Colossians 1:21-23

21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.

Col. 1:21-23 (NLT)

 

After sharing a hymn about how Christ is the center of all, Paul lets his readers know that they have benefited from his sacrifice. At some point all of us were enemies of God. Our sinful natures separate us from the Father and there is nothing we can do about. We are hopelessly lost on our own. However, because of Jesus’ death we are now able to be reconciled to God. Our sins are taken away and we can stand before the Father holy and blameless. It’s not that we are righteous, we take on Christ’s righteousness.

We still have a responsibility to remain in Christ. We have to hold on to the truth and live like it. The Good News of Jesus assures us that we have salvation but we must not walk away from it. We have to stand in the truth. That seems to get more difficult as time goes on but Paul is adamant about it. We didn’t save ourselves but we must  continue to believe and trust in the One who did save us.

Grace and peace.

Colossians 1:15-20

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
    which is his body.
He is the beginning,
    supreme over all who rise from the dead.
    So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

Col. 1:15-20 (NLT)

 

I remember hearing a song by the band Thrice several years ago called Image Of The Invisible. I was in Bible college and a fellow student (Neil) played it before chapel. It was supposed to be DURING chapel but I guess some of the folks in charge didn’t think it was appropriate. Granted, the music is heavy and pretty intense but the lyrics are pretty good. In this passage (which is also a song) Paul explains how Christ is the image of the invisible God. According to Paul (and this early hymn) Christ is the reason for everything. The very “fullness” of God lives in him. He is the one who created this world and he is the one who reconciled it back to himself when we broke it.

Christ is also the head of the Church. I find that refreshing. Sometimes those of us in leadership roles struggle to figure out exactly how we should lead. I know that I have those days. The good thing is that I am NOT the leader of the Church. Jesus is. If I want to lead others I need to first follow him. I don’t have to have all the answers. I don’t have to figure it all out. I have to trust Jesus and follow his word. That’s what he created me to do. God is still invisible and so is Jesus. However, the Spirit is very real and is present. That’s the only way I can hold on sometimes. Paul’s words here remind me that it’s all about Jesus. That’s my what I put my faith in. That’s what I cling to.

Grace and peace.

Colossians 1:9-14

I didn’t write yesterday because it was Father’s Day and I enjoyed spending time with Robin and the two kids who are here. Chris is at camp this week. So, let me finish up Paul’s prayer at the beginning of his letter to the folks in Colosse.

 

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

Col. 1:9-14 (NLT)

 

Paul understands that there are some issues he is going to have to deal with but he once again reminds his readers that they are constantly on his mind and in his prayers. He only wants the best for them and in this case it is knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of God’s will for them. He encourages them in this matter so that their lives will not only please God but be an example for others to follow.

He also prays that they will have the strength to endure. He reminds them of the inheritance that they have in Christ and forgiveness he provided for their sins. They were bought out of spiritual darkness and should live as children of light. Paul prays that they understand this and live accordingly. Perhaps we should take a cue from Paul. We often look for reasons to correct and rebuke one another without encouraging them at the same time. I know that I respond much better to correction when it’s done in love.

Grace and peace.

Colossians 1:3-8

We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.

This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.

You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf. He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.

Col. 1:3-8 (NLT)

 

I’m going to the first part of the prayer today and the second part of it tomorrow. Notice that Paul begins by letting his readers know that he and his companions are continually praying for them. This isn’t a one time thing. It is Paul’s habit to pray for other believers. Also notice that he gives thanks for the faithfulness. He compliments them and lets them know of all the good things that he had heard. I imagine this helped them digest the correction which comes later. He also reminds them of the hope they share in Christ.

Before dealing with the bad news he brings up the Good News that they have heard and accepted. Paul points out that those in Colosse are part of the Church throughout the world and that the same Good News they hold on to gives hope to all who hear it. Paul them tells them that Epaphras is with him. They know Epaphras because he was the one who first shared the Gospel (Good News) with them. He is aware of the problems Paul is about to address. Perhaps that further softened the blow that was imminent.

I think it is important (and interesting) to see that even when he is addressing false teachings Paul is encouraging them and reminding them of who they are in Christ. He reminds them of all the things they have seen, heard, and done in the hope that they will turn aside from whatever false teachings have infiltrated their group. He reminds them of where they were to help bring them back.

Grace and peace.

 

Colossians 1:1-2

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.

We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.

May God our Father give you grace and peace. 

Col. 1:1-2 (NLT)

 

The Apostle Paul is under house arrest in Rome. While there he continues the ministry that Jesus called him to. He writes letters to various churches not only to encourage them but to offer sound teaching. This is especially true in the case of those in Colosse. Colosse had once been a great city but its importance and prosperity had waned by the time of Paul. Both Laodicea and Heirapolis had eclipsed it but the church there still was still involved with those in the neighboring cities.

Paul often wrote to churches that he had helped start but Colosse was not one of them. That didn’t stop him from addressing the issues there as one with authority. After all, Jesus hand picked him to be an Apostle to the Gentiles. It isn’t unusual that Paul would have felt a burden and responsibility to speak to those there. Some believe that Epaphras, a fellow prisoner with Paul, was instrumental in founding of the church there. While this cannot be proven without a shadow of a doubt it does make sense.

Paul is writing to this group to remind them that Christ should be at the center of all they say and do. False teachings had sprung up and were threatening to undermine the work there. While scholars aren’t certain about the nature of the heresies Paul addresses, the Apostle refers to them as “empty philosophies” and “high-sounding nonsense” in a later chapter. Paul is ready to deal with a serious matter that has eternal consequences for those affected by it. I believe that is what makes these opening words so interesting.

Paul makes it very clear that he is writing as one with authority. He expects his message to be heard and taken to heart. He also lets them know that Timothy is with him and supports this message. It is even possible that Timothy is the co-author of the letter. This gives credence to Timothy’s own ministry and the vital role he will play in the spread of the Gospel throughout that area.

Secondly, Paul greets them as beloved brothers and sisters. He has a difficult message to share with them but he assures them that is because he values them so much. He reminds them that they have been faithful followers of Christ and he only wants that to continue. He then shares a salutation that is found in much of his writing. Once again, he is reminding them of the grace and peace that they have known in Christ.

Tomorrow I will look at the prayer Paul offers for those he is about to admonish.

Grace ane peace.

Perfect Pop Songs #14

I always liked this song but didn’t want to like the band. I guess it would have been a guilty pleasure even though I knew it was a good song. I still think it’s a good one. It’s simple and to the point. It’s so simple that even I can play it and sing it. I gained an even deeper appreciation of it when I heard Glenn Campbell cover it a few years ago. I have included both here because they are both great in their own right.

Grace and peace.

Perfect Pop Songs #13

I was going to do something different today but the news has been depressing and it’s Wednesday which means it is my busiest day of the week. Hopefully I will start something new in the next day or so. With that, I leave you the best song from the best girl group ever. I’m even including Phil Collins’ cover because I heard it incessantly as a kid. It’s also a pretty decent cover.

Grace and peace.

Perfect Pop Songs #12

This one is probably a no-brainer. Some may have wondered why I haven’t posted it yet. I can’t answer that. I can only say that I am posting it now. I love this song. I love the drums, the keyboards, the vocal harmonies…I even love the silly lyrics. This is the song that immediately comes to mind when I hear someone mention the music of the Eighties. Enjoy.

Grace and peace.

Perfect Pop Songs #11

I sometimes forget just how many hits these guys had when I was growing up. Going all the way back to 1976’s Sara Smile they had over thirty Top 100 hits including six which hit #1. They have sold over 30 million albums and are still touring. I knew I wanted to include one of theirs and it only took one listen to convince me that this is the one.

Grace and peace.

Perfect Pop Songs #10

Neil Diamond plus the Pre-Fab Four equals perfect pop goodness. I can remember seeing one of their albums in a bunch of Mom’s records. I later discovered them properly in high school when MTV started broadcasting their show to a whole new generation. The Monkees have a lot of great tunes and this one is as good as it comes. Take your shoes off and dance in some shag carpet with this one.

Grace and peace.