Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 18 - Colossians 1

Today's reading in our daily plan is Colossians 1. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • The bible book of Colossians is another letter written by Paul while in jail sent to the church in the city of Colosse which was about a hundred miles inland of Ephesus in modern day Turkey. It was a smaller trade route town. The church may have been started by people from the church in Ephesus. Paul writes this letter to a group of people he had never met but had heard about.
  • After his usual greeting, Paul tells the church in Colosse that he’s heard great things about them and prays for them to receive understanding, wisdom and knowledge of God’s will, and that they will live a life worthy of the Lord.
  • Starting in verse 15 Paul explains the supremacy of Christ. He shows that Jesus is God and we have reconciliation with God through Jesus’ sacrifice. The idea that Jesus is God can be difficult to accept since he was also human. Paul makes it clear that Jesus is God saying He is "over all creation" and that "by him all things were created" and "he is before all things" and "in him all things hold together" and "the head of the church" and all of "God's fullness" dwells "in him."
  • In verses 21-22, Paul gives us a great snapshot of the "gospel". Because of our sin we were separated from and enemies of God. Because of Jesus' death our sins are removed from our record and we are reconciled to God IF we put our faith in Jesus and IF we continue in our faith (verse 23).
  • In the last section (verses 24-29) Paul explains that, in light of this amazing gospel, he pours all of the energy God gives him into sharing it with everyone.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Jesus has the supremacy. He is supreme over any person who has ever lived, over any philosophy any person has ever had, and over everything else in your life. Nothing compares to Jesus. And our lives won't really make sense until Jesus is the supreme thing in them.
  • The idea that we had sinned against God and made ourselves His' enemies, and His response was to allow His only Son to come and die for us is so amazing, and so loving, it's almost incomprehensible. But it's true, and if we put our faith in Jesus ("established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel," vs 23) our lives and eternities are completely changed by it, and we get the opportunity to pour ourselves into sharing it with others.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What is supreme in your life? What is pouring into you, and what are you pouring yourself out for? Most of us have lived our entire lives for lesser things - personal achievement, money, thrills, getting nicer things, for a boyfriend or a girlfriend - and once we have Jesus and the opportunity to share the gospel, we still continue to live for those lesser things. It's like we're in a rut, or maybe even addicted to our old pursuits. 
  • Choose today to not live for lesser things but for the ultimate thing - Jesus, and to pouring your life into sharing Jesus with others. Perhaps it would help to read a book about Jesus. The Jesus I Never Knew and Who Is This Man? are great options.