As we focus on Paul’s Letter written to the small town of Colossae, located by
the Lycus River, in the then Roman Province of Asia, today’s modern day Turkey it is
important to recognize that Colossae was once a thriving “populace city, wealthy and
large,” during the Persian and Greek empires rule and reign, but the system of roads
changed, and Colossae was reduced to an insignificant market town by human
standards (Lightfoot, “St. Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians and to Philemon,” London,
Macmillan, 1879, p.16; Vaughn, EBC, “Colossians,” p.163).
But before we talk about Colossae and the Colossians lets remember Paul,
writer of this letter and the troubled times he lived and died in. Paul wrote this letter
while he was imprisoned in Rome, probable around 62-63AD. Nero began the first of
ten rounds of persecution and execution of Christians, Eusebius writes:
Read Quote: Eusebius (Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, p.12)
Paul would eventually be summoned to his execution by Nero, an eye
witness account, by Abdias reports that Nero sent Ferega and Parthemius to tell Paul
that he was going to be put to death; both they and others gathered asking Paul to
pray for them, so they might believe, after which Paul instructed them to be
baptized; then the Roman soldiers came and took Paul escorting him outside the
city to the place where they would execute his death sentence, Paul again prayed,
then Abdias reports, “he gave his neck to the sword” (Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, p.13).
Take note, these words Paul penned were some of his last! He was not
fainted hearted, fickle, or a Follower of Christ for convenience sake ONLY, NO Paul
was absolutely committed to Christ and His Gospel and it cost him his comfort,
security, and ultimately his life.
As we explore this Letter of Paul’s to the Colossians lets not forget the back drop,
that Following Jesus and sharing the Gospel just might cost you everything, even
your life. The times were serious, the church in Colossae was being attacked from
within, a group called the Gnostics were bringing a New Gospel, fundamentally
different from Christ’s Gospel. The Gnostic Gospel focused preached a new, but
old way to salvation; a salvation NOT through Faith in Christ, but a salvation
obtained through acquiring special knowledge, and the practice of superstitious
rituals, and astrology and angelology; this salvation was a mystical and magical
experience to become a “Gnostic” or a “knowing one.” They believed the material
world, including the flesh was evil, and therefore, attacking Christ’s Incarnation and
his Deity, Christ could not be both God and Man, because the two could never coexist.
Paul as a counter, to their teachings/philosophies writes:
Reading: Colossians 1:1-14
Greeting/Opening of Letter (Col. 1:1, 2)
vv.1 - Apostle (GK-Apostolos) = “Sent One,” first used to describe a ship or fleet;
then a naval commander, leader, and in this context “One Being Sent” as a
representative/spokes person for God to people; Brother (GK-Adelophos) = Fellow
Christ/Family, Of same Paternity;
vv.2 - Holy (GK-Hagios) = (OT) Person, Place, Thing, Dedicated/Set-Apart 100% for
God’s Work and Worship of God; Faithful (GK-Pistos) = Not just believing, but
Loyally Committed to Christ when under fire/persecution/hardship. The idea of
“Staying Faithful” no matter what. “In Christ” = United/Joined/Connected to Christ
like limbs and body; used by Paul 160 X’s. Grace and Peace (GK-Charis/Eirene) =
God’s Favor at work in you, God’s Peace = Silencing the conflict within bringing
wholeness, contentedness and good relations with others.
Paul is Grateful to God for the Colossians and the Good Report (Col. 1:3-8)
(vv.4, 5) - Faith (GK-Pistos) = Commitment to, Trust “In Christ” (GK-En) = “Christ is
sphere where Faith operates,” H.C.G. Moule said about the Colossians that, “their
Faith was anchored in, resting in Christ! Love (GK-Agape) = A Caring for, counts no
sacrifice too great. Triad - Faith, Love and Hope (Used by Paul 4 X’s, 1Cor.13); Hope
(GK-Elips) = Future Heavenly Blessings obtained, secured in Christ.
(vv.6) - Producing Fruit (Pres., Act., Indicative. Verb) = Internal Change (Col. 3:12);
Growing = External Expansion; Constant and Continues work.
• Illustration: The Christ’s Gospel has the inherent power like a reproducing
organism, “a plant whose seed is in itself,” “Not like corn, planted, fruits and dies
to the root; but like a tree, planted, sprouts, bears fruit and expands producing fruit
season after season.
Christ’s Gospel - “In all its truth” = Knowledge of God vs. Gnostic Gospel (Not
Grace, Not Truth, Not Fruit Bearing, Not Growing, but a system of legal bondage/
rules/rituals and pagan tradition that cannot save anyone.
(vv.7, 8) - Epaphras = Epaphraditus brought Christ’s Gospel to Colossae; Fellow
Servant = Bond Servant like Paul; a Faithful Minister (GK-Pistos/Deacon) =
Committed/Trusted, One who Servers, NEB - “A Trusted Worker;” from Colossae;
Reported of Colossians Love (GK-Agape) = Care for others “In The Spirit” stirred by
God at Work In Their Lives!
Paul’s Prayer for Colossians (Col. 1:9-14)
(vv.9) - Filled = Pervades/Consumes Ones Entire Being; “The Knowledge of His
Will,” Knowledge (GK-Epignosko) = A knowledge that grasps & penetrates its
object (i.e. God’s Will), used of Christ and of God, a deep, accurate comprehension,
and continues. Wisdom (GK-Sophiai) = Knowledge of Principles; Understanding
(GK-Sunesai) = Intellectual Grasping and Deciding.
(vv.10) - “Live a life Worthy,” Live = To Walk, outward expression of inward change.
Point: The Aim = Right Knowledge and The End/Result = Right Action according to
God’s design, Will and Work in you; Pleasing = Way of Life becomes more and
more to do God’s will God’s way. Bearing Fruit and Good Works are evidence of
“Growing in the Knowledge of God.
• Illustration: Rain & Sunshine grow plants, so “Knowledge of God” grows and
matures us and external changes, is evidence of internal changes.
(vv.11) - Strengthened (GK-Dunamoumenoi) = To Empower or To Empower with All
Power. God’s might does this work: Might (GK-Kratos) - Perfect Strength, Used Only
of God NT; accompanied Glory (GK-Shekinah) = God’s Power and Presence.
Endurance (GK-Hupomeno) = Remaining in Difficulties without Succumbing;
Patience (GK-Makrothumia) = Long Suffering without Retaliation.
(vv.12, 13, 14) - “Who made us” = Who made us fit or adequate for; Rescued (GKErusato)
= Delivered, God’s redemptive work through Christ who Is Greater than the
Gnostic Gospel’s salvation based on special knowledge for the elite, obtained
through meaningless special practices and rituals. Love (GK-Agapes) = Beloved of
the Father (Matt. 3:17), the Son is the object of the Father’s love. “In Whom
(Christ)” = By Faith Followers have Redemption (GK-Apolutrosin) = Release on
payment of a slave or debtor; Forgiveness/Sin (GK-Aphesin/Hamartion) = Buying
Back Our Sin, Christ bought from sin and paid our debt/took our punishment at the
Question: What kind of Report could be written and sent on your behalf regarding
• Dedication (Holiness) to God’s Work & Worship?
• Faith - Not just Trust, but your Commitment to stand in place under fire, your
• Love - Caring for a brother, and no sacrifice being too great?
Question: What would that Report say about your being joined to Christ, like an
arm is joined to the torso?