Attention!
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Derickson's Notes on Selected Books

Colossians 1

Verse 1

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus [our] brother,"

"an apostle"= per vine "one sent forth"

Timothy means honoring God.

"by the will of God" is there any other basis for a man to be in a place of leadership in the Lord’s work?

NO

There was a Christian college where the board found that they had power they had never known of before. They started flexing their new found strength and started demanding things of the faculty which were not really proper. The entire faculty finally resigned.

The board moved in assuming they would just run the school with the ease with which they had taken it over. One of them was in the office one day several weeks into their take over complaining to others about how much work it was to take care of all the details they had run into.

One of the faculty members that was cleaning out his office across the hall overheard the conversation so he stepped over beside the board member and quietly said, "You know I was called by God to this ministry, how about you?" and walked off.

The board had been called to be a guiding force, not a driving force. The faculty had been called to the mechanics of the school.

Q. Why does he use the term brother here?

We are all children of God. We are brothers and sisters in a perfect family. Too bad we don’t always live like it in our churches today!

Verse 2

"To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

We should note that this letter is addressed to saints not the First Baptist Church of Colosse. This is important in three ways.

a. There were no denominational/fellowship distinctions back then. All believers were Christians, not divided into dozen’s of groups.

b. This was a letter to individuals rather than to a group or organization. Importance? A letter to a group is easily dismissed as "not for me." When addressed to people I suspect there would be more responsibility taken. So, the Bible is also to individuals not the church.

c. Since it is addressed to the saints then it is possible that there was more than one church in town. Since churches met in homes we might assume there may have been multiple churches in Colosse. The church is made up of people - not buildings - people will be seated at the marriage feast of the Lamb not a bunch of buildings.

"Saints and faithful" are the same people due to a rule of the Greek language called the Granville Sharp rule so I am told by the commentaries.

This however calls our attention to something. If you are a saint you should also be faithful in all things before the Lord.

Verse 3

"We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,"

Have you ever been thankful for a group of saints other than in your own church? Years ago there was a little Bible school in the middle of nowhere. The staff served on missionary support. For many years before serving there myself I found myself quite thankful for those men and women that were committed to training young people for the ministry.

Two actions Paul and Timothy are taking on behalf of the saints - Thanking God for them and praying for them. Yes, one is in the other but giving thanks is part of how we pray.

It would be interesting to know what those topics of prayer might have been. I suspect a good study would be to just read through the book jotting down items that Paul wanted for them. You would then have a good idea what Paul’s prayer list might have been like.

Always praying for you - pray without ceasing - Paul must have been quite a man of prayer. (Acts 12:5; Romans 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:17) There must have been something to this prayer thing that Paul thought was positive.

"We give thanks"

Thanks comes from "Euchariseo" or the term that we gain our term Eucharist from today.

Paul later seems to ask for their growth. There are mature and there are babes in Christ. It is the mature that ought to be teaching the babes, not the other way around. If a church is made up of only babes, then the one most mature should be teaching them until others find maturity.

We find that Paul is evaluating the believers - not judging them. It is not wrong for the church leaders to evaluate the believers that God has placed under them. After evaluation there should be a setting of goals for those believers - where does the church desire these people to be spiritually in five years - ten years?

Now that we have said this, we need to add a good warning to the leadership. The evaluation must be objective and based on God’s requirements, not personal bias nor personal choice.

As one that might be evaluated, we must be open to the evaluation of the leaders and consider it wisely.

Years ago when just starting a marriage, a family and college we were church mouse poor. I wore the very best I had to church which included a sweater and cowboy boots instead of suit and dress shoes. The pastor took exception with my dress - decided I was being rebellious and told me to wear shoes and a suit. While agreeing with him that shoes and a suit would have been preferable, I had no suit nor money to buy one. I had one pair of footwear - cowboy boots. Rebellious? No. His evaluation was based on personal bias not fact, nor Scripture.

Verse 4

"Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love [which ye have] to all the saints,"

Paul had heard of their faith and love which had caused him to pray for them. Most likely from Epaphrus - he was out telling of his people and their needs.

Love is the agape love. Note their love was for ALL the saints, now if that isn’t a problem for many of us I don’t know what it is - ALL even those nasty ones you can’t stand!

Love is the phrase that everyone likes to use, we are to be more loving, we are to be loving to others, we are to love one another and get along etc. Love comes from the Spirit, not from within us. As we walk with Him his love will be shed forth through us. We don’t have to struggle and strain to get that love out of the bowels of our being - walk with the Lord and allow Him to have His way through you.

It isn’t the gushy mess that some suggest - it is seeing value in others and treating them as valuable.

Years ago a young woman wrecked her car in front of the store where I was working. She pulled the car into our parking lot, opened the door and proceeded to gusher. She fell completely apart. She told me of the many problems she had already and now this. I am not a loving person as such, but at that moment I had the encouragement and words that she really needed. She was calmed quite quickly. Now, that was not because of my suave way with women, it was the Spirit of God working through me.

I once heard this description of love in action. Recognize the person’s worth before God, desire to benefit that person and take action.

Verse 5

"For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel"

Not "I hope I’ll be resurrected" but "I’m thoroughly confident that I’ll be resurrected." Our hope is to be raised with Christ and so we shall be.

The Colossians hope produced love and faith.

What can a hope like this produce in us today?

First of all what is hope?

From the text it is the confidence that we will live eternally with God.

In light of that concept - if we really believed it what would that hope produce in us?

1. A close walk with the Lord.

2. Desire to be a fruitful Christian.

3. Desire to share hope with others that we meet.

4. Living for things above and future, not for things here and now.

Verse 6

"Which is come unto you, as [it is] in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as [it doth] also in you, since the day ye heard [of it], and knew the grace of God in truth:"

Notice that it is the Gospel that is the one that bears fruit! It’s great to know the gospel does bear fruit - many missionaries labor for years before seeing converts - this verse should encourage them.

This also is an encouragement to all that labor for God - we may never see any fruit of our ministries but if we labor with Him then we can know there is fruit.

Verse 7

"As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellow servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;"

Some feel that Epaphras was the man that evangelized this valley and the cities of Colossae, Hierapolis, and Laodicea. It would fit that his report to Paul was the prompting for Paul to write the letter.

It seems Epaphras may have been sent by Paul to do a work at Colossae. He was working for Paul in some manner. Some see Epaphras as similar to Timothy and Titus - apostolic delegates to do a work that the apostle could not do himself due to other involvements.

Verse 8

"Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit."

We see that "love" is a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. "In the Spirit" indicates our love - true love comes from God rather from our magnanimousness. Now some might argue with that, but Paul saw love as proceeding from the Spirit.

Verse 9

"For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;"

Wow, can you imagine the feeling of those hearing these words - Paul has declared he prays for them twice in the early part of this letter. What would it be like to know someone like Paul was praying for you? Pretty great I would think.

As a whole this verse portrays something that is neat. You are so burdened with someone that you begin to pray for them on a daily basis. People you don’t know - maybe people you haven’t seen in many years.

A missionary family came to our church many years ago and presented their work in Papua New Guinea. For several years after that I would pray for them on a daily basis. The Lord had given me a tremendous burden for them and their ministry. I never saw them again, and never heard from them, but I felt led to pray for them on a continuing basis for many years.

Paul is very concerned with them finding God’s will for their lives. Many today spend great amounts of time looking and seeking God’s will for their lives.

I see three phases of God’s will. Understanding all three will help us find God’s will.

a. His overall will - His decrees - His plan for the ages, which includes each of us as individuals. We can do nothing about this - it is set - don’t sweat it.

b. His will for our life as revealed in His Word. Baptism, Lord’s Table, use of our gift, refraining from sin, being fruitful and many other items. These aren’t options - do them - don’t wonder if they are for you - they are.

c. His will for our life - what he wants us to do with our life. There may be some aspect to His will in a specific location of ministry and/or your freedom in that sort of decisions. He is usually very clear in this area - you will normally know what he wants.

Someone once asked me how I would answer someone that thought they had missed God’s will in their life. I replied that since God is God, it is inconceivable to me that He could not communicate His will to someone unless they were living in sin for a protracted time.

Anyone that is seeking His will, will certainly find it - He isn’t running a top secret organization.

Wisdom is a term that appears six times in the book. (James mentions, if we lack it we should ask - James 1:5)

Verse 10

"That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"

Imagine that - You can live a life that is worthy of Almighty God!

What does it mean to walk worthy of the Lord?

1. Walk with Him would be a simple all-encompassing answer, but a big discussion stopper.

2. The fact that we can - ought to gather our amazement into one place so that we can be totally shocked. For mortal man to walk worthily of almighty God is quite something - not that we are that great, but that He has allowed it in His grand scheme of things. We will look at the tools to achieve this later - He allows it and gives us the where with all to do it.

One possible translation of this word is to be occupied with - that probably tells it like number one states it. Be occupied with God.

The tense of this verb seems to indicate that this walk is a one time thing - this also would give credence to the thought of occupying yourself with Him. I isn’t an on/off item as is convenient, but a life long decision.

"knowledge" is the same term as in verse 9 - "epigenosco" The term indicates a precise and correct knowledge (as opposed to the knowledge of the Gnostics I would guess). It is used of ethical and divine knowledge.

Walking with Him - producing fruit - gaining knowledge of Him. Now, that is a tall order, but it ought to be a very pleasing thought to the believer that he could be a part of this with God.

And don’t forget good works! They are an integrated part of our Christian walk.

So, how do we gain this knowledge? By being in the Word, in personal study, in preparation for teaching your own children or a class in church, or in other church Bible studies.

Verse 11

"Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;"

We don’t want to speak of patience and longsuffering do we? We tend to ignore that sort of thing until we have to confront it.

We are strengthened unto all patience - not by our own power, but by HIS!

Longsuffering - what do you think this is? I used to think that trials were only for a time and then we would be "THERE" and not have any more trials - not quite how it works.

Longsuffering is bad enough, but we are to do it with joyfulness! That is hard at times. I can suffer with the best of them, but I like everyone around to know I’m suffering.

Verse 12

"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:"

"giving thanks" - this guy is always praying! How does that relate to the church today? Most churches are lucky to muster 15% of their membership on prayer night - indeed many churches don’t even have a regular prayer meeting. There seems to be something very wrong about that in my mind.

"Inheritance" This is one case where there can be an inheritance without the person dying!!!! Christ died that we might have it.

It is of note also that HE "hath made us meet to be partakers" - not us - HE! We often act as if we made ourselves worthy by our works to be His sons and daughters, but that is far from reality.

Verse 13

"Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:"

We were moved from one kingdom to another by Him - not ourselves. This is maybe a bit of a stab at the gnostics self help type religion where they have to do the work.

Took us right out of Satan’s hands and domain! Stuck us right into His Son’s kingdom – son-ship in the family.

Verse 14

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:"

Redemption simply means to buy back or to pay a price. This is what Christ did on the cross - He paid the price for us. Not only did He purchase us - He made it possible for us to have forgiveness of our sins - both ongoing and past.

Don’t mind if I just stop and list some theological studies mentioned here.

Inheritance.

Delivery from Satan.

Translated into the kingdom.

Redemption.

Forgiveness of sins.

Not to speak of the Fatherhood of God, the Sonship of Christ.

No matter how some like to deride theology, the Bible is full of it!

1-15 seems to be looking at our salvation while 16-23 are looking at the provider of that salvation, our Savior. Paul is really laying it out for his reader - Christ is God - that is a sword to the body of Gnosticism. There is a God and He has provided for us.

Well maybe a little more theology. Some points raised to the point of the deity of Christ in the next section.

15. "image of the invisible God"

16. He created everything

17. Pre-existent/sustainer

18. head of the body - the church

19. fullness of God dwells in Him

20. reconciler

22. makes us free from accusation

Verse 15

"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:"

I’m sure that the Jehovah Witnesses camp on this passage. It, to some, indicates Christ was a created being. Their translation reads "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;" They and the Gnostics would suggest He is similar to God - a mere image. They would also see Him as part of the creation rather than the creator.

Vine p. 104 states "...His eternal relationship with the Father is in view, and the clause means both that He was the Firstborn before all creation and that He Himself produced creation...."

It means the first one born. The context lets you know first who. It is applied to first child, first raised to life and first group raised to life. In this text it relates to Christ’s eternal generation.

"Not a commencement of existence, but an eternal relation to the Father, ... there never having been a time when the Son began to be, or when the Son did not exist as God with the Father." Systematic Theology; Augustus Strong; The Judson Press; Valley Forge, PA; 1907; p 341

Adam was created mature, creation was created with age, and Christ was always the first begotten.

If, indeed, God is the eternal Father, then Christ must be the eternal Son.

A little logic. If Christ is the image of the invisible God, and if we are to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), and if Christ is to be our example (1 Peter 2:21) then we can be like God - not God, but like God in our lives.

We are growing into the image of God - we can be like Him, all we have to do is begin to make life changes as indicated by the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 16

"For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:"

All things were created - all things - all thrones - all authorities. There is nothing that He did not create - how comforting is that? It has to be quite comforting to those under the thumb of dictators. God sets up and takes down governments - this is quite clear in the book of Daniel. All governments are there by His dictates. He will remove them at his discretion. America in all its splendor and power is in existence only at the good pleasure and in my opinion longsuffering of Almighty God.

Hitler bit the dirt, Mussolini bit the dirt, Tojo bit the dirt, and all sorts of others have gone by the wayside even though they seemed to be terrors that were in place forever. Imagine the Colossians - under Rome - under rule from outside - this message had to have been an encouragement to them.

Verse 17

"And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."

He is caring for all creation. Hebrews 1:10-11 mentions that the creation is aging, yet Christ is not - He is able to keep this old creation going even when it is a senior citizen.

Worried about nuclear holocaust? Don’t be - won’t happen.

Worried about the sun burning out? Don’t be - won’t happen.

Worried about an ice age? Don’t be - won’t happen.

None of the disasters of the doom and gloom crowd can come to pass - these things may come, in part, but they will not wipe out the creation! (Read Genesis 8:22 for more proof of this.) We know about global warming - it is in a fight with Christ the sustainer - I think I know the winner.

Verse 18

"And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence."

Goodness, more theology.

Christ is the head of the body - you’d never know it to hear some pastors talk - "over at my church" "I’ve built this church and that church." WRONG it is Christ that builds and maintains His church.

To have a church without Christ as the head is like a chicken that has had its head removed - a body running erratically from one end of the yard to the other. Today churches are going from one fad to another to get people in rather than allow the Lord to grow His church through His methods - jazzercise, gift conferences, greeting times, contemporary music, seminars, concerts - you name it.

He is the firstborn from the dead - if He made it out, then we also will make it out of the grave - no other can hinder us from our escape.

That He might have the preeminence - well he created it all, He is upholding it all, He will outlast it all, why not let Him have his day in the news - HE NOT ONLY HAS THE PREEMEINENCE, HE IS PREEMINENT.

He should be first in your life - Romans 12:1-2 tells the believer to give themselves a living sacrifice. Our pastor years ago said of the Romans text, "There’s only one problem with a living sacrifice - it keeps climbing down off the altar." He is first - we only need to allow that relationship to develop in our lives.

That He might have first place in everything. Now, just how does that relate to our lives - He deserves as the first fruits from the grave to be first in our lives.

Verse 19

"For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fullness dwell;"

All of it is for the Fathers good pleasure. What a good theological study - the good pleasure of God that caused His Son pain.

The term translated "fullness" is used in classical Greek of the crew of a ship or population of a city - the full number which makes up the whole. It is also used of a patch filling a hole - full to completeness. (see Colossians 2:9 also) Christ is all that is needed by man.

Verse 20

"And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven."

We saw redemption in verse fourteen (see Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23 for more) and now we see reconciliation. Reconciliation is the bringing together of two that had previously been alienated. It takes a changing of both minds to bring them back together.

Christ’s work on the cross did that which was required for God to turn back to man after sin, however each individual must make their own decision - the decision to turn back to God.

It should be of note that it was God’s idea to reconcile, not man’s.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 mentions "And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation"

Sin is terrible, yet God made the decision to wipe the slates clean. No more - washed away. Not just covered as in the Old Testament, but GONE. That is our message to the world.

Paul has laid out some heavy doctrine in this portion - as he usually does. For those that get disgusted with theology I say they have to throw away their Bibles if they don’t want to mess with it.

What is meant by "things in heaven" - is there something in heaven that needs reconciling to God? It seems if it is where God is, there is no way that it is not reconciled to Him already, indeed, there is nothing there that ever needed reconciling.

One must assume that the text speaks of the atmosphere/universe, rather than heaven, God’s dwelling place. The term used here is used of all three areas, the atmosphere, the universe, and God’s dwelling place. (2 Corinthians 12:4; Matthew 24:29; Matthew 6:26) Let it suffice that Christ has reconciled everything and everyone that needed reconciling.

Christ has set in motion with his shed blood all that is needed for all of mankind and all of creation to be reconciled to God in one final moment of His completed work.

Verse 21

"And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled"

We were enemies of God yet, He brought us to a place where we can face God with all confidence as our God and Father - no longer enemies - now Father and child.

Personal opinion here. I think one of the fallacies in the modern church is the perception that the saints are and always have been great. Wrong, God said we were alienated and enemies - how long has it been since you’ve heard the testimony of how someone came to know the Lord.

That used to be part of becoming a church member - sharing with the church what Christ has done in your life. For that matter when is the last time you were in a testimony time? Just believers sharing what God has been doing in their lives during the week.

Verse 22

"In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:"

WOW the theology! HOLY, UNBLAMEABLE, AND UNREPROVEABLE before Almighty God - what a thumb of the nose to Lucifer!

So, what is theology anyway? A study of God. Soteriology is a study of salvation, ecclesiology is a study of the church, and in case you missed it we are in the middle of a brief course in Christology, a study of Christ.

Verse 23

"If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, [and] which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;"

Whoooooops. What is that all talking about. Seems we have to "continue" or keep this salvation that we have gained. Can we fall away? No, but we need to see what this verse is saying.

You need the rest of the sentence. If we continue to the end we will be presented as faultless and holy, but if we step away from holy living we will not be holy and faultless, we will be in sin when we are presented to the Lord. That will be a nasty situation to find yourself in!

In the Greek there is what is called a first class condition - if and assumed to be true rather than if as we use it, maybe it will and maybe it won’t. This is the thought - Paul assumes they will follow through with their living.

Gospel is the good news of salvation. Paul is the minister of that news. The term minister is the term for servant, or attendant. It is the same thought of the deacons that ministered to the Helenistic widows in the book of Acts. Does that fit the definition of minister today? Not in my mind.

The thought of being made known to the world is a problem to some. Some state that this is hyperbole - an exaggeration to gain effect, however I think the text is quite straightforward - somewhere along the line the good news was spread to the world.

I suspect this relates to the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:5-11) and the time following. There were people from all over the world present and they all knew what was going on in Jerusalem - thus when they went home, they would have been telling everyone about what they had seen. Many believe that Paul went to Spain and tradition tells us that one of the apostles went over into the far east. The known world was covered in Paul’s day.

There is also the possibility that it relates to Romans 1:19, "Because that which may be known of god is manifest in them; for god hath shown it unto them."

Personally I think it probably relates to the good news getting out to the known world after Pentecost.

Just some closing thoughts.

Who was Christ according to Paul in these passages?

Image of the living God vs. 15

First born of all creation vs. 16

Creator vs. 16

Preexisted creation vs. 17

Sustains all things vs. 17

Head of the Body vs. 18

Beginning and first born of the dead vs. 18

Fullness of God dwells in Him vs. 19

Reconciled all to Himself vs. 20

Through His blood vs. 20

Does that sound like a spook that doesn’t leave footprints in the dust? No. Can you kind of envision the Gnostics scattering as they hear these words from Paul?

One might wonder where Paul received all his information about Christ. Several possibilities.

1. He was a student of the Old Testament (Acts 26:4-5)

2. He was with Christ for three years in the wilderness (Galatians 1:17-18)

3. He may have received further info by revelation or illumination.

4. Possibly from Christ Himself after the wilderness. (Acts 26:16; Galatians 1:12)

Paul’s belief in the deity of Christ is in line with Christ’s own comments. (John 10:30; John 14:9; Lu. 2:49; Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 14:61-62; John 14:6-11)

APPLICATION

Let us take some time and just list the items of Christian living that are found in verses 1-14. This is what God wants. It is His desire for our life. (This is not meant to be a complete list.)

Let’s consider our place in God’s desire.

FAITH: 1:4, 7

Faithful: Do you always do everything you can to get along with the neighbor you don’t care for? God wants us faithful to his command to "love thy neighbor."

What is faith? Can we have faith in anything? Yes.

Are there limits on our faith?

1. Our faith itself may be small as was that of the disciples - "oh ye of little faith"

2. Our faith should be limited by Scripture.

a. I should not, for example, have faith that God is going to give me a new Lincoln Continental. I don’t think it is God’s will thus I shouldn’t look for it nor place my faith in it. To look for Him to provide transportation? Yes. Maybe He will supply a car, or the bus system or the foot - we should explore the possibilities.

b. I should not rely on faith for provision of my family’s needs because I quit my job and decided to loaf for a few years.

Our faith must be in line with Scriptural principles.

3. Some times I decide something is right but really have no faith to trust with. God may limit our faith at times so that we don’t do something He doesn’t want us to do.

4. Doubt limits faith. Ask Peter the fellow with the wet feet about that.

LOVE: 1:4, 8

How do we really get this down practically? Make it a way of life - be a loving person.

There are two types of love. Agape which is self-sacrificing love and Philio which is brotherly love.

Can you illustrate these two types of love?

Philio: Mowing a sick Christian’s lawn. Helping a widow with minor house repairs. Calling when you know a brother/sister is hurting.

Agape: There is an account of three men caught in the wilderness in a blizzard. One needed medical attention desperately. The other two men were friends - one a believer had witnessed to his friend many times. One needed to go for a doctor. The believer volunteered to go. As he prepared to go out into the night his friend asked him why he had offered when he might well die that night.

The believer told his friend that he knew if he died that night he would go to heaven, but that he knew that his friend would not go to heaven and he wanted to give him added time to accept Christ.

The difference usually is a calculated decision to do - even at the cost of one’s life.

Hopeful: 1:5

We have a hope laid up - do we really look forward to living in eternity or are we laying up materials here to enjoy till we go?

Someone once said "My hope is built on nothing less than Gospel Light and Scripture press." NO! Build it on Jesus Christ - hope in HIM!

Knowledgeable: 1:5

What’s the reference for the streets of Gold? Revelation 21:21 mentions "street" of gold - singular, but I don’t know that "streets" is Biblical. Know what you believe!

Is there any way you can really be knowledgeable about God unless you are learning? No. You learn by reading the Word, by interacting with other believers, and by attending teaching sessions of the church.

That has truth in two areas. First the Christians ought to attend to receive that which is prepared. Secondly the pastor and teachers ought to prepare for those that attend to receive.

Open to His will: 1:1, 9

Have you ever taken time to say "God what do you want me to do with my life?" Many today work and labor for their homes and material things. That is not God’s will. We are pilgrims - just passing through.

Worthy: 1:10

If Gabriel the angel had a video tape recorder strapped to his back and he followed you around filming your every move would you want Christ to attend the opening of the film?

Are we really walking worthy of His good pleasure? Are we really doing those things that honor Him? What do we watch on television, what do we talk about when we are with the boys or with the girls, what goes on in our minds when we are with ourselves - would you invite Christ into those situations?

Fruitful: 1:6

What are you doing for Christ? John 15:1-27 indicates fruitless Christians are taken home - fruit is not just soul winning - other works are involved as well. Take your total time in a week - that is 168 hours a week if my calculator is working - how many hours did you spend in items relating to Christ last week? You tell yourself how you are doing.

Learning: 1:7

How many new spiritual books have you read this year? One of our children was complaining about how much they had been reading in high school. I asked the child how many books they had read relating to spiritual things. None, was the reply.

Strong: 1:11

Are you strong when confronted by temptation? Are you strong when talking to the unsaved? Are you strong on your stand for your convictions?

Patient: 1:11

Remember now - absolute truth - we can be patient, but are we?

Joyful: 1:11

Thankful: 1:12

Have you thanked God lately for your spouse - your family - your health? Bad health is better than no health at all from a physical point of view.

We have seen way too much in this study to have covered it well in this short a time. You could spend many hours looking through this passage and learning.

Remember! We have a list of absolute truth. We have the ability to do these things. We dare not set these things aside. PUT THEM TO WORK.

You’ve heard them today. It is your responsibility to get busy on that list.

FAITHFUL 1:4, 7

LOVING 1:4, 8

HOPEFUL 1:5

KNOWLEDGEABLE 1:5

OPEN TO HIS WILL 1:1, 9

WORTHY 1:10

FRUITFUL 1:6

LEARNING 1:7

STRONG 1:11

PATIENT 1:11

JOYFUL 1:11

THANKFUL 1:12

And we have only covered twenty-three verses!

He created us.

He is perfecting us.

He is preparing us.

We are works in progress. He is preparing us for What? What is His purpose in preparing us?

Service is all I can think of. He wouldn’t go to all that trouble so we can sit on our beds of ease - He ain’t no dumb God.

God didn’t send His Son to die on the cross so we could be couch potatoes - He has a plan for our lives - for our service!

Find His will and get busy!

Misc.

Beet on Colossians 1:24:

In what sense are these strange words true? In this sense. When Christ breathed His last upon the cross, all the sufferings needful for the complete establishment of the Kingdom of God had not yet been endured. For the full realization of the purposes of God it was needful, not only that Christ should die for the sins of the world, but that the Gospel should be preached to all nations. This involved, owing to the wickedness of men, hardship to the preachers.

This hardship Paul willingly endured in order to save men. Consequently, just as the life on earth of the servants of Christ is in some sense an extension of His incarnation, (for in them He lives, Galatians 2:20) so the sufferings of Paul where in a similar sense a continuation and completion of the sufferings of Christ. This is in close harmony with, and further emphasizes, Paul’s constant teaching that Christ’s servants share all that Christ has and is and does: 1 Corinthians 1:9; Philippians 3:10; Romans 8:17. But it by no means suggests that Paul’s sufferings were in any sense propitiatory or that Christ’s sufferings were not so. For the one point in common here mentioned and made conspicuous by repetition is suffering ’on behalf of’ another. Propitiation for sin is here entirely out of view.

Notice the infinite dignity here given to sufferings endured for the spread of the Gospel. These, Christ condescends to join with His own mysterious agony on the cross as endured for the benefit of the Church which He recognizes as His own body. ’In’ such sacred ’sufferings’ well might Paul ’rejoice.’ Notice again, as in Colossians 1:18 in conjunction with the same metaphor, ’the Church’ Universal. EXPOSITION OF THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS; Beet, Joseph Agar; The Complete Christian Collection CDROM.

---

Paul’s Letter to the Colossians: An Exegetical and Devotional Commentary; Keathley, J. Hampton III; Biblical Studies Press 2002; http://bible.org/docs/nt/books/col/jhk3/index.htm#TopOfPage

The simplest and most logical explanation stems from the mystical union that exists between Christ and that of His people in the body of Christ, the church. When believers suffer, Christ suffers with them. Christ’s substitutionary sufferings are finished, complete, but His sufferings in and through His people continue. This concept is expressed in several other passages of the New Testament (cf. Matthew 25:34-40; 2 Corinthians 1:5; Philippians 3:10; Acts 9:4-5). Paul never directly persecuted the Lord Jesus, nevertheless, when on the Damascus road, Paul heard these words from Christ, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" So he said, "Who are you, Lord?" He replied, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting" (Acts 9:4-5).

... Soon afterwards he heard of further words spoken by Him, "For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake" (9:16). Paul had come to understand that everything done in and for the body of Christ was done in and for Christ Himself. He and the body were one. Thus, the sufferings of Paul were the afflictions of Christ, because He suffered in and with Paul (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:5-7; 2 Corinthians 4:10-12). Lightfoot’s idea of continuity between His afflictions and the church’s is valid, too. In fact, the sufferings of Paul, which arose out of persecution, were simply the continuation of the world’s quarrel with Jesus Christ (cf. John 15:18-21). It is a very immature theology, then, which claims that all suffering is alien to the will of God, and it reaches its ultimate expression in the blind and foolish request, "If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross" (Matthew 27:40), and its shattering repudiation in the shout of suffering dereliction, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (27:46).

It is no wonder, then, that Paul rejoiced in his sufferings. Seen in the light of his union with Christ, they were transfigured and made an occasion for fellowship with Him, as well as a benefit to the body, the church.

Verse 24

CHAPTER TWO

2. CHRIST OUR PERFECTER

Christ our Perfecter perfects our service (vs. 28).

Colossians 1:24-29

Col 1:24 "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:"

So I suppose you are going to call upon me to make a concise and understandable statement as to the precise meaning of the text let it suffice to say:

1. Christ’s sufferings on the cross are not lacking in any manner.

2. Paul as well as his readers knew exactly what he had in mind when he made this statement.

3. We need not worry about there being any error in the text for the Holy Spirit was under control as the text was being produced.

4. Paul seems to closely identify his own suffering with that of Christ’s indeed, this man was called by Jesus Christ personally. The close affinity would only be natural. Paul also is the apostle that pictures the Lord as the head of the church and himself as suffering for that body the church.

5. Since the term translated "fill up" is only used in this instance and since none of the commentaries mention this item of information, and since there is nothing to indicate what this word means I must wonder why the translators use the term "fill up" in this particular usage.

That was not too concise so let us try and do better. Let’s try to rephrase the verse with some of the other possible meanings to the words used.

Lexicon: "the meaning is, ’what is wanting in the afflictions of Christ to be borne by me, that I supply in order to repay the benefits which Christ conferred on me by filling up the measure of the afflictions laid upon me’."

The lexicon says it is a combination of two words. One is anti and the other is anapleroo. The curious item is that anapleroo can be translated "fill up" by itself, so I must wonder why Paul added the prefix anti. Anti is translated for, because, and therefore.

Robertson mentions that this double compound verb - there you can be impressed - is the only occurance of this type of usage in the New Testament. He states of it "to fill up (ana), in turn (anti)." He continues with a very clear statement backing up what has already been said "Paul attaches no atoning value whatever to his own sufferings for the church"

Who now rejoice in my sufferings (affliction, passion) for you, and fill up (only usage in New Testament) that which is behind (penury, lacking, want) of the afflictions (tribulation, affliction, burden, anguish, trouble) of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church,

A paraphrase might go along this line. Who now rejoice in my passion for you and fill up that which is want of the burden of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church. Christ did not have opportunity to finish the work that He had started.

If you view it as burden or anguish of Christ you eliminate many problems. Christ had the overall desire to redeem mankind. He started the work and made total provision, and then the apostles and all believers that followed are finishing the work.

POSSIBLE INTERPRETATIONS

How did Paul fill up Christ’s suffering? What is meant here?

1. Christ’s work was not enough - Paul had to finish it in some way. Not acceptable!

2. We all must suffer for our salvation - Christ starts us and we finish it. Not acceptable!

3. Paul and Christ suffer together in mystical union. (Christ indwelling Paul.) Not acceptable!

4. Christ views all done to His children as if done to Himself. This one has some possibility.

5. Paul hadn’t suffered as much as Christ so is lacking in his suffering. Could relate but the lack is in Christ’s suffering according to the text, not Paul’s as the text states.

6. Christ suffered for us eternally but was taken home so couldn’t finish the suffering needed to build His church thus Paul was called to fill up or complete the suffering needed for the church’s beginnings. This relates. We will develop this later.

7. Misc. views or non-views. These usually use rhetoric to skirt the issue to the point that you are not sure you care what it means.

8. The Romanist view will see merit in the sufferings of the saints and the merit thus would work into the scheme of works. Indulgences find some area of reality in this verse I would assume.

9. Robertson suggests that Christ did not stop suffering in his work on the cross, but that there was suffering left over - plenty for Paul and all of us in turn.

"lacking" relates to "that which is lacking, deficiency, shortcoming"/Vine p 304 1 Corinthians 16:17 uses the same term. "I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus; for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied." It is also translated want, penury, that which was lacking, and lacking.

"affliction" seems to relate to being troubled and is used of sufferings due to circumstances or people that are antagonistic.

The grammar seems to show that Paul is the one that is acting in this verse and that it is something he is doing at the present time (of the verse) and he continues to do it. Thus we must conclude that Paul is rejoicing and filling up on a continuing basis by his own choice and the Colossians can be assured of it. This is a statement of fact. The present action indicates that this "filling up" is something that is an ongoing process and that it seemingly will continue to be needed.

Some might apply this to the idea that all saints are to suffer in some manner to fill up something. The "what" of this something would remain to be seen.

1. To say that Christ’s work on the cross was lacking in any way would be to contradict a wealth of Scripture. (Colossians 1:20; Colossians 2:14-15) This term is never used of Christ’s suffering on the cross.

2. The idea that we HAVE TO FINISH something that Christ started is also a contradiction to many Scriptures. (Ephesians 2:8-9) The problem with this position is that Paul nowhere, here or elsewhere, indicates that other believers are to do the same thing. The fact of the indwelling of Christ in all believers would almost demand that all be involved in this process if this is what the Apostle is speaking of.

3. Barnes suggests Paul hadn’t suffered as much as Christ had suffered so needed to suffer more. The problem here is the fact that the need is in Christ’s suffering not in Paul’s.

"(1) That he suffered in the same cause as that for which Christ suffered; (2) That he endured the same kind of sufferings, to some extent, in reproaches, persecutions, and opposition from the world; (3) That he had not yet suffered as much as Christ did in this cause, and, though he had suffered greatly, yet there was much that was lacking to make him equal in this respect to the Savior; and (4) That he felt that it was an object to be earnestly desired to be made in all respects just like Christ, and that his present circumstances he was fast filling up that which was lacking, so that he would have a more complete resemblance to Him." P 254 Barnes Notes on Colossians

Those holding this view would read it this way. Now I rejoice in the sufferings (Paul’s or Christ’s) for you. Now I fill up in my flesh the things lacking of the afflictions of Christ. This thinking has some possibilities yet it has no Scriptural backing.

4. The Romanist view must be rejected on the basis of Ephesians 2:8-9 and others as well. There is no suffering which can account to anyone as merit!

THE FACTS CONSIDERED

1. We don’t know if Christ suffering in the text relates to pre-cross or cross suffering or both.

2. Paul does it on a continuing basis.

3. Paul does it for the Church.

4. Paul does it in his body so it is not spiritual or mystical.

5. Afflictions = circumstances, burden, anguish or antagonism.

6. It seems to be connected with Paul’s being a minister of the Gospel.

7. The lack is in Christ’s suffering not Paul’s.

8. Ralph Martin observes that these are sufferings which are not self imposed but those imposed upon him for the churches sake and his ministry to them. Paul’s suffering comes as a result of the work he is doing.

9. The term translated filled up according to Robertson has the thought of filled up in turn. It was Paul’s turn to suffer. Christ had done His suffering, now it was Paul’s turn.

10. Philip 3:10 may shed some light on the apostles feelings. "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings,"

11. Paul knew that the Lord felt that what was done to His people was done to Him. Acts 9:5 "...I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest;". Paul was persecuting - killing Christians yet, Christ put it in a personal context - you persecute me.

12. Some scholars have tried to phrase this as "sufferings on account of Christ" yet the Greek scholars fail to see this as a possible translation.

It would seem from the verse considered in number nine under facts that there is some sort of suffering in common with the Lord when we suffer for Him. The exact nature of this etc. seems at this point to be hard to see other than that it exists.

Eadie ties in other references which may relate to this thought. (Hebrews 13:13; 2 Corinthians 2:10 and Hebrews 11:26)

Hebrews 13:12 "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach."

2 Corinthians 2:10 "To whom ye forgive any thing, I [forgive] also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave [it], for your sakes [forgave I it] in the person of Christ;" Paul relates to Christ very closely.

Hebrews 11:26 "Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward." Another wanting to closely associate with Christ in suffering.

This linked to Christ’s question of the apostle on the road to Damascus concerning why Saul was persecuting Him might lead one to feel that this is the thought of the text. He mentions that Christ’s personal suffering is over, yet there is much suffering to come within the church for His sake.

There is one further thought along this line which adds weight to such a position. The fact that Christ is the head of the body and if the body suffers so must also the head suffer.

Paul suffered not as a goal but as a natural everyday walk - he realized he was suffering much as Christ did. Suffering shouldn’t be a burden - be happy in your circumstance even if it is in the midst of suffering. It’s how we react to it that is important to the Lord. Paul rejoiced - how about you?

Let me put this into a theological context by giving it a high class title.

Let us call this study "Sufferology" just to get us thinking in the right direction.

Suffering seems to be an integrated part of the normal Christian life. We in America seem to be blessed with not having to suffer for Christ, though our brothers in other countries where Christians are persecuted feel the church in America would be strengthened with a little suffering.

James 5:10 mentions that the suffering of the prophets is an example for us as we go through suffering. "Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience."

2 Corinthians 1:5-7 is a key text in understanding what Paul suggests in Colossians 1:24.

2 Corinthians 1:5-7 "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

6 And whether we be afflicted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope of you [is] stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so [shall ye be] also of the consolation."

Notice that the sufferings of Christ abounds in us. In some way we are linked to the suffering that Christ went through. It may only be that we benefit from the suffering, though the passage indicates to me that we participate in some way.

The next verse links suffering of verse five with his own suffering to get the Gospel to others.

And finally in verse seven Paul indicates that those affected by the Gospel will also suffer - it is assumed in the same manner that Paul did.

Christ suffered to provide salvation to all mankind, Paul suffers with Christ to get the Gospel to others, and those Paul reaches will suffer to get the Gospel to others.

Romans 8:17-18 adds to this thought somewhat. "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

Again, we see that Paul suffered with Christ is some manner. Since we know it was not on the cross the normal thought would be that all of Paul’s suffering in his life was with Christ in the same work of redemption - Christ suffered to provide redemptions possibility and Paul as well as those that follow would also suffer in the sharing of that redemption to others. Similar to the Hebrews 11:26 passage.

Some other texts seem to back this up.

Philippians 3:10 mentions the fellowship of His suffering. "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;"

1 Peter 4:13 mentions that the suffering under persecution of Peter’s readers was suffering with Christ. "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."

That believers will suffer is made clear in Philippians 1:29 "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;"

One final verse relates the same thought. 2 Timothy 3:12 "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

Is this some mystical suffering that we must go through, no, most certainly not, it is merely saying that as Christ suffered, so we will suffer for the Gospel’s sake.

His suffering thankfully provided salvation to all of mankind, but our suffering only provides those we meet the opportunity to receive that salvation.

It seems, based on sufferology he is just picturing what he is doing - suffering to take the Gospel to those that need it. He is doing all he is doing for them. Fill up what is lacking - Christ could not do this part of the work so Paul suffers to fill in what Christ could not do - evangelize.

All is done for the church - and he REJOICES to suffer.

Wow, to suffer with Christ in His work - what an honor! Suffering should be more palatable if we understand these truths.

Verse 25

"Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;" Paul saw himself as one called to minister to the Colossians specifically and to all mentioned in verse twenty-seven.

The term dispensation is translated stewardship in one translation. It is a Greek term meaning to administer as a household or an estate. (Lu. 16:2-4; 1 Corinthians 9:17; Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 3:2; Colossians 1:25; 1 Timothy 1:4)

Verse 26

"[Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:" He is telling them of Christ’s revelation to him.

Mystery isn’t like Sherlock Holmes or Perry Mason, but means, something that was previously unknown.

Verse 27

"To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"

Verse 28

"Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:" He is sharing this gospel to all that he might teach to prepare them for sharing the Gospel with others.

Realizing that Paul was an apostle called by the Lord to a specific ministry, I would like to use this passage in a general way and relate it to any minister of the Lord. In fact the passage relates to all of us, but we want to pick on preachers for a little while.

What is the purpose of the pastor?

What is his goal?

What is his goal in life?

What is his goal in ministry?

Let’s list some of the duties of a pastor.

Keep the lawn

Teach Sunday School

Preach 2-3 services a week

Work with youth

Weddings

Funerals

Visitation

Janitor

Bulletin

Meetings

Council

Father

Husband

Sometimes outside work

Fix it man (at home and at the church)

Painter

Builder

DO ALL OF THESE RELATE TO HIS GOALS?

What drives the pastor? Keep the church going and growing so that he can have opportunity to do the work described in this passage.

Here we see Paul was aiming at making these people mature, or complete and ready for the ministry that God had for them. This should be the work of pastors and teachers within the church. Even parents with their children should be bringing them toward maturity in the Lord that they might be able to go forth with the work of the Lord.

Isn’t this what Ephesians four is talking about? Ephesians 4:11 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:"

Believers should look to and expect this preparation from their church leadership. If they are not feeling this process, they should consult with the leaders to encourage them to get with the program that God has set before them.

One of our grown children and spouse noticed that their church was just not feeding the flock. Many in the church felt that the church was strong in evangelism, but that there was no depth of teaching for the adults. Some of them approached the pastoral staff. A meeting was set and as it began the staff was on the defensive, but the lay people finally were allowed to share that they were just concerned and that they wanted the staff to be informed.

The meeting progressed and the staff decided that they should move on this information and try to remedy the problem. This is the proper approach - many pastors/staff have not listened in similar circumstances I have observed. This is a sad case when the pastor/staff feels they are above practical criticism.

There is also a responsibility on the believer’s shoulder as well. The pastor and teachers often prepare lessons/sermons that will assist some of their people in their Christian walk. If those believers do not show up for that service/lesson, then they have missed out on some of the preparation God has prepared for them.

If you are building a house, you go by a plan. You move along as fast as you can so you can complete the job. When you come to a part that is hard work you don’t skip over it you do it. Running a foundation is hard work! You do it because it is necessary.

So, in our spiritual lives some hard spots come along. We shouldn’t try to bypass them. They are necessary to bring us to completion.

A good pastor/teacher will see hard spots in your life and try to get you to move through them. It may be a particular sin or it may be a coolness toward church - he is trying to help you.

A pastor/teacher may confront you personally or he may do it in a message/lesson. Listen. Consider what he says in light of the Word. If he is right, then move toward changing your life.

They want you perfect as you stand before Christ. Not for their own pride in saying I did that, but in thanksgiving that he has helped Christ in your life. It is also a desire that you not be found lacking as you face the Lord.

They want to please their Lord, by helping His people please their Lord.

Verse 29

"Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." Christ works within us, but we must be a willing participant.

We see in Paul’s comments a purpose, suffering, ministering, benefiting revealing and proclaiming. I would like to look into this passage a little further.

What was Paul’s purpose in life? Perfecting of the saints would seem to fit the question. He did it even though he suffered many things as he ministered to the church (2 Corinthians 11:23-29).

He was looking to reconcile all he could to His Lord. He always went to the Jews first, and then to the Gentiles. (Acts 13:44-47) He did this with the full authority of Christ. (Acts 26:16; Colossians 1:25)

He benefited the church in many ways. He was quite prolific in leading people to the Lord. He assisted by preaching and setting up leadership in the churches he planted. Perfecting of the saints was a key part of his ministry. He sent Timothy, Titus and most likely others to churches to assist with problems and to encourage the believers toward maturity.

What one word might we use to describe the motivating force behind Paul’s ministry to the church?

SELFLESS

He gave of himself totally. Whom did he give himself to? Christ and no other, not even himself.

The term translated self in Scripture is where we get our English word "automatic" from. It relates to me or oneself. What is an automatic machine? Once started it does everything for itself. Likewise, the self-centered person, once started does everything for themselves.

Let’s look at self for a moment or two.

Self wants its own way.

Self wants nothing for anyone else.

Self wants to posses everything.

Self gives nothing.

Self wants.

Self wants everything to revolve around them.

Self wants everything they think/believe to be implemented.

Actually sounds like a lot of politicians in our day.

Let’s describe selfless.

Selflessness wants to go along with the other persons desire.

Selflessness wants others to gain.

Selflessness wants to share with others.

Selflessness wants to assist others.

Selflessness wants to make others feel important.

Selflessness wants to benefit others.

Christ is the perfect example of selflessness, but Paul is a close second it would seem.

Christ never acquired earthly possessions save a robe which was taken from him in the end.

Christ showed mercy to all that came to Him. He helped them physically as well as spiritually.

Christ ministered to near exhaustion.

Christ maintained a proper spiritual atmosphere for the disciples to learn in.

Christ gave Himself to his ministry.

Christ gave Himself to be crucified.

All He did was aimed away from Himself.

Just a few thoughts to assist you in finding selflessness.

Give of your material wealth - money to the church, to missionaries, or maybe to other believers in need.

Give of your food - groceries to the needy - meals for visiting speakers/missionaries.

Give of your transportation - to and from church - to and from grocery store etc.

Give of your time - time to talk with them - time to listen to them - time to help them do things.

Give of your talents - use them for others - fix things for them - assist them to do things.

Use your occupation as you can. When speaking in Nevada at a missions conference I was approached by a man from the church that stated that he had a pair of cowboy boots just like mine (a different pair than those mentioned earlier in the study :-). I replied that I hoped his weren’t exactly like mine - holding one boot up to reveal a large hole in the sole.

Later that day I found I was staying in the man’s home for the night. The next morning after breakfast he told me we were going for a ride. We ended up at a shoe store - his shoe store. We went in and he presented me with a new pair of boots.

The next morning another missionary ate breakfast with us and mentioned he needed to go shopping briefly to pick up some new shoes - his had come apart the previous evening. As the missionary finished his meal the business man leaned over to the missionary and said something. They left quietly and returned in awhile. The missionary was wearing a new pair of shoes. What a blessing that man was to a couple of missionaries!

Mechanics can assist missionaries/pastors with car troubles, doctors might give some needed medical advice - the possibilities are wide open.

In short give of yourself in any way that you can. Paul gave his all for the church. It might be of note that he did not give his all for the lost, though I doubt he ever ignored their needs as he shared the Lord with them.

Some might ask, but what about those that will take advantage of you. Be sure someone will, then it won’t surprise you. Your responsibility is to give, it is their responsibility to take only what is needed - both of you will stand before Someone one day to answer for what YOU did.

The text mentions Paul was laboring. This term labor relates to some real toil. Now if we are speaking of the pioneers we know of the toil they went through just to survive from day to day. On the other hand our toil often isn’t quite so hard. Indeed, most of us have a lot of spare time in which we can fill in with tasks relating to ministry.

Strive in verse twenty-nine is the Greek word that we gain "agonize" from. I think we know what that term means - not that many of us get ourselves into that position in or lives.

Paul is not just mouthing words - he is totally given to the edification of others. Why? To present believers to the Lord mature.

To present people perfect - for this Paul labored and strived according to Christ’s working in him. Because Christ was working in Paul’s life, Paul worked in the harvest field - in other people’s lives.

Apply that to yourself today. If Christ is working in your life, you WILL BE WORKING IN THE HARVEST FIELD. The more Christ works in your life the more you will be working in the lives of others.

You are the only limitation upon how God uses your life.

Copyright Statement
Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.
Bibliographical Information
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Colossians 1". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sdn/colossians-1.html.