Advance 2020 – Passion

No Excuses

Colossians 3:17 and 3:23

From what we know, Paul never visited Colassae.  The young church was planted by Epaphras, a disciple of Paul’s, and the church is under attack by false teaching.  Paul is on house arrest in Rome and writes this letter to encourage the church, to correct the false teaching, and to charge the church to stay faithful in its mission.   Paul’s letter is cemented in the supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ.  He is Lord over all creation and all human existence.

“Whatever you do in word or deed”

The translation for word in this verse means “thoughts or consciousness”.  As believers, he connects our thoughts and actions to the centrality of Jesus in our lives.  “Out of the heart, the mouth speaks” is a paraphrase found throughout scripture, both old and new testament.  In 2 Cor. 10:5, Paul writes “to take every thought captive to obey Christ.”  We will do good to remember and realize this call is not to be done begrudgingly, but as we read in Col 3:17, “in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Do you/we take our words and deeds captive to serve, worship, and glorify the Lord.  Read verses 3:15-16, do we give thanks and show gratitude to the Lord in our responses to life’s curve balls and situations?

To keep our minds and hearts focused on Christ and not obligated guilt to “work or serve”, let us take a moment to reflect on 3 questions:

  1. Who is Jesus?
  2. What Jesus did for us?
  3. Who we are, in Jesus?

In Col 1:15-20, Paul uses several universal and all encompassing words to describe the authority and deity of Jesus; all, everything, preeminent, fully.  Jesus Christ is absolutely relevant to all of creation, beginning to end.  Jesus is God on earth, first born, heir of over all of creation.

In Col 1:20-22, we see Paul reference the blood sacrifice and Jesus’s death on the cross.  The blood sacrifice has been part of God’s design for dealing with sin from the very beginning.  Reflect back to God covering Adam and Eve after the fall, the Israelites in Egypt and Passover, and the temple/sacrificial code delivered to Moses in the wilderness.  Jesus, being fully God, came to earth and lived the perfect life, as the unblemished lamb, for all of creation.  His blood reconciles and redeems us, as his people.

In Col 2:6, 10-15, Paul reminds the Colossians who they are now, in Christ.  First, we are called to “walk” or “live” in him.  Ours lives are to be Christ-centric.  As Gentiles, Jesus circumcises our hearts and removes the heart of sin, making us new creations in Him.  Jesus fulfills the sacrificial code and is our great High Priest.  Jesus lives in us, we live in Him.  We are with Christ.  We were dead, now alive.  We were alienated, now forgiven.  We were debtors, now free.

Proclaim Christ!  Col 1:28 and 3:1-4.  Christ is our message.  He is the central figure of all of humanity.  He is the center of the universe.  If the only hope for humanity is Christ, why are we not sharing, serving, actively loving, and engaging in the work of the church and the commission of Christ?  We are called to gather as the church to collectively worship and study the Word, in order to mature and fulfill our commission to passionately serve and love others.

Col 3:23 we find our second key verse and second “whatever” statement.  This “whatever” statement directly follows the command to slaves and servants to obey as if they are serving the Lord.  Col 4:1 reminds earthly masters their true Master is in Heaven.  Paul is drawing a comparison between 3:17 and 3:23 between the behavior of slaves and of believers.  Paul is instructing us, as believers, to serve the Lord in absolute obedience.  We are to recognize the authority of Christ.  All that we are, all that we do, is to bring glory and honor to Christ.  The work of the church is not to be drudgery, but to be worship, thanksgiving, gratitude, and praise to the great “I AM”.

Discussion questions:

  1. Discuss the difference between work’s-based religion and work as the result of thanksgiving and gratitude.
  2. “Words or deeds”.  Discuss ways you are actively guarding your thoughts and actions.  Discuss ways you are maturing in self awareness of your “whatevers” and “words or deeds”.
  3. Discuss ways you personally and your small group can engage in the work of Four Points and ways you can serve the community.
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