Walking Thru The Bible

New Testament -- Colossians

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 AUTHOR:  This letter was written by the Apostle Paul about the
 same time as Ephesians and  Philemon.  Tradition says it was
 written during Paul's imprisonment in Rome, recorded in Acts 28. 
 Paul never visited Colossae himself (2:1), and we believe the church
 there was started with contact with Epaphras and possibly even
 Philemon while Paul was preaching for two years at Ephesus, 90
 mines west of Colossae.
 PURPOSE: The main purpose for writing this letter was to correct
 some wrong ideas about Christ that were being taught in the towns
 of Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis (4:13).  The teachers of these
 false doctrines were usually called "Gnostics."  The word "gnostic"
 comes from a Greek word which means "to have a special knowledge
 of God."
 FALSE DOCTRINE:  The Gnostics believed that everything material
 was evil, and that a fixed gulf existed between mater and spirit. 
 Because of this false idea, they also held that the true God did not
 create the universe.  Some taught that Christ did not have a real
 physical body, but that it only seemed to be real.  Their emphasis
 was on wisdom and knowledge and the abasement of the body.
   To practice the Gnostics' teachings was suppose to give a person
 a special "full knowledge" not possessed by others.  The Gnostics
 frequently used the word "fulness" in their teachings.
   In Colossians Paul emphasizes Christ's pre-eminence.  It is
 interesting to note how often he uses the words "fulness" "complete"
 and "filled."
 KEY VERSE:   The key verse is Colossians 1:18, "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."
   Another important verse in 2:9  "For in him dwelleth all the
 fulness of the Godhead bodily."
  THEME:  The Pre-eminence of Christ. RELEVANCE:  The message of this book is greatly needed today. 
 In a time when Christ is scorned and his teaching rejected, we need
 to hold forth the grand truth of this inspired letter penned by the
 apostle Paul.
   It was written when false teachers (the Gnostics) and Judiazers
 were attacking the gospel, and Christians themselves were not
 living up to principles it set forth.  
    Outline of Colossians
 Theme:  Christ is Preeminent
 I. DOCTRINE --  Chapter 1
   1. In the Gospel message -- 1:1-12
   2. In Redemption --  1:13-14
   3. In Creation --  1:15-17
   4. In the Church --  1:18-23
   5. In Paul's ministry --  1:24-29
 II.    DANGER --  Chapter 2
   1. Beware of empty philosophies -- 2:1-10
   2. Beware of religious legalism -- 2:11-17
   3. Beware of man-man disciplines -- 2:18-23
 III. DUTY -- Chapter 3 & 4
   1. In personal purity -- 3:1-11
   2. In Christian fellowship -- 3:12-17
   3. In the home -- 3:18-21
   4. In daily work -- 3:22 - 4:1
   5. In Christian living -- 4:2-6
   6. In Christian service -- 4:7-18

SERMON - - - - -   

        WHO IS JESUS? 
      Colossians 1:15-20
 1.   The article "One Solitary Life" by George Peck.
 2.   This passage helps us to see "Who Jesus Is."
 3.   One of the greatest controversies to range in early church
   history occurred in the fourth century over this very passage. 
   A man named Arius argued that Jesus was the very first thing
   that God created, and then Jesus created everything else.  He
   reasoned that, after all, the obvious meaning of "first-born" is
   the one born first.  That led to his conclusion that Jesus was not
   divine like the Father, but just a created being.
   a. A brilliant young man named Athanasius soundly rejected
   that view and the "Arian" doctrine was branded as heresy. 
   The historic view has been that Jesus, because He is the
   image of God, is eternal just as God the Father Himself is
   eternal.  He is "very God" as Athanasius put it.
   b. Thought is has been sixteen hundred years since Arius and
   Athanasius battled it out, the problem has not disappeared. 
   Some religious groups today do not believe that Jesus is God
   or that He is eternal.
   15  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every
 creature:  (Colossians 1:15)
 1.   "He is the image of the invisible God" (1:15a)
   One difficulty people have in believing God is that God cannot
    be seen.  Even as great a man as Moses had the longing to see
    God.  He pleaded with God to just give him a glimpse (See
    Exodus 33:17-23).
 2.   The Greek word translated "image" in v. 15 is "eikon."  
   a. Notice the meaning of that word in religious circles.
   b. Notice how that word is used today in computer circles.
   c. What do you have on your driver's license?
   d. Passports in Paul's day had a section called "Dis-tinguishing
   Marks" that described something about the person that set
   him apart from everyone else.  The Greek word "eikon" was
   used in that part of the passport.
 3.   TEV "Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God."
   19  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness
 dwell; (Colossians 1:19)
   "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
 (Colossians 2:9)
 1.   Jesus is not something "like" God, He is "everything" God IS!
 2.   Hebrews 1:3 "He is the radiance of His glory and the exact
   representation of His nature..."
 3.   All of the attributes of divinity belong of Jesus, He IS God.
   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: (Colossians 1:16)
 1.   The word "for" means is in the sense "because."  By Him, Jesus,
   all things were created. HE was not created, He CREATED!
 2.   "Before Jesus the carpenter made stools, Jesus the Creator made
   stars."  He fashioned plows, He fashioned planets.  Before He
   made tables, He made trees from which those tables would be
 3.   He also made all the invisible things of our universe.
   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.  (Colossians 1:18)
 1.   From Jesus comes all the guidance and direction for the church. 
   a. The "doctrine" is "His doctrine" (Heb. 6:1; 2 John 1:9)
   b. He is not just "first" but the "Source."
 2.   Jesus was the first to rise never to die again.
 3.   Over What was He to have the preeminence?  All things!
     Creation, powers, the church, death...
   Why was he to have the preeminence?  For in Him the sum total
   of the powers and attributes of God dwell.
   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.
   21  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your
 mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  (Col. 1:20-21).

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