19 February 2023 PM – Colossians 1:1-2 – Col2023 – Scott Childs
This evening, we are going to begin a journey through the book of Colossians that will instruct us, challenge us, and exhort us in many ways. I encourage you to pour your heart into this study.
a. Author and Date
1) Paul the Apostle with Timothy wrote this book.
2) Paul wrote Colossians about 62 A.D.
3) Paul was probably a prisoner in Rome when he wrote this letter (Ac 28:30-31; Col 4:3, 10, 18).
b. The City of Colosse
1) The city was situated on a rocky ridge overlooking the valley of the Lycus River. It was located about 170 km east of Ephesus and about 15 km southeast of Laodicea. Farmers in Colosse sold valued black wool from their sheep.
2) An earthquake destroyed the city in the ninth year of Nero, and it was then rebuilt. Unger
c. The Colosse Church
1) The establishment of the church is not mentioned in the book of Acts. Acts 19:10 records that all those in Asia heard the Word while Paul was stationed at Ephesus. Perhaps that is when the church began. When Paul wrote, many of the members had never met him (Col 2:1).
2) Epaphras was likely the pastor of the church and may have been the founder (Col 1:7; 4:12).
3) The members of the Colosse church were mainly Gentiles (Col 2:13).
d. The purpose of the epistle
1) Gnostics (i.e., who claimed superior knowledge, opposite to agnostics; had twisted knowledge about creation; claimed that Christ had no human body; practised asceticism – the doctrine that through renunciation of worldly pleasures it is possible to achieve a high spiritual or intellectual state; and practised unrestrained licentiousness or immorality) and zealous Jews who insisted on keeping the law, causing much confusion. See McGee
2) Paul warned the church against philosophic errors. (Colossians 2:8) “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.“
3) False teachers also promoted the worship of angels.
4) Paul sought to combat these errors and establish truth. To do this, he emphasised the preeminence of Christ and the sovereign headship of Christ. He warned against moral and doctrinal errors, exhorting believers to live holy lives.
e. Colossians is a prison epistle.
1) Paul wrote Colossians about the same time as he wrote Ephesians, Philippians and Philemon; therefore, they share several similarities.
2) It is likely that Paul learned of the doctrinal errors in Colosse from Epaphras, who we assume was their pastor. Paul refers to him as a fellowservant and faithful minister of Christ (Col 1:7), as a servant of Christ (Col 4:12), and as his fellowprisoner (Phlm 1:23). Perhaps he was also in Rome as a prisoner for the cause of Christ.
1) By Warren Wiersbe
a) Doctrine: Christ’s Preeminence Declared, Col 1
b) Danger: Christ’s Preeminence Defended, Col 2
c) Duty: Christ’s Preeminence Demonstrated, Col 3-4
2) By Charles Ryrie
a) Introduction, (Col 1:1-14)
b) The Exalted Christ, (Col 1:15-29)
c) The Exalted Christianity, (Col 2:1-23)
d) The Exalted Calling, (Col 3:1-4:6)
e) Concluding Personal Remarks, (Col 4:7-18)
2. Colossians 1:1
The Apostle Paul was at this time a prisoner in Rome awaiting trial. He identified himself as an apostle, not out of pride, but for credibility. His credibility came from Jesus Christ. As we will see, this epistle focuses on Jesus Christ. He became an apostle by the will of God when he saw Christ on the road to Damascus and was converted (Acts 9:3-22). Are you in the will of God today? Have you sought God’s specific will for your life? We must be sure that we are doing what GOD wants us to do and not what WE want to do. Paul includes Timothy as a contributor to this epistle. This must be true because while other faithful believers were with Paul at the time, only Timothy is named in the greeting. Paul identifies Timothy as a brother (cf. 2Co 1:1; 1Th 3:2; Phlm 1:1; Heb 13:23). Though he is not here called an apostle, he did contribute greatly to Paul’s ministry. At the present, he was assisting Paul while he was in prison (Acts 28:16, 30-31).
God has work for each of us to do. For some, it may be a position of leadership, as with Paul. For many it will be a position of service, to help out in the work of the Lord. We are to be faithful where ever the Lord places us.
3. Colossians 1:2
Paul addressed this epistle to the saints. The word saint speaks of a holy one or a separate one. It is one whom God has set apart unto himself and apart from the world. Ponder this. Saints are set apart and reserved for God Himself, as we might a set apart an inherited china dish, used only on the most special occasions. It is not an earned or merited position. It is a position graciously assigned to every believer by God when He saves the repentant sinner, transforms his life, and sets up residence within his heart (cf. 1Co 3:16-17; 1Co 6:19-20). As saints, believers have a responsibility to glorify God by living up to this title. And faithful brethren. These saints were also faithful brethren. Both titles applied to them. To be faithful is to be trustworthy and true. It is to hold fast the doctrines of the faith. In Christ. Brethren is a New Testament word for believers in Christ. They had been placed “in Christ” by the blood of Christ when they trusted Christ as Saviour (Eph 2:10; 2:13). They are positionally in Christ, and He lives in them. We find the phrase “in Christ” nearly 80 times in the New Testament. It is vital that each of us makes certain that he or she is in Christ. Which are in Colosse. These saints and faithful brethren lived in Colosse and were members of that local church. May God be able to call each of us a saint and faithful brother!
Paul greeted these saints, saying, Grace be unto you. While these words were part of a common Christian greeting in the first century, they carried with them rich and significant meaning. Grace is God’s divine enablement. We constantly need His grace in all that we do. When Jesus told His disciples “without me ye can do nothing” (Jn 15:5), He was not exaggerating. He literally sustains our lives. He also enables us to serve Him. Nothing that we do will account for eternity without God’s grace enabling it. This in no way removes our responsibility, but it does reinforce our dependence on the Lord. And peace. God’s peace is divine enjoyment. It is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). God is able to give us tranquillity in the midst of storm. He enables us to rejoice in the Lord (Php 4:4). It is being content with the Lord (Heb 13:5). From God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. Both grace and peace come from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ because they are both part of the Triune Godhead. Beware that modern translations based on the corrupted critical text do not include the phrase “and Lord Jesus Christ.”
Conclusion: Just like the Apostle Paul, God has a will for your life. If you do not know that you are living in the centre of His will, you need to make that a serious matter of prayer. Remember, God’s will is never contrary to His Word.
God has something for you to do in his harvest field. Each of us is different. Paul was a missionary church-planting preacher. Timothy was a preacher and Paul’s personal helper. Epaphras was a pastor. Each of the saints is set apart for God’s service. God has not saved us to sit, but to serve. God wants us to be faithful brethren, standing firmly for the truth of the Gospel and living lives separated from the carnality of this world.
Daily, we need to be depending on God’s grace and living in His peace. Living independent of God always leads to disaster.