Paul introduces himself as the author of this letter to the church in Colossae. Paul establishes his authority as being an Apostle, “by the will of God”. An Apostle was one who had personally seen the risen Christ and had been sent by him to establish his kingdom through the spread of the gospel and the growth of the New Testament church. So, Paul wrote this letter as someone with authority. But why did he write it? Like many of the New Testament letters written to churches, the church in Colossae had experienced people coming into the church and teaching something beyond the gospel. People were trying to teach these young christians there is something beyond Christ, a “philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition” (Colossians 2:8). Paul is reminding them that Christ is all and and greater than all! He is greater than religion, worldly systems, and philosophy and He alone saves. In the first part of this letter, Paul reminds them that they have heard the true gospel, the word of truth, in which they have a hope for a future inheritance. This gospel was given to them not by Paul in person, but by one converted as a result of Paul’s teaching in Ephesus, a man named Epaphras. It is this gospel that is bearing fruit among them and growing to all nations. They can rest assured their is no other gospel!
Pray and ask if anyone has questions, then ask the following:
Read Colossians 1:1-8, EPHESIANS 1:1-2, Acts 8 and 9 & answer the following:
MEMORIZE COLOSSIANS1:3–4 –  We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,  since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, (ESV)
Paul now shifts his attention to the specifics of his prayer for the Colossians. In light of what has happened within their church, Paul encourages them with details of his prayer for them. He continually prays that they will be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in wisdom and understanding. This is a reminder that true knowledge comes from God, who has revealed himself to us in his word through His Son, Jesus. In Christ, we have all spiritual wisdom and knowledge. We have hope that our sins are atoned for and we are reconciled back to our creator. It is this knowledge that transforms our lives to walk out a life that is reflective of the gospel. This is not some secret knowledge that only the spiritual elite can obtain. This knowledge comes from God and through his work in our lives, we are changed to live lives that produce fruit. God has filled us with his Spirit as a guarantee of our salvation and he will strengthen us to persevere in our faith. It is God alone who qualifies us as His people. We are not qualified or deserving at all of his grace. But he has called us his through his Son, who is qualified. It is through Christ that we have been called from darkness to light and are forgiven and redeemed because of His work alone!
Read Colossians 1:1-14, EPHESIANS 1, EXODUS 12-13
-Read Colossians 1:13-14 and Exodus 12-13. How is the theme of redemption and deliverance seen in both of these passages? What does this tell us about God and us?
-Read Colossians 1:1-14 and Ephesians 1. Paul wrote both of these letters to churches while under house arrest. How are both similar. How does Paul describe the will of God in Ephesians? How is it revealed to us?
-Read Colossians 1:10. Does the knowledge you have of God’s will, which is fulfilled in Christ, lead you to live a life that bears fruit for his glory? If not, how can this change?
-According to Paul in Colossians, who provides our strength amidst difficult times as believers?
MEMORIZE: Colossians 1:13–14  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (ESV)
In our last look at Paul’s epistle to the Colossian church, we saw how Christ is preeminent in all things. Meaning, he is the heir of all things. It is Christ who is the image of the invisible God, and He makes known the Father revealing His will. All things in Heaven and on Earth were created by Him as the Eternal God within the Trinity, and yet it is Through Him [Christ] that all things were created and ultimately were created for Him. We also learned the hard truth that all things will be reconciled to Himself. That is, He will receive glory in extending Grace to some, while also receiving glory in displaying His righteous judgement towards others. Everything that happens whether it is good, bad, blessing or tragedy, Christ receives all glory. Nevertheless, there is good news. In verse 21, Paul explains how the Colossians and realistically every non-believer was once alienated from God and hostile in mind. We were separated from Him, and in our separation from Him we were God haters (Romans 1:30). We desired to do evil deeds. We hated the light, because our light exposed our desire to do evil deeds (John 3:20). But Christ has now reconciled us, returned us to right standing with the Father through His work on the cross by His death. He took our sin and shame in order that He may present us as holy, and blameless before the Father. He makes it so that the Father finds no fault in us. However, Paul continues in verse 23, we must continue in the faith being unmovable and unshaken from the Gospel of Christ.
Read Colossians 1-2:5, 2 Corinthians 4
-What parallels do you see if both of these passages? Who wrote them?
-How are these passages in conflict with the message of our culture?
-In 2 Corinthians 4, what is Paul’s hope? What should this tell us about the suffering and trials we face as believers?
-In 2 Corinthians, what does Paul mean by seen and unseen? What does this have to do with suffering for Christ?
-In Colossians 1:28, what does it look like to be “mature in Christ”?
-In Colossians 2:3, what does it mean that “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ”? How does this differ from the opinions of the world?
MEMORIZE: Colossians 2:3:  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (ESV)
In Chapter’s 1 and 2 of Colossians, Paul gave us a heavy dose of Theology. He has explained who Christ is, what he has done, and who we are as a result. Paul has also waged war on the gnostic invaders and called out their false teachings. He has reminded believers of their identify and wholeness in Christ and pleaded with them to avoid senseless religion. At the end of Chapter 2, Paul warns us that these man-made teachings may seem wise, but in reality they are of no use in battling sin (2:23), which is the ultimate enemy of the believer.
Paul now shifts and provides us with application as it relates to battling sin. Paul first reminds us of our union with Christ. In other words, as Christ died, was buried, and rose again, all those who trust in him have died to sin, and have been resurrected to a new life through the work of the Spirit. Because of this work, our thoughts should be different. We should no longer set our thoughts on the systems and ways of the world, but on Christ and his Kingdom.
Paul then provides us with some explicit application to battle the sin that still remains inside of us….Sin is serious, as it leads ultimately to death (Romans 6:23). If sin were no big deal, then the cross was of no significance! But Sin is a huge deal. It is what cost Christ His life to pay the debt we owe due to sin and free us from it’s bondage. Sin is much like a critical infection that continues to spread if it is not treated. And to effectively treat sin, you must kill it at its core or else, it will spread and kill you! As Christians, we are called to daily kill the sin in our life. Sin must be slain like an enemy of war, and it must be stripped off of us and put away like dirty clothes! You cannot take sin lightly!
Read Romans 6 Corinthians 3:1-11, 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
-What parallels do you see if both of these passages? Who wrote them?
-In Romans 6, how does Paul describe our Union with Christ (Write down key words, phrases)? How does Paul describe our freedom from Sin?
-In 2 Corinthians 5, what does Paul tell us about our old self and new self? What is the cause and result of this change?
-Why do you think Paul is so explicit about certain sins? Do you struggle with these sins? How can you kill them?
-In Romans 6, as opposed to being a slave to sin, those in Christ are now slaves to what? Do you see yourself as a slave to righteousness? Do you desire the righteousness that Paul is describing that only comes from Christ?
MEMORIZE: Colossians Colossians 3:3:  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (ESV)
In verses 5-11 of chapter 3, Paul tells the Colossian believers that now that they are born again into union with Christ there are things that were in their lives before conversion, when they were dead in their trespasses. Now they must put these things to death. There are sins that plagued them and blinded them from the Truth. They must now put these things off, take them off like you would take off filthy clothes.
In verses 12-14, Paul now tells the Colossian church that there are new clean clothes that they are to put on in place of the old ones that they have taken off. First Paul reminds them that God chose them and set them apart from the world. He then lists a few attributes that Christ exemplified that all Christ followers should also be demonstrating as a result of their being born again into Christ Himself. Paul points to love as the attribute that holds up all of these new attributes.
In verses 15-17, Paul lays out for the Colossians the practical applications of the previous chapters that are so thick with theology. First he tells them to let the peace that they have in their union with Christ to guide all the decisions that they make in their lives. Secondly, Paul admonishes the church to stay focused and steeped in the word of Christ, the gospel. And, he also tells them that must be encouraging one another in the gospel by teaching each other and singing all types of songs that are full of the wisdom of the gospel. Lastly, Paul tells the church that everything that they do, they should with a pure heart because they are doing it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Himself. Whether it is that they say or do it should be with a heart of thanksgiving because of what God has done for them through Christ
Read COLOSSIANS 3 and GALATIANS 5
-What are we to put to death in Colossians 3? What are we to put on?
-How do the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5) align with what we are to put on in Colossians 3?
-Are these things/fruits that we are to put on results of our salvation or do they merit salvation? Why is it important that we understand this?
-How does Christ perfectly reflect what we are to put on in Colossians 3?
-According to Colossians 3, why are we to forgive one another? How is this a picture of the gospel?
-Which of these do you struggle with?
MEMORIZE: Colossians 3:14:  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (ESV)
Paul has laid out the results of being “In Christ”. Those in Christ have a new identity and new desires. Desires that constantly are at war with our old nature. So, we fight. sin…We put it to death and we put off the old self. In contrast, we put on the new self. A self that reflects Christ and is filled with his Spirit. In closing his letter to the Colossians, Paul gets specific with the believers at Colossae in how they are to reflect this new life they now have in Christ.
As a result of the gospel, the lives of believers are distinct from non-believers. They have hearts that desire to please God above all else. Therefore, in relationships the desire to serve and please Jesus is the heart of how we treat our parents, our bosses, and each other. Not only do believers have a desire to please God in how they interact within relationships, but mature believers pray diligently. Underneath the words we speak and the actions we do, we should have hearts that our bent in full adoration to God…this is continual prayer. Our prayers should also be focused on the spreading of the gospel and as we pray we should recognize that sin is always luring ready to attack! As a result of the gospel, we are commanded to interact with non-believers in a gracious manner. And because our lives our so distinct from theirs, we should always be ready to answer their questions and tell them the gospel! Paul closes his letter with several personal greetings. Of significant importance to the Colossians is the greeting from Epaphras, who planted this church. It is important to note that the desire from Epaphras (and Paul) for the Colossians is for them to stand mature and fully assured in God’s will. All of the leaders of The Point have the same prayer and desire for you!
Read COLOSSIANS 3-4 and Ephesians 5-6
-What are some similar themes in both passages? Are there similar words or commands?
-How is Ephesians 5:7-8 similar to Colossians 3:22-25?
-Why is it important that we work to honor the Lord and not man? What are the results of this?
-Why do both passages address the basis for work as “fearing the Lord”?
-How is one mature in Christ and assured in the will of God.
-How do both passages reflect the new nature we have as a result of the gospel?
MEMORIZE: Colossians 4:6:  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (ESV)