Paul wrote the epistle to the Church at Colosse from his imprisonment in Rome. Paul had never been to Colosse, but he started the church in Ephesus, 100 miles away. Probably the Colossian church was started by people from the Ephesian church as they went forth spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. Perhaps Paul wrote the epistle because of a visit from a minister named Epaphras, from Colosse. A letter from Paul would have authority and perhaps bring those who were looking into false beliefs back to the truth of Jesus.
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
The epistle begins with a familiar introduction.
Col 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,
Paul truly was an apostle chosen by God. He was blindly and strongly opposing the way of Christ when Jesus came to him in a blinding light, giving him a new calling, as an apostle , an ambassador for Christ.. Timothy was his young pastor friend.
Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Col 1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
He sends the customary greeting to the saints, all believers in Christ Jesus are saints, and to the faithful brethren. I believe those to be the ones who followed Jesus by the spirit and who were not into rituals and false beliefs. False ideas had come to the church, as they come to our churches today. Paul would speak to them of the true Jesus.
Col 1:3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
Col 1:4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
Col 1:5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
Col 1:6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
Paul and Timothy had prayed for the church and that they would continue in the gospel truth. He speaks of truth and grace and spiritual fruit; faith hope and love.
1 Cor 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Col 1:7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;
Col 1:8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.
Epaphras, a minister to the church of the Colossians had spoken to Paul of the church, the good works and perhaps the false beliefs that were creeping in. A minister must feed the sheep, teaching the true word and keep the sheep from wolves who come to divide the church. He declared the love of the church in the spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that unites the believers in Christ Jesus and we are bound together in the love of God by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Col 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
For this cause; their faith in Jesus, we do not cease to pray for you to be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all knowledge and spiritual understanding. If their faith is in Jesus, then they must know his will for them. Wisdom comes from God and spiritual understanding is not of man.
Prov 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Prov 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Prov 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
Luke 11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
So our understanding of God's will comes from the spirit and the word of God.
Col 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Col 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
We no longer are to please our earthly father, whether good or evil, but we are to walk and live unto our Lord, pleasing him. We are to be fruitful in our good work, and as we obey we increase in the knowledge of God our Father.If our earthly father is of the Lord, he will be pleased, for all are to submit to God.
God is our strength without limits to fulfill his good desires. We are to have the fruit of patience and longsuffering with joy. I think that many if they receive opposition turn away to themselves or to another way. There is no turning away from our commitment in Christ. He didn't turn away from his calling.
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
We are delivered from the power of darkness, do you understand this? You are delivered from the power of darkness and transferred unto the kingdom of his dear son. Now it is up to us to keep our eyes on Jesus, not on the ugly darkness we have been removed from.
Luke 11:34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.
Luke 11:35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.
Luke 11:36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.
The light of the Holy Spirit generates light within you. Keep your eye and mind on Jesus and his good things.
Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
He bought us from the devil and darkness through his blood shed for us. Our sins are forgiven, shouldn't we forget them? By the power of the Holy Spirit we are kept free, as we choose to walk in the light of truth by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ, above all things
This portion of scripture is one of the most powerful in the Bible describing our Lord Jesus Christ, and of his highest position as God the Son.
Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God.
John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
John 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
The world should see Christ Jesus in us, for he dwells in us, we are to show the world Jesus by speaking his word and doing his work, just as he showed us the Father in himself.
What is meant by "the firstborn of every creature?"
It is the position of being over all creation, and not referring to an actual birth. Jesus is the most high heir of all that is of God. Psalms 89:27 shows this as God the father giving the son the title and authority to be over all things.
Psa 89:27 Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.
Phil 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Phil 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Col 1:16 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:
God is the creator, Jesus is God the Son. Everything was created by him and for him. This is made clear again in Hebrews 1:1-3
Heb 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Heb 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Heb 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Hebrews repeats what Paul has said in these verses of Colossians and adds the purpose of his coming; to purge our sins. They are removed, God himself became as a man just to make you and I free. We had better not forget this great gift. Thank you our precious and almighty Lord Jesus!
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Jesus as God, has an eternal existance, he created all things and upholds all things. When he came in the form of a baby, he was born six months after Mary's cousin Elizabeth's son, John the Baptist. John knew that he was born before baby Jesus, but he also knew as a prophet of God that in this baby was the eternal God, Jesus the Son of God.
John 1:15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
John 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Col 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.
Col 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
Jesus is the head of his body, the church. The church are all those who he has received and made new creations in God's eternal family from the time he was on earth until the time he returns for her. The church is also called the bride of Christ. The church is a mystery hidden from the past but revealed by Jesus.
Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
We no longer go to a temple or building to find God because we as the church have God within us, we are the dwelling place of God's Holy Spirit.
1 Cor 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
1 Cor 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Yet we are to assemble together as the church body.
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Jesus "is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead;"
Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
1 Cor 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
1 Cor 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
1 Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1 Cor 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
1 Cor 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
1 Cor 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
1 Cor 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
Think of all that Jesus is and has done for us. He is the image of God, he is above all things, he created all things and all things were created for him. He is the head of the church, the first born from the dead, a new creation of God - man for eternity. All power and the fullness of God dwells in him, he loves us and has made us as he is, spiritual people and in him is no death but eternal life as heirs of God we receive all things. We are transfers into this new kingdom, we must tell others who choose death, we have the way of God's eternal life and blessings. Jesus is the way, he is the most high God.
Col 1:20 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.
The word for reconcile, means to change thoroughly. Peace comes between man and God through the blood of his cross. The act of Jesus Christ spilling his sinless blood at the cross, fulfilled God's just punishment for sins. Those who receive Jesus through faith, also are justified, declared not guilty of sins by God the Father. We must receive Jesus through faith, the blood does not save those who reject him. Jesus has been given by his Father, power and dominion over all things, yes even satan will bow to him, but only those humans who are reconciled shall live forever in the love of God. Angels do not get a second chance. They are holy with God or, objects of worship from sinful men, both doomed to eternal hell. People have a choice, for the angels it is too late.
Col 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
Col 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
You, who once were captives of satan and worshipping fallen angels, you who have received Jesus have now been delivered (transferred into the kingdom of light) and are now reconciled (completely changed) and are made holy children of God.
Col 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
The complete change of reconciliation, is just that; a new life. If we continue as before in our old ways, unchanged, then where is the reconciling? If our hope is the work of Jesus Christ, then we follow him willingly, not by law or force but of a willing heart. The Holy Spirit within you honors and worships Jesus.
Apparently Paul was convinced that everyone in the world, as he knew the world to be, had heard the gospel. Yet new lands would be found, America was unknown in Paul's day. Can you be sure that everyone you know has heard the gospel message? If so, the Lord will come as promised. Many have been preached to, but few wish to hear the message of a new life.
Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Don't leave this world without Jesus.
Christ in You
Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:
Paul had been delivered from sin and Satan's hold on him, transferred into the kingdom of God's dear Son, Jesus. He has been reconciled, completely changed into a new spirit being. He has a new nature, it cannot be lost nor will he lose out for he belongs to God eternally. This is what happened to you and I when we were received by Jesus, all things have become new and Jesus dwells within by the Holy Spirit of God. We have made it, well yes, but we are still on earth. Satan will continue to oppose us in every way he can. First he attacks our mind to make us feel we are not really changed and that we still are guilty sinners. No! We are saints of God. If he can't defeat us in our minds then he sends his people to try to destroy us in our bodies. Don't give up, you are still delivered and eternally spiritual children of God. Knowing this we can identify with Paul.
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you - He was living the life of an overcomer, spreading the gospel to the lost. Many were being saved, many delivered and in the process he suffered afflictions. But all the suffering was joy knowing it was for the building of the church, the people of Christ.
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Col 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Paul an apostle was made a minister to manage and care for the church, to increase her and to teach the word of truth to her.
Col 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
A mystery to the people under the law is now revealed in the church. Remember we are delivered and reconciled, this brings us into unity with God, evidenced by Christ in us, the hope and evidence of our coming glory. We are sealed, his mark is on us as a brand. We are sealed by the holy Spirit of God.
2 Cor 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
2 Cor 1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
2 Cor 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Col 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Col 1:29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me
We preach Christ. The very name causes an uproar. People either love him and worship him or they strongly oppose him and ridicule those who speak of him. He is the love of God for all to receive through faith. We witness and testify of this hope of our Lord by the power of his Holy Spirit, speaking his living word. There is no greater calling, no greater reward then to see a new life born into God's kingdom.
Music: Power in the blood