four)

How do you define discipleship?  Is it a set of rules or a checklist of actions to perform?  (Older Baptists remember the Broadman 8-point checklist on our offering envelopes as a child.)  For Paul, discipleship was a relationship.  His ministry was to make Christ known to all people…Gentiles as well as Jews.  To be complete in Christ is to allow Christ to live His life through you.  It is not living the Christian life…it is Jesus living through you by the power of the Holy Spirit.

What do people see when they observe your life?  Do they see a devoted person living a disciplined, well-ordered life, based on Godly principles?  Or, do they see the power of Christ shining through a surrendered life?  When we accept Christ as our Savior, God places in us the means to accomplish everything He asks us to do.  The Holy Spirit empowers us and lives through us.  There is a difference!

Take Stock

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:20-23 (day four)

Alienated and hostile in mind…engaged in evil deeds…our lives were in confusion and rebellion against God.  Our passage says that God initiated reconciliation and Jesus Christ enabled it through His obedience and death on the cross.  Through Christ’s blood, the chaos and sin of our lives was reconciled to God.  And to what end?  Verse 22 says, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.  When we walk, reconciled before God, we bring glory to Him.  Our lives proclaim the Gospel along with all the creation.

As a believer, our lives should proclaim the Gospel just as God has proclaimed.  Do our lives reveal God’s Gospel or do we present a strange gospel that will not lead anyone to Christ?  It is easy to get slightly off the rails in our lives and then as we persevere in our confusion, we get further and further away from the true Gospel.  Take stock of the focus of your life to make sure some repentance is not in order!

First Place

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:15-19 (day four)

One of the false teachings being set forth to the Colossae church was that Christ was something of an angelic, created being.  Paul, in our passage, explains that Christ is incomparable…preeminent before all creation…the agent of creation for all things…before all things.  Verse 18 is something of a theme verse for this section of Scripture.  It answers the purpose for all of these characteristics of Christ…that He will have first place in everything.  Christ is fully God and able to meet our every need.

In our modern, hectic, urgent lives, it is easy to forget the fullness that dwells in Christ.  We treat Christ as a benevolent provider of our needs or a last hope, ‘go-to’ answer to the crisis times of our lives.  Strive to seek Christ first rather than your own resources and knowledge.  All the fullness of deity rests in Him…the Creator of heaven and earth.  How amazing is it that the God of all the universe, Creator of heaven and earth wants to have a relationship with us?

Growing in Christ

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:9-14 (day four)

Paul offers a beautiful prayer for the Colossians in our passage this week.  He prays for their spiritual needs rather than their material or physical needs.  It is not that these other prayers are bad, the spiritual needs are just so much more important and eternal.  He prays for the Colossians that their increased wisdom and understanding will lead to obedience.  Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord…please Him in all respects…bear fruit in every good work…increase in the knowledge of God…be strengthened with all power…be steadfast and patient…be thankful…is there anyone you know that you can pray this prayer for?

There is no better way to pray for someone than to use the words of Scripture to pray back to God.  God’s own words returned back to Him!  There is no better prayer than Paul’s here in Colossians to pray for someone you love.  Comprehensive and thorough…growing in the incomparable Christ!

Integrity

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:1-8 (day four)

We begin a new study this week…Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae.  Paul was an excellent letter writer and true to his form, he begins his letter with an introduction.  Colossians was possibly Paul’s first prison letter.  It was especially important for Paul to introduce himself to these believers in Colossae.  Paul did not found this church and had likely never visited it.  Since he was writing to both encourage the believers and offer warnings against false theology, Paul felt the need to establish his call and authority, so the church would give heed to his words.  His reputation likely preceded him since Philemon and Onesimus were from Colossae.

Paul’s reputation spoke of the integrity of his message.  His lifestyle matched the words of his preaching.  If you were to share Christ with someone, would your life give testimony to the truth of your words?  The Gospel must be lived out as well as spoken.

Sabbath Rules

Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:8-11 (day four)

The rules governing the Sabbath day were frequently a point of challenge between the Pharisees and Jesus.  The Pharisees had developed hundreds of laws of their own design that governed this holy day.  Were these extensive restrictions God’s plan for this commandment?

In Matthew 12:1-8 and Mark 2:23-28, Jesus told the Pharisees that he was Lord of the Sabbath; that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  Jesus was in direct conflict with the man-made religious systems (think cleansing of the temple) of His day.  The light of Truth penetrated the false teaching of the hypocrites that were creating an idol of worship over God’s authority.  Jesus referenced the prophet Hosea saying God values compassion rather than sacrifice.

Are there areas of your life where you have added to God’s Word and given divine authority to the devices of your own reasoning?  Repent and return to the simple commands of divine truth!

In Vain

Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:7 (day four) 

At the time of the giving of the Ten Commandments, God was establishing the basis of a covenant relationship with Israel. A covenant, unlike a contract, cannot be broken or set aside just because circumstances have changed.  A covenant is a holy agreement.  Verse 7, our text, deals not only with cursing using God’s name or proclaiming God’s word without actually having it, but also making vows or promises with God and not keeping them.  We may flippantly make a promise to God or invoke His name into a promise to another, with no intention of keeping it.  We have no reverence or respect for His holy name and toss it around like a seal of approval for our own devices.

The only solution to deal with our vain statements is repentance.  To restore our relationship and receive forgiveness, we must repent!  To break a covenant will always result in consequences.  Take seriously your covenant relationship with God and avoid using His name in vain.

One God

Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:4-6 (day four)

The first and second commandments are very similar…one almost an extension of the other.  Together, they define the starting point of all worldviews.  Either you believe in God or you do not.  Your worldview is then established off of these premises.  These commandments demand ultimate allegiance to God whose existence defines all reality.  Theologian James Orr said, over a century ago, “This explains the radical antagonism between the two worldviews, one believing in God and one not.  Two different starting points for all thought, two different realities—on the one hand silence, on the other hand speech; on the one hand, nihilism, on the other hand, theism, and those in the end are the only two great alternatives.”

These commands also demand exclusivity in worship.  In our politically correct society, exclusivity is not a popular thought.  Tolerance is the word of the day.  Jesus also claims to be exclusive.  Acts 4:12 says, “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  God is not saying I am the best among many…He is saying no other gods, I am the only one!