I just taught lesson 2 from Colossians on Sunday night. It was a great study. I was glad to have good students who do their homework so that they can participate in the lesson. It is nice to see how people are being transformed by God’s Word. I was touched by the lesson once again so I would like to share it with you here. Also, I will be teaching this Saturday night on “be a grateful teenager” from Matthew 11:25-30 so I will have an article about that coming soon.
In order to understand the essential ideas of this article, it would be a good idea to read Colossians 1. During our last meeting, we studied the overview of Colossians, seeing all 4 chapters in context.
Here is a quick overview of Colossians.
Theme: Becoming mature in Christ (1:28)
Key words: Jesus, knowledge, Gospel, faith, deceive
1) Chapter 1 Know: All the fulness of deity dwells in Jesus (1:19)
2) Chapter 2 Know: Be careful that no one deceives you (2:4)
3) Chapter 3 Know: Set your mind on the things above (3:2)
4) Chapter 4 Know: Make the most of your time (4:5)
We discovered all of this by studying lesson 1 together. After lesson 1, we moved to lesson 2 where we focused solely on chapter 1 of Colossians.
Correct knowledge of Christ brings you grace and peace.
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae : Grace to you and peace from God our Father. (Colossians 1)
All people are searching for peace in this life and it is possible to find. Peace is not based on circumstances, i.e., presence or absence of conflict. Peace, true peace is found in Jesus Christ. If you know Jesus Christ then you receive the grace of God. Grace is a free gift that you do not deserve. One of the free gifts that we do not deserve is peace. We do not have peace because we do not have a relationship with God. When we enter into a personal relationship with God then He gives us His peace. His peace is a peace that does not fade and is not dependent on outside circumstances.
Correct knowledge of Christ brings you faith and love.
3 We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints ; 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth ; 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8 and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. (Colossians 1)
Another couple of gifts that we receive (grace) when we know Christ are faith and love. We are not born with faith and we are not born with the love of God. He gives these to us when we come to know Christ. As we learn about God through the Bible we learn about faith. The Bible teaches us about faith and then calls us to have faith (put what we learn into practice). As we grow in knowledge we also grow in faith because we put into practice what we learn. As our faith grows so does our love for God and for others. How is this love manifested? We pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We are interested in building relationships with others and helping them in their needs. The more we serve those around us through prayer and actions, the more our faith grows which also causes our love to grow. This growth of love causes us to want to serve more. It is a big circle that builds up speed as it turns. Knowledge, faith, love, service, knowledge, faith, love, service etc.
Correct knowledge of Christ causes your faith to mature and you become stable.
God gives us the tools that we need once we come to know Him and He also produces the growth in us. God has His part and does it. We also have our part to accomplish if we want our faith to grow and be stable in our walk with God. Colossians 1:9-23 gives us the answer. Specifically, we find the answer in verse 23.
if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.
Once we come to the knowledge of Christ through faith, then we are to remain in the faith so that we can grow. The first temptation that we will have (a temptation that will always be there) is to move away from the path of faith. As people, we have a tendency to turn away from the straight and narrow, going to the right or the left. God has been telling us this all throughout the Bible, even way back in the Old Testament.
31 ‘But as for you, stand here by Me, that I may speak to you all the commandments and the statutes and the judgments which you shall teach them, that they may observe them in the land which I give them to possess.’ 32 “So you shall observe to do just as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 “You shall walk in all the way which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess. (Deuteronomy 5)
Mature faith prays for others and their situations. (9-10) Paul is in prison for preaching the Gospel and you would think that his prayer would be to be set free. If you look carefully, he prays for more opportunities to preach the Gospel and he prays for the Colossian Christians. He is not self-centered and as a result, he does not fall into depression while going through difficult times. He uses those difficult times to pray for his brothers and sister and preach and teach the Gospel. He prays for spiritual growth. Wisdom of the Word leads to the right way of living. The right way of living leads to Christian fruit. As you serve and grow, God gives you the patience that you need to deal with difficult situations. There will be difficult situations because we work with people. Because of people, Paul is suffering in prisons and the Colossian Christians are also suffering. Paul understood God’s patience and he is trying to teach that same patience to the Colossians through his letter and his own example.
Correct knowledge of Christ comes from the Bible.
It is not enough to simply know about Christ. We need to know the truth about Jesus. He is not one thing for some people and another for others. This is where Christianity divides from all other religions and cults. It depends on the person of Jesus Christ. Is He God, the One and Only God or not? Christianity is the only religion that explains the deity of Christ, that He and God are One, coequal from all eternity. Some cults say that Jesus is a god but not God. Other religions say that He is a good man or teacher or even a prophet. Christianity is the only religion that explains Jesus Christ as He is, One with God, coequal from all eternity, the God-Man who saves mankind from itself. Colossians 1:15-22 explains this to us. Do you know Christ as He is or do you follow someone’s idea about Christ? If you do not have a correct knowledge of Christ then you cannot benefit from all of the other blessings; grace, peace, faith, love, service, and maturity. It all begins, continues, and ends with Jesus Christ, knowing Him and following Him.
Have you experienced the grace of God? Do you have His peace? Is your faith growing? Do you love and serve the people around you? Are you stable in your walk with the Lord? Do you pray for others? Do you study and pray daily so that you can mature in your faith? How are you serving others practically? Do you seek to use every circumstance in life to share the Gospel and encourage others? Are you doing your part? God is ready to do His. He has already done everything for you and now you need to take the leap of faith. What keeps you from it?