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?
“He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.”
There’s a way to live such that death will not put an end to life. That way is not a narcissistic fountain-of-youth fantasy (which has no basis in reality), but rather an intimate fellowship with one another through forgiveness, generosity, faithfulness, kindness, humility, and sacrifice. Jesus is the one person in all of history who has lived that kind of life. In the future, everyone will live like Jesus. Or, to put it another way, everyone who has life in the age to come will be alive only because he or she has learned the eternal kind of life. This is Paul’s point, that Jesus is the first of his kind, the first human being who lives the eternal kind of life, and the one—the one—who will teach you to live it.
If you don’t mind, I’m going to continue my train of thought from yesterday’s re:vlog. I have been rolling this turn of phrase around in my head for a couple of weeks now, and I think it beautifully captures an “unknowable” characteristic of God/Jesus. The Word become flesh is something we say a lot, but it should never lose it’s incredible significance. A deity so incomprehensibly vast and great that he breathes the cosmos into existence choose to become completely comprehensible to create a relationship with his creation.
Who would do that?!?!
Never lose sight of what Jesus put aside so that he could create a way for you to commune with him. It should be enough to allow you to give up whatever is holding you back from that perfect communion. He made the invisible visible, don’t you think he can make your burdens invisible?
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Colossians 1:15-19 in our Fall Sermon Series: “Fullness of Christ” a study of Colossians.
We are taught from an early age that the necessities of life are air, water, food, shelter, and sleep. These are the five things that we cannot live without, however, Scripture teaches something different. The Word of God tells us that the necessity of life is a relationship with the Lord, which only happens as described in Colossians 1:13-14:
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Without that redeeming work of God death will not be contained by any amount of air, water, food, shelter, or sleep.
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking… Colossians 1:9
Paul’s prayer is rich, but I don’t want to write about its content. What I find compelling is he tells the Colossians in detail how he is praying for them. I think Paul sets a good example for us. We often tell a friend or acquaintance, “I’m praying for you.” That’s a good thing to do, of course, if we actually pray for them, but we don’t often tell them how we are praying; we don’t tell them the content of our prayer. For Paul, and us, telling others how we pray serves a variety of purposes, but mostly it reminds the recipient of the truths and promises of God. When we vocalize our prayers, or tell our neighbor how we are praying, it moves past just providing information and becomes a spoken or written blessing. That is invaluable.
Try it sometime; I will. If you have committed to praying for someone, tell them how you have prayed. It will do both of you good.
Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:9-14 (day five) “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness”. I had a professor in college who used to say, “You’ll never know how saved you are until you know how lost you were”. According to Paul’s description in Colossians 1, it was a bleak and hopeless circumstance- a domain of darkness.
As teenagers, we used to play a joke on one member of our group every time we would sing Amazing Grace (Not one of my better moments). When we would sing the first verse, we would all pick one person and sing “that saved a wretch like YOU” (all of us pointing at them). It was really funny to me, until one Sunday I was the one who was singled out as “the wretch”. It was a defining moment. Not because I felt picked on or targeted, but because I knew (maybe with greater clarity and conviction) it was true about me. I was a wretch. I needed rescue from the domain of darkness. Even as a nine year old. That’s the good news and power of the Gospel. A reminder of how lost we were will help us be thankful for how saved we are.
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!
Knowing is for science, believing is for religion. Is that how you think about reality? We say “faith-based” when we talk about an initiative that springs from a spiritual motivation. We say “evidence-based” when we speak of a practice or program that proceeds from a scientific paradigm. We hold in high regard the stories of “persons of faith” who seemingly are proven right despite what all the “persons of knowledge” have said to the contrary. But does faith trump knowledge? Surely that’s not faith’s trajectory. When, for example, you have received God’s provision for a need, that is one instance in which having faith that God could do something has become knowledge that God is actually capable of doing it. It is possible, then, to grow in spiritual knowledge. This is Paul’s prayer for us.
Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:9-14 (day two) …giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. vs. 12
The language of these few verses is rich. Paul describes a lived-out faith that is evident in so many ways. Growing in knowledge is mentioned twice. Being filled, bearing fruit, being strengthened with all power; these are just a few of the phrases that Paul uses to characterize the incredible evident faith of the Colossians. There is a caveat. Without God the Father, none of this would be possible. It was God that qualified us for this work and for the inheritance that we will all take part in.
This is an excellent reminder that when the evidences of God are all around us, and every plan and program are producing great results, remember who it was that gave us this purpose. Remember who it was that set us on our mission, gave us the gifts to accomplish the task, and is the reason for any success we may achieve. Don’t get to the mountain and forget how you got there.