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Bible Commentaries

Derickson's Notes on Selected Books

Colossians 3

Verse 1

"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God."

If ye is a first class condition - if and assumed so. Why in the world do we seek the world and what if offers, when we can seek and have all that Christ offers in heaven?

Verse 2

"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."

It is said that a woman told Ralph Waldo Emerson that the world was coming to an end - he replied that he could get along quite well without it. That is the concept we need to have - nothing here we can’t get along without.

Verse 3

"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

YOU AIN’T HERE - can you get it? We are and all we are is in Christ in God, in heaven. What in the world is the draw of the world? Why do we allow the world to pull us away from all that God is and all that He has for us?

Verse 4

"When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

Verse 5

"Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:"

Think about “mortify your members.” What does that mean - count them dead? That is the thought of the word - treat them as dead - not that we are to walk around with our limbs like spaghetti, but possibly, when we are tempted we are to treat them as if they are in a heap on the floor - that way we won’t get into trouble. You can’t do any of these things because you are a heap on the floor unable to get up.

In relation to "and covetousness, which is idolatry" you might consider Matthew 6:24 which states that you can’t serve God AND mammon - simple - serving mammon is idolatry.

Verse 6

"For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:"

Verse 7

"In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them."

The Colossians were living in a society where these things were probably more prevalent than we encounter, but most of us would have to admit that in our unsaved days we too were involved in some of these problems mentioned in the text.

Verse 8

"But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth."

Note that anger is listed with "filthy communication" - guess that might be a reminder to contain our anger. Put them off - seems they are kind of natural for us even as believers, but we are to put them off - stop allowing them to have residence in our lives.

Verse 9

"Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;"

Hummm. A believer that lies to another believer - not a pleasant item to contemplate, though it happens all to often in the church today.

Verse 10

"And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:"

Verse 11

"Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all."

It would seem Paul is trying to say, and does so quite effectively, that there is no class within the church - all have value to God and we are all His children - that should be the standard of treatment within the church.

This has been the basis of many unpopular decisions in churches. We had a friend in Nebraska that was approached by a mixed marriage couple seeking membership. It caused great upset to many I his church. He and the board settled on this passage and accepted the couple into the church membership. Some, sadly did not accept the pastor’s and board’s position.

As my friend was telling me this it crossed my mind - what would have happened had Faith and I presented ourselves for membership - a Swede and an Englishman. How dare we allow such things into the Lord’s church.

Verse 12

"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;"

Verse 13

"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye."

It is interesting that Paul contrasts quarrels between people to Christ’s forgiveness of us or in short our quarrel with God - that is what sin is - an argument with God.

Back to the thought of church unity. Paul tells us how.

Kindness

Humbleness of mind

Meekness

Longsuffering

Forbearing one another

Forgiving one another

If all in a church considered these before raising a ruckus we would have a lot less church problems.

Verse 14

"And above all these things [put on] charity, which is the bond of perfectness."

Charity - love and in the next verse "let the peace of God rule in your hearts" - these items are a must when hard times come in a church. Love and peace are to be a part of our lives - of our church lives.

1. Realize it is a possibility in hard times - we can have peace.

2. Realize it won’t be a surprise when you tell God about your problem.

3. Realize that the key is to give it to God.

1 Peter 5:7 "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."

Any crisis in our life is within God’s plan and this also can be of great encouragement to us.

Verses 15-17

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."

Another long list of items to assist us in bringing unity to the assembly.

Let peace of God rule

Be thankful (even for those that differ with you)

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you

Wisdom

Teaching and admonishing one another

Grace in your hearts

Do all in the name of Christ

Can you be too holy of mind? Someone is going to say something like this - you call for so much holiness you won’t remember to witness. You can’t go over board on being holy. You have to do all of it. You have to witness even if you aren’t too holy. Don’t put all your time and thought into heavenly things bring your mind down to witness etc.

My answer: Holiness never interfered with Christ’s ministry to others. He lived this life perfectly - without sin, yet He was a wonderful witness to all that He met. Can you be too holy to be of use in this life - never.

Be preoccupied with Christ.

1. Realize this text is in the Bible and aimed at us. It is our duty to use it - to obey it.

2. Set heavenly goals and set aside earthly goals. Our daily walk will reveal where our goals are set. Earthly ambition and desire to produce in the worldly realm reveals worldly goals. A desire to do God’s work and walk with Him will reveal heavenly goals.

3. Begin the day with a promise from God to be considered all day as you find a spare moment. I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ. Philippians 4:13 God will supply all that I need. Philippians 4:19 Jesus gives me peace of mind and heart. John 14:27

4. One author has suggested that Christians play a game. GINBSE That’s "Guess I’ll never be spiritual enough" - YOU ARE AS SPIRITUAL AS YOU WILL LET GOD MAKE YOU. There is nothing from without that will keep us from being spiritual giants. Only our saying no to God’s working in our lives.

5. Pray without ceasing. Fritz Ridenour in his book "HOW TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN AN UNCHRISTIAN WORLD" gave this phrase a new perspective in my mind. He was not commenting on that phrase when he made the comments but was trying to get the point across that we should pray in spite of everything. He says we should "pray for it, because of it, about it, through it, around it or in spite of it."

For it - request

Because of it - trials and hard times

About it - asking about all facets of it and finding God’s answer

Though it - continuing till it is complete not just till you tire of it

Around it - every aspect - don’t leave an avenue of request untrod

In spite of it - don’t let the prayer get you down if it remains unanswered for a time

This gives "pray without ceasing" a new angle of view. DON’T STOP UNTIL THE JOB IS COMPLETED.

6. Be careful what kind of programming you give your brain. Computers are programmed and our brains tend to be programmed as well. Beware what goes into your mind from day to day. If all that goes in is trash then all God is going to get out of you is GARBAGE.

7. Set your sights on your goal that you’ve set and do not waver from it. If you do waver from it then get back on track and continue. The torpedoes of the second world War had a feedback mechanism which constantly reset the course of the torpedo. We do have things which sidetrack us but we need to use God’s Word to get us back on track.

8. Reading and studying as often as you can will help you fill your mind with heavenly thoughts and information.

9. Pray as often as you can.

10. Be involved in church activities - all of them.

11. Fellowship with other believers.

12. Include Christ in all you do.

The text wants us to think of Christ sitting on the throne beside the Father. Picture that scene if you can for a moment. The glorious throne of God, and Jesus seated beside Him.

Now place yourself in that scene.

Now realize that is where you are positionaly in the spiritual realm.

Now realize that is where we can be anytime we decide to pray.

Consider: What was the worst thing you did last week? God watched you every moment. Apply that to the next time you want to step over the line of right and wrong.

Where are your goals? Are they bound in heaven or are they bound in things of this life?

If we realize what Christ wants of us, our natural response is to serve Him in anyway that we possibly can to the very best that we can.

Christ who is our life.

Now I don’t want to get into do’s and don’ts, but would "Christ who is our life" allow for the following?

Swearing

Drinking

Adultery

Theft

Speeding

Lying

Half truths

Backbiting

Gossip

Sleeping in on Sunday

Most of what is on television

Off color books/magazines

Materialism

Covetousness

Would "seek those things which are above" allow for the following?

Swearing

Drinking

Adultery

Theft

Speeding

Lying

Half truths

Backbiting

Gossip

Sleeping in on Sunday

Most of what is on television

Off color books/magazines

Materialism

Covetousness

Verse 18

CHAPTER SIX

6. CHRIST OUR MOTIVATOR

Christ our Motivator brings us to proper service (vs. 23).

Colossians 3:18-25; Colossians 4:1

Remember the context of the following text is doing all as unto the Lord! This is truly important stuff that we are going to cover in this section - this passage gives us other things we can do as unto the Lord. Family life as well as work life - our entire life actually should be lived as unto the Lord. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord."

Ah, got this one - easy verse - wives submit - the word submit comes from two different words - sub meaning under and mitt meaning hand - under the husband’s hand - NO! They are co-heirs - submitting to leadership, but not under his hand (thumb either).

The word indicates the wife is to be under the authority of, or subject to. This definitely goes against some of the current thinking of the world, but then we aren’t subject to the worlds false teaching.

Not only in the home is she to submit but this seems to be a straightforward command to submit or be subject to, as well as a very definite command against adultery in my mind. You can’t commit adultery and be submissive to only your OWN husband.

The term submit is used in Romans 13:1 "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God the powers that be are ordained of God.

Why? Because it is "fit in the Lord." One of the thoughts to this word "fit" is "to pertain to what is due, duty, as was fitting" according to Thayer. It is the wife’s duty to be submissive to her husband and only her husband - it is her duty because she is in Christ.

The thought crossed my mind, can this "own husband" issue relate to more than adultery. I would assume that might be very possible. Example: In a church situation there might be times when the wife should be sure she follows her own husband’s desire rather than some other man in the church. Take some time and see if you can think of other situations that this verse might fit.

Robertson mentions "Wives have rights and privileges, but recognition of the husband’s leadership is essential to a well-ordered home...."

Now, that I have made verbiage of the term "own" I might admit that not all translations include the term. Some of the manuscripts omit this word, though logic requires the thought of "own husband."

I might add that this word submission is not a female only term, it is used of male relationships to others as well. The Bible makes it clear that men are subject to Christ, to powers that be, to employees if they are working men etc. We all are called in Scripture to submit to others - government, teachers, employees, police, etc.

There is also a real point to be made. This verse is addressed to the wife and not the husband. She is the one that brings this to pass. It is not the husband’s job to force her into submission even though he might reeeaaalllly want to. It is not the pastor’s place either, though both the husband and then the pastor should teach this verse to the erring woman and encourage her before the Lord to make it a part of her life.

Verse 19

"Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them."

The husband is required to love his wife, while the wife is to be taught to love their husband (Titus 2:4).

The husband is to love his wife. What in the world does that mean.

Does it mean that we go seek out some fuzzy feeling in our stomach and call it love?

Does it mean that we submit to their every desire and buy them the world and lay it at their feet? (If that one is true I’m in big trouble.)

Does it mean that we seek their benefit? Yes, this is certainly included.

Does it mean that we seek their peace/unity in the marriage? Yes, for sure this is a needed part of love.

Does it mean setting aside our own desires at times to minister to her needs? Yes, this is also needed.

If they have a physical, emotional or spiritual need we as husbands ought to seek to fill that need at the earliest point in time.

By the way, how can a husband do the afore mentioned and commit adultery? He can’t.

"Bitter" can relate to the stomach - guess we as husbands are not to have indigestion because of their actions. Well, maybe more to the point that we should never be bitter over the loving, or the caring of the wife. It is not only our responsibility, but our fortune.

Verse 20

"Children, obey [your] parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord."

If you want to please God in your younger life, then follow your parents - the simplest way to please God that I can think of. Elsewhere in the New Testament the same thought is related to long life. I have never taken a widespread survey, but have talked to many older believers and asked them if they obeyed their parents and they said they did. In fact I have never asked one that had not obeyed their parents - may well prove the point - not that the Word needs to be proven true.

Let us consider for a moment this thought of obedience. Do most kids today obey their parents? Maybe on "three" of "one, two, three" but quite often not even on "four" - if they stop on "three" you can almost bet there will be a restart almost immediately.

What is the cost of the lack of obedience?

IN THE FAMILY:

Lack of peace in the home

Lack of unity in the family

Lack of unity within the couple quite often

Dissension between the siblings

IN THE SCHOOLS:

Lack of peace

Lack of learning

Lack of social interaction as it should be

IN THE NATION:

Lack of submission of workers to their employers

Lack of submission to the law

Lack of proper understanding of issues

I might meddle just a little at this point. It could be argued that Paul knew that children would be present in the gathering to hear the reading of this letter. If this is true there could well be direct application to churches today that herd their kids off to all sorts of programs rather than having them in the service.

There are some real things to gain by having children in the services.

1. They learn to be quiet and listen. They may not learn everything that is spoken, but they will pick up things that they will tuck away in their minds.

2. They see mom, dad, pastor, brother, sister, elders and everyone else worshiping God. They will be more responsive in later years knowing what the service is like. It is said that women in Asia bind their children on their backs when they go to pray. The mothers never have to teach the child the chants/prayers. They pick it up automatically.

We are missing some serious teaching time with our children today in the name of keeping the sanctuary quiet. Even small children can learn to be quiet - without a bag of toys or crayons to entertain them.

A child that can read and write can take notes and I know they can pick up on some of the major points of what is being said.

3. They learn of God, they learn of His desire for them, they learn of His love for them and that can’t be bad!

Verse 21

"Fathers, provoke not your children [to anger], lest they be discouraged."

This is not to say that the kids aren’t going to get upset with you from time to time, but the attempt not to bring them to real anger is to be the father’s goal - mom’s too, if they are in on the discipline/training.

If they do get angry it isn’t the end of the world as they will only be discouraged. If you do bring them to anger then it is high time that you ENCOURAGE THEM on the spot so that they do not wallow in discouragement. This is what leads to depression and oft times other troubles.

Provoke seems to relate to nagging rather than the one time incident when you ask them to do something.

Stedman lists three areas where fathers can irritate their child. He has gleaned this list from observing many families in his fairly large church over many years.

1. Ignoring the child

2. Indulging the child

3. Insulting the child

I think a little thinking on these items by most any father would bring them to agree with his listing.

Verse 22

"Servants, obey in all things [your] masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:"

We might take a moment to consider slavery at the time of the writing of this book. It has been suggested that approximately half the Roman empire was

slaves to the other half of the Roman empire.

Now, place this passage in that context. Couple of items. Paul did not rant and rave about the wrongness of slavery - he acknowledged that it existed and taught the Christians how to live within this system.

We might also submit that not all slaves in the Roman empire had Sunday off to go to two services. They attended the services when they could. You can apply that feature yourself to the thought of having to work on Sunday.

Since we have no slavery in most of the world, we would want to apply this passage to the work world - the relationship between the employee and employer.

It seems to me that the order of rank in the work area is Christ, boss, company, and you. Keeping this standard as best, you can is important to your testimony.

Can you keep this ranking if you join a union? Maybe, maybe not, but usually the union becomes the top dog rather than Christ - they can tell you what you are going to do.

We might ask, should you ask for promotions? If that is the norm for the job then go for it.

Should you ask for raises? I never have and have always had what the Lord wanted to provide.

Should you do things you know are wrong because you are told to? No, your Christian standards should not be compromised - you may lose your job, but you will have done right.

You are to do your work as unto the Lord, not to please the boss. Please the Lord and all will be well with your job.

Verse 23

"And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;"

This must be our frame of mind in all of life. Anything less is less than what God wants of our lives.

My job as maintenance man/supervisor was not the glory job of my life, but every morning as I walked the three blocks to work I would ask that the Lord would allow me to have a good attitude and that I would honor Him in my job and behavior.

Verse 24

"Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."

I know this verse is there, but until recent years I did not labor for the Lord due to its existence - still don’t for that matter. Christ died for my sin in my place, thus there is nothing in this life that He can ask me to do that would measure up to his work for me - why in the world would the thought of reward enter into the mix - yet, He in his grace has decided to reward me for doing what I ought to do anyway.

When working, our company had the very nice custom of taking all employees that had perfect attendance to a free lunch at a nice restaurant. As we were getting up to leave I turned to the manager and said thanks for the lunch and remarked that it was nice for the company to do something nice for us when we did what we ought to do.

Verse 25

"But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons."

Well, on the other hand we have a down side to all this. If you don’t do the do’s you will find that God will do for your don’ts! No matter whether a master, a husband, a child, a wife or an employee - do wrong and you will receive.

What will you receive? First of all the grammar lets us know that this will certainly happen and it is yet future. We are to assume that it relates to our future reward since that is the direct context, but I assume the thought of chastisement could enter into it if the fault was grievous enough.

Let it be said, that I desire to walk worthy of the Lord so I don’t need to find out what all the verse might mean.

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 3". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sdn/colossians-3.html.