A great teacher and evangelist of our time has often lamented “Most believer’s don’t let what the Word says get in the way of what they believe.” That is why the apostle Paul exhorted his young protégé Timothy: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, accurately dividing the Word of truth” (11 Tim. 2:15). There is a difference in reading your bible or listening to a sermon, than studying scripture. Far too many Christians base what they believe on what they have heard from well meaning pastors and teachers without studying God’s Word for themselves. Martin Luther found that to be true when he began to study the Book of Romans for himself. Paul’s message of grace began to burn alive in his heart, and his new found revelation of grace ignited a revival that turned Europe on its head. Centuries later, the same challenge remains. A common challenge found in many denominations is the mixing of the Old Covenant of Law and the New Covenant of Grace. Jesus warned that we are not to put new wine in old wine skins, a clear reference to the two Covenants. (Matt. 9:17). He also reminded us that, “The traditions of men (Law) make the Word to no effect” (Mark 7:1-13). Over the next few weeks, Penny and I would like to encourage you to join us in a topical study of the New Covenant Book of Colossians, knowing that “Grace and Peace is multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord” (11 Peter 1:2). With that in mind, and before we delve into our study of the Book of Colossians, let’s look at who wrote it, where the author was when it was penned, and his purpose for writing it.
Colossians was written by the apostle Paul while imprisoned in Rome around 60-62 AD. He was lead by the Holy Spirit to write them concerning certain gospel truths. Therefore, what Paul wrote is the inspired Word of God. As far as we know, Paul never visited the city of Colossae, but he was elated to hear from a convert named Epaphras that a Christian Church had been born there. Two men by the names of Epaphras and Philemon were members of this new fledgling church and both were firmly rooted in the gospel preached by Paul. They knew that their faith and identity could not be rooted in doing, but in receiving the victory won by Christ Jesus on the Cross. However, not everyone believed as they did, insisting that Paul’s gospel was to simplistic, that even though the blood of Christ could save, it was not enough to keep them saved. They were adamant that it had to be “Christ plus something.” Let’s pause here to state a foundational truth: “Christ plus anything always equals nothing, because we have been made complete in Him” (Col. 2:10). We do because we are new creations in Christ with new natures that love to bear fruit, not because our works insure our salvation. For this reason, Epaphras journeyed a long distance to Rome to get help and direction from the great apostle Paul, the Billy Graham of their day. Paul knew all too well that the error had to be expelled from the Church, so he was quite willing to help them, and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he penned this wonderful letter that has withstood the tests of time.
Note that Paul did not begin his letter with all the things that were wrong, he opened his book of instruction with things that were right, with identification, with the power of faith, with the power of love, and the basis of our hope, a risen Christ. While different commentators and teachers may see Colossians with a different eye, and you have the right to do the same, it appears that the main theme of Paul’s letter centers on “Truth.” Paul begins chapter one with foundational truths; in chapter two he exposes lies with truth; in chapter three he exhorts the brethren with the truth of their position in Christ. In chapter four he exhorts with the truth that they (we also) have been empowered to walk like Christ walked. At one time our courts of law required a witness to place their hands on a Christian bible and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This is exactly what the apostle Paul accomplished when he penned the Book of Colossians.
With those things in mind, please take a few minutes and read Paul’s letter to the Church of Colossae, known as the Book of Colossians, and let it speak directly to you. Take a moment to underline the specific things that the Spirit speaks to you about, and then write them down on a tablet. Understand that this study has the power to destroy every evil stronghold, remove every sickness of the body, and enable you to live a victorious Christian life. Next Friday, we will begin our study of the first fourteen verses. We will gladly attempt to answer any questions or join with you in prayer needs. Please encourage others to join our upcoming study, especially those who may be struggling in some area of their lives. Visit our website @ DonAndPenny.com In Christ, Don & Penny