Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 21 - 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 book of Colossians is another letter written by Paul while he was in jail. It was sent to the church in the city of Colosse, which is now part of modern-day Turkey, situated on a major trade route. Many religions and cultures converged here because of this trade route. As a result, Colosse became a breeding ground for cults. New variations of the gospel were popping up all over. So, Paul writes this letter to warn the church and encourage them to stay grounded in their faith.
  • Because Paul knows he is going to confront some hard issues in the Colossians church, he begins by complimenting them. He is thankful for their faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ and he is grateful that the church is growing. He reminds them of the darkness they were rescued from. 
  • Paul then explains the supremacy of Christ starting in verse 15. He explains 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. But Paul shows that Jesus is God by explaining that everything was created by Him and he is also the head of the church.
  • Verses 21-23 remind us that we used to be separated from God because of our sins. But, Jesus' death removed them and we are now reconciled to God through Jesus if we put our faith in Jesus and if we continue in that faith. Because of all the cults the Colossians were facing, Paul makes it crystal clear that "This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven." He did not want there to be any confusion as to what the gospel message was.
  • In the final section of chapter 1 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 is supreme. Nothing is above Jesus. He is over any person who has ever lived,  any philosophy anyone has ever had, and over every living creature and everything in our lives. Nothing compares to Jesus. And our lives won't really make sense until Jesus is supreme in them.
  • The gospel message is simple. We have sinned against God and separated ourselves from him. But, God in his love and mercy responded to our sin by allowing his son Jesus to die for us so that we can be reconciled back to God. If we accept this truth and put our faith in Jesus we will spend our lives and eternity with God in heaven. Sounds too good to be true, but it isn't. This is the story. This is the gospel. Nothing more. Nothing less.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What is supreme in your life? What is pouring into you, and what is pouring out of you? Most of us have lived our entire lives for lesser things - personal achievements, money, thrills, material possessions, a boyfriend or a girlfriend, or even a spouse or a child. Sadly, sometimes even if we are a follower of Jesus, we still continue to follow lesser things, lesser pursuits. Can you let go of those things in your life that standing in the way of your relationship with Jesus? Can you push them aside, realizing that Jesus is supreme, whether you recognize it or not.
  • Choose today to not live for lesser things, but for the ultimate thing - Jesus.  Let God pour into you so that you may pour your life into sharing Jesus with others. Maybe it would help to read a book about Jesus. The Jesus I Never Knew and Who Is This Man? are great options.