Introduction to Colossians

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Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

July 18, 2010

Introduction to Colossians

Colossians 1:1-2

Introduction

I hope our series on 2 Peter and the follow-up series exposing the foundational theological errors of false religions, philosophies, cults and aberrant Christianity have been helpful to you. The sermon notes have now been posted on our web site under a new category entitled, “Exposing False Teachers and Mockers.” In addition, the MP3 files are available according to the date the sermon was preached. We do this so that these resources will be available to you in the future whenever the need may arise.

This morning we start a new series of sermons on Paul’s letter to the Colossians. This epistle is only four chapters, but it is packed with a lot of theological truths and practical applications in living for Christ. For that reason we will be studying this book until at least next February or March. While we do not want to get bogged down in minutiae, we do want to allow adequate time to give proper attention to the riches of this book.

We will begin by looking at Paul’s opening salutation in Colossians 1:1-2. From this we will examine the authorship of the book and give some background on Paul. Next we will quickly examine the background of the city of Colossae. It is important to understand something about the people Paul is writing to if we are to understand the purpose of his writing. This will include talking about how the church in Colossae was founded. We will then look at Paul’s greeting to them, and close by examining the theme of the book and outlining its major points.

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.

Paul & Timothy

Paul. The author identifies himself as “Paul,” who is distinguished from all other people named “Paul” as the one who is an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. Liberal scholars consistently seek to discredit the books of the Bible by denying the authenticity of its authorship. Usually, as in the case with Colossians, all they manage to do is demonstrate their own foolishness. There is no reasonable doubt that Paul is the author. First, the author refers to himself as Paul three times with the added description that he was an apostle (1:1), he was made a minister of the gospel (1:23) and that he wrote his greeting with his own hand while imprisoned (4:18). Second, the historical witness of the early church including Irenaeus, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian all support it being the writing of Paul. Third, the style of writing, language used and theological content are all consistent with Paul’s other letters.

Paul first appears in the pages of Scripture under his Hebrew name, Saul, in Acts 7:58 at the stoning of Stephen. Saul was a young Pharisee from the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5) who had been trained under the great Rabbi, Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). He was very zealous for the Law of God according to the tradition of the Pharisees (Philippians 3:5,6), and so he heartily approved of the murder of Stephen (Acts 8:1) and became a great persecutor of the church. In Acts 9, Saul is on his way to persecute the followers of Jesus in Damascus and bring them bound back to Jerusalem. Saul’s conversion is recorded in Acts 9:3-19.

Most of you are familiar with the story. As Saul approached “Damascus,suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; 4 and he fell to the ground,and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who art Thou, Lord?” And He [said,] “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6 but rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do. ” 7 And the men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but seeing no one.” When Saul got up from the ground, he was blind and had to be led by the hand to Damascus. The Lord had revealed to a certain disciple named Ananias, that Saul was “a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Ananias met him and restored his sight and Paul was then baptized.

Saul’s conversion was nothing short of miraculous, but such is the nature of the grace of God. In Acts 26:14-18 Paul is giving his defense before King Agrippa and reveals some more of what Jesus had said to him on the road to Damascus. 15 “And I said, ‘Who art Thou, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 ‘But arise, and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 delivering you from the [Jewish] people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.'”

Saul’s conversion from a persecutor of the followers of Jesus into being one himself was also his commission to preach the gospel. Saul immediately began to do so. After escaping a plot to murder him, Saul went to Arabia for three years where he learned and received revelation from Jesus (Galatians 1:11,12, 17-18). He then returned to Damascus briefly, then went to Jerusalem where he met with some of the Apostles. Saul escaped from another plot on his life there and returned to his home town, Tarsus, where he was ministering when Barnabas brought him to Antioch to help the church there (Acts. 11:22-26). Later, he and Barnabas were commissioned to make a missionary journey starting churches throughout Asia minor (Acts 13). Paul would make two more missionary journeys going also to Macedonia and Greece on those trips. Acts 22-28 records Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem, trials before the Sandhedrin, Felix and Festus before being sent to Rome to stand trial before Caesar since Paul was a Roman citizen. The ship he was on was caught in a storm and wrecked on the Island of Malta, but the Lord preserved him to be a witness – which, though Paul was a prisoner in Rome,is what Paul is doing at the conclusion of the book of Acts. It is during this first imprisonment in Rome (c. 61-63) that Paul writes this letter as well as the ones to Philemon, the Ephesians and the Philippians.

Paul identifies himself in verse one as an apostle, which means “one sent with authority.” Paul’s ministry was under Jesus’ specific commission for him to preach the gospel of God as I have already mentioned. Paul understood himself to be unworthy and the least of the apostles because of his earlier persecution of the church, and yet an apostle who was equal with any of the Twelve (1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:11-12; 2:11). There were those that sought to detract from Paul, but he demonstrated his apostleship by his teaching, his godly life, his personal encounter with Jesus, and by signs,wonders and miracles of an apostle (1 Corinthians 9:1; 2 Corinthians 11-12). He was an apostle by the will of God, not by his own will or the will of any other man. This was an important point for Paul to stress to the Colossians since he had not had a personal ministry among them in the past and he needed to assert his authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God in order to correct the heresies that were afflicting the church there.

 

Timothy. Paul includes his disciple, Timothy, as his co-laborer in the letter referring to him nine times in the first chapter (1:1, 4,8, 9, 14, 28) and twice in chapter four (4:3). Timothy is also referred to in a similar manner in Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians,Philippians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon. This is quite an honor and indicates Paul’s respect for him. In this verse Paul also calls him, “our brother,” a common term used of other believers since we are “children of God” who have been adopted into God’s family (1 John 3:2; Ephesians 1:5). But in this case, it is also a term of great respect by Paul for Timothy since Timothy was so much younger and was Paul’s disciple. Paul even calls him “my son” three different times in (1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 1:2; 2:1).

We first meet Timothy in Acts 16:1-3 during Paul’s second missionary journey when he is visiting with the believers in Derbe and Lystra which are in south-central Turkey. Timothy is the son of a Jewish woman who is a believer and a Greek father. He had come to faith in Christ while he was young through the witness and teaching of his mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois (2 Timothy 1:5). He was well spoken of by the Christian community in both Lystra & Iconium (Acts 16:2). Though Timothy appears to still be quite young, probably in his teens, Paul wants him join him and Silas on their mission journey.

Because Timothy is of mixed parentage, Paul had him circumcised so as not to cause unnecessary offense to the Jews. This is done voluntarily, not out of compulsion since the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 already determined circumcision was not necessary for Gentiles, but Timothy, being a Jew through his mother, would be a stumbling block to some Jews if he was not circumcised. This would be one of Timothy’s first lessons in Paul’s philosophy of “becoming all things to all men that by all means to save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). The godly man willingly limits his own freedoms for the sake of others.

Timothy goes with Paul and Silas on the rest of their travels through Asia Minor and then into Macedonia and Greece. Following the details of Acts carefully, we find that sometimes Timothy is with Paul and sometimes with Silas without Paul. We also find that though he was young he had demonstrated enough maturity for Paul to send him as his representative. 1 Thessalonians 3:1-3 indicates that Timothy met Paul in Athens and was then was sent to Thessalonica to “strengthen and encourage them” that “no man may be disturbed by these afflictions.” This would also be training for more difficult situations that he would face in the future.

Timothy meets up with Paul & Silas again in Corinth (Acts 18:5). It appears that Timothy accompanied Paul on the rest of the second missionary trip and then went with him on the third missionary trip as far as Ephesus where Paul stayed for over two years (Acts 19:10). At some point Paul sent Timothy to Corinth to try and deal with some of the problems there. Timothy returns to Ephesus and then some time later Paul sent Timothy and Erastus into Macedonia. Paul eventually

joins Timothy in Macedonia (Acts 20:1) Timothy is part of the group that travels through Asia Minor with Paul on his way back to Jerusalem (Acts. 20:4).

While it is uncertain if Timothy went all the way to Jerusalem or was with Paul on the trip to Rome, we do know that he eventually is in Rome with Paul and is present when Paul writes this letter to the Colossians. Paul states in Philippians 2:19,20 that he wanted to send Timothy back to them so that he could learn how things were going with them. Paul trusted Timothy because he was a “kindred spirit” and genuinely concerned for their welfare.

Timothy would continue to be an important assistant to Paul in the years that would follow this letter. We find he is sent by Paul to the church in Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3) to set things in order, appoint elders and prepare the church for difficult times that would come. The last mention of Timothy is in Hebrews 13:23 which mentions that he had been set free after being in prison and the author was hoping that he would come to him and then they together would go visit the Hebrews.

Timothy had his weakness, including being timid (1 Corinthians 16:10, 1 Timothy 4:12), but God used him greatly because of his faithfulness and willingness to face difficulties and fulfill the responsibilities given to him. True spirituality will learn from others and keep going despite fear and weakness. As Proverbs 1:5 states, “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” Timothy did this and became a blessing to many churches and people.

Paul and Timothy are examples of God’s ability to use anyone willing to follow the truth and serve Him. God radically changed Saul from a persecutor of Christians into Paul, an apostle and minister of the gospel. Timothy became a disciple of Jesus early in life and continued to grow in his usefulness for Christ by being willing to sacrificially serve Him. Again, God can and will use anyone willing to follow the truth to serve Him. Since He can radically change even those who are antagonistic such as Saul, and He can easily use those who are already favorable such as Timothy, He can certainly do the same with you. The question is not one of God’s ability but your willingness to follow the Lord, for that desire and faithfulness are all that it actually takes to become a hero of the faith. He may not send you to foreign places as He did with Paul and Timothy, then again, He might. The issue is whether you are willing to be and do what the Lord wants and go where He wants? Are you willing to make the needed personal sacrifices in following the Lord as did Paul and Timothy? It always begins by doing that where you are right now. Remember, Timothy was recommended to Paul because he was already demonstrating those godly character qualities.

The Saints at Colossae

Our text states that Paul and Timothy were writing “to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae.” Where is this place? What was it like there? How did these people become disciples of Jesus?

Its Location. The city of Colossae was located on the river Lycos in the Phyrigian region of the province of Asia in Asia Minor, modern day Turkey. It was about 100 miles east of Ephesus. The Lycos valley was a flourishing agricultural community known for its figs and olives. Colossae itself was known for its wool industry and especially the dark red dye used to color their products. It had been a large, wealthy and populous city, though by the time Paul wrote, it had been surpassed by the neighboring cities of Hierapolis and Laodicea.

 

Its Heritage. The people of that area were a mixture of the native Phrygian people along with Greek settlers and a large Jewish population that Antiochus II had resettled there in the second century B.C. The Phrygian and Greeks would have been pagan worshipers of the various gods and goddesses of the Greek / Roman pantheon. Based on the size of a temple tax collected among the Jews at about the same time as this letter to the Colossians, there were about 11,000 Jewish men plus their wives and children living in the Laodician area alone that were faithful in still following their heritage.

Its Church. As was the case in many of the other cities of Asia Minor,a church was founded there among this mixture of people and religions. Though Paul may have passed nearby or even through Colossae on his second and third missionary journeys since the city is near the main travel route to Ephesus,there is no record of him planting a church there or even of stopping. In Colossians 2:1 Paul speaks of the many there that had “not personally seen my face.” In addition, Paul states in Colossians 1:7 that they had learned the gospel from Epaphras who was from Colossae (Colossians 4:12). We know that Paul had taught for two years in Ephesus and that from there the gospel went out “so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord,both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:10). Among the churches planted during that time were those in Colossae, Laodicea and Hierapolis.

The church there may have been largely Gentile, or the contention between Jew and Gentile may not have been great as it was in other areas since Paul makes little reference to those issues and instead concentrates on vices a little more common to Gentile paganism. However, there were some Jews in the congregation since Paul does make references to the Sabbath and to spiritual circumcision and uncircumcision which would not have made sense to them without Jewish influence (see 2:16; 3:11-13 & 4:11).

The English translations lead to some confusion about to whom Paul was writing to since some of them make it appear as if Paul is writing to two groups. The Greek is clear by its usage of only one article that Paul is writing to only one group of people that he designates by two descriptions. A strict translation of the Greek would be something like, “to those in Colossae,Saints and faithful brethren in Christ.”

Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theology have perverted the term “saint” to refer to “a person whose holiness has been attested by miracles after his death and who has been officially recognized (canonized) by the church as worthy of veneration and to receive intercession.” The idea of veneration and receiving intercession is to give such “saints” honor in a form that can approach worship and pray to them with the expectation that they can intervene on your behalf and help you. That is heresy for such veneration and prayers belong to God alone.

Throughout the Scriptures the term “saint” is a designation of the holy ones that follow God. They are the ones that are separated from the world and unto God. All those who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ’s atonement for sin are saints. All true Christians are saints which is why Paul commonly uses the term in addressing his salutation in his letters.

Paul adds the designation “faithful brethren in Christ” in this letter to further define exactly whom he was writing. Only those that are believing,steadfast fellow children of God in Christ are true saints. That designation would become more clear in the letter as Paul addressed the heretical beliefs and practices of some of those that falsely claimed to be brethren. You must have the correct Messiah and you must have the correct faith in Him in order to be a saint and one of the brethren within Jesus’ church.

Paul’s Greeting

Paul’s greeting to them, of “Grace to you and peace from God our Father,” is his common salutation of blessing in all of his letters and the expression of His desire for God’s kindness to be upon them. Grace is being extended favor which you do not deserve, and peace is not so much the absence of conflict but the tranquility that comes from two hearts and minds that are agreed. Such grace and peace can only come from God our Father because He is the one that has extended His grace to us in Jesus Christ to pay the penalty of our sins so that we can be reconciled with Him and have peace. We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are to stand firm in God’s grace (1 Peter 5:12),and we are to extend that grace to others even as Paul does here (see also Ephesians 4:29). Because we have peace with God (Romans 5:1), we are also to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) entreating others to be reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:20).

The Theme of Colossians

What is Paul’s purpose in writing this letter? Paul had not planted the church or even been there personally, but he did have a great concern for those churches in that area (2:1). This probably arose from the fact that they were started by those he had taught (Acts 19:10) and from what Epaphras, who was from Colossae, had told him about his own deep concerns for the church there (1:7-8; 4:12-13). Since Paul was already sending letters to the churches in Philippi and Ephesus as well as a personal letter to Philemon who lived in Colossae, it was well timed for him to send a letter to the church there as well to address these concerns. We might think this would not be important, but there was not a mail service such as we have today. To send a letter then, you had to find someone you trusted traveling to where you wanted to send the letter. Paul’s co-laborer, Tychicus,would carry the letter and accompany Onesimus back to Philemon.

Paul’s goal, as stated in 1:28, was to “present every man complete in Christ.” That could not be done as long as they were afflicted with the heretical teachings and practices that had arisen. Examination of Paul’s corrections throughout the letter reveal those heresies to be a Jewish asceticism, which was similar to the teachings and practices of the Essenes,that was mixed with early elements of the gnosticism that arose from Greek philosophy.

Jewish asceticism was legalistic in nature stressing self denial and rough treatment of the flesh as seen in their decrees listed in 2:21 of “do not handle, do not taste, to not touch!” Asceticism is built off the idea that denial of fleshly desires will result in a greater spirituality. Asceticism is still a common practice in many false religions, cults and even some Christian sects. This one was Jewish in nature because it embraced the restrictions of the Mosaic law and then went beyond them in the effort to be spiritual. In Colossians 2:16 Paul also addressed their strict adherence to dietary restrictions and regard for particular days for they judged others who did not regard food, drink, festivals, new moons and Sabbaths the same way that they did. And from Paul’s statements in 2:11, it appears they also held that circumcision was necessary. Paul corrects their error in all these areas.

There were many different Greek philosophies, but a common idea among them was that philosophy was superior to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That was a reason for the rejection of Paul’s message in Acts 17 by all but a few. It was out of this arrogant claim to have superior knowledge that Gnosticism began to arise at the end of the first century and became well developed in the second century. Much of First John is directed at gnostic thought, but the early elements are found here in Colossians. One of those ideas was that the spirit is good, but matter is evil, this resulted in the denial of both the humanity of Christ and His deity. They thought Him to be instead something akin to the angels which were lesser emanations of the divine being. This is the reason for worship of angels who were thought to help humans overcome evil. Paul therefore stresses the physical humanity of Jesus as well as His deity (2:9) and sufficiency for salvation (2:10-15). Jesus reconciled us to God “in His fleshy body through death” (1:22). “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (2:9). “In Him you have been made complete . . . He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions . . . He disarmed the rulers and authorities . . . having triumphed over them through Him” (2:10, 13, 15).

The key to correction of all of these heretical beliefs was emphasizing the superiority of Jesus Christ to every human system. Paul could then call on those claiming to be Jesus’ followers to live accordingly. For this reason the letter has two major sections. Chapters 1 & 2 stress the pre-eminence of Jesus while chapters 3 & 4 stress the resulting position and practice of the believer. A full outline is as follows:

I. Preeminence of Christ (Chapters 1 & 2)

A. Introduction (1:1-14)

1. Greeting (1:1-2)

2. Thanksgiving (1:3-8)

3. Prayer (1:9-14)

B. The Preeminence of Christ (1:15-2:3)

1. In Creation (1:15-17)

2. In the Church (1:18)

3. In Redemption (1:19-23)

4. In His minister – Paul (1:24-2:7)

C. The Power of Christ (2:8-23)

1. Over Philosophy (2:8-10)

2. In Redemption (2:11-15)

3. Over Legalism (2:16-17)

4. Over Mysticism (2:18-19)

5. Over Asceticism (2:20-23)

II. Position & Practice of the Believer (Chapters 3 & 4)

A. Position of the Believer (3:1-4)

B. Practice of the Believer (3:5-

1. Putting off Vices (3:5-11)

2. Putting on Virtues (3:12-17)

3. Personal Relationships (3:18-4:1)

a. Family (3:18-21)

b. Slaves & Masters (3:11-4:1)

4. Prayer (4:2-4)

5. Public Conduct (4:5-6)

C. Personal Notes (4:7-18)

1. Paul’s Messengers (4:7-9)

2. Paul’s Co-workers (4:10-14)

3. Paul’s Instructions (4:15-18)

Conclusions

In our study of this book we will be exalting our Lord Jesus Christ over every human religious and philosophical system, and then we will be learning and exhorting one another to live in a manner worthy of our calling as mature believers who are complete in Christ. There are no other more worthy goals than those two, and living for Christ also exalts Him. We can follow the example of Paul and Timothy and find ourselves as blessings to others as God uses us for His eternal purposes.

KIDS CORNER

Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Write down all the verses mentioned. 2) Count how many times “Paul” is mentioned. 3) Talk with your parents about Paul & Timothy’s example of being used by God.

THINK ABOUT IT!

Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. How do we know that Paul is the author of the letter to the Colossians? Trace the life of Paul from his persecution of the church through his Roman imprisonment when he wrote this letter. How was Saul the persecutor converted into Paul the apostle? What is an “apostle” and why is it important that Paul designated himself to the Colossians with that title? How did Paul become an apostle and how do we know that he actually was one? Trace Timothy’s life starting with his first meeting Paul in Acts 16. How old might he have been then? What is the significance of Paul calling Timothy “our brother” in verse 1? What other terms did Paul use to refer to Timothy? What were some of the responsibilities that Paul placed on Timothy during the course of their ministry together? What were some of Timothy’s weaknesses and how did he overcome them? Are you willing to follow Paul and Timothy’s example to be and do what the Lord wants? Where was Colossae and what was it like? What kind of people lived in the area? How did a church get started there? What is wrong with the Roman Catholic idea of being a saint? What is a saint according to the Bible? What is the relationship between being a saint and being a faithful brother in Christ? What is the significance of Paul’s greeting? How are we to show God’s grace and peace in our lives? Why was Paul concerned about the church in Colossae? What was necessary to send a letter during that time? What did Paul say was his goal in writing to them? What elements of Jewish asceticism did Paul need to correct? What elements of Greek philosophy (early gnostic thought) did Paul need to correct? How did he correct those heretical beliefs? How did he correct their heretical practices? Why is the supremacy of Jesus Christ so important?

 

Sermon Notes – 7/18/2010

Introduction to Colossians – 1:1-2

Introduction

Colossians is packed with a lot of theological ________ and practical applications in living for Christ

Paulan apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God

The author identifies himself as _______; the historical witness is this is Paul; its content matches Paul

He was _______, a persecutor of the church (Acts 7,8),until converted on the road to Damascus (Acts 9)

Saul’s conversion is ___________- Acts 26:14-18. He is commissioned to preach the gospel & does so

Jesus personally made him an ______and His life demonstrated it (1 Cor. 9:1-2; 2 Cor. 11-12; Gal. 1:11-12)

Timothy our brother

Timothy is Paul’s co-laborer. He is referred to _________times in Colossians (1:1, 4, 8, 9, 14, 28; 4:3)

Paul also refers to Timothy in ___________, 1 & 2 Cor. Phil., 1 & 2 Thess. & Philemon

Paul has great respect for Timothy who was much younger and even called him “_____” three times

He was converted by his ___________ teaching and was commended by those in Lystra /Derbe (Acts 16)

Timothy travels with Paul on the _______________ missionary journeys (Acts 16-20)

Timothy was a great asset to Paul, often being sent as his ________________(1 Cor. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:3, etc.)

Timothy ______________his weaknesses and became a blessing to many churches and people

God can use ____________willing to follow the truth and serve Him

The Saints at Colossae – “to those in Colossae, Saints and faithful brethren in Christ.”

Colossae was located on the river Lycos in the Phyrigian region of the province of Asia in Asia Minor

Its population was a mixture of native Phrygian people, Greek settlers and ______that had been resettled

The church was started by _________who probably learned from Paul when he was in Ephesus (Acts 19)

The church was a ________of Jewish and Gentile converts with little or no ethnic tension between them

The Roman Catholic / Eastern Orthodox practice making certain people special “saints” is ___________

Saints are all holy people who follow the Lord – everyone ___________ by Jesus from their sins.

Only those that are believing, steadfast fellow children of God in Christ are ________________

Paul’s Greeting“Grace to you and peace from God our Father”

Paul’s common salutation of ___________- this grace & peace can only come from God our Father

We are saved by ________(Eph. 2:8), are to stand firm in it (1 Pet. 5:12) and extend it to others (Eph. 4:29)

We have God’s _____(Rom. 5:1), become peacemakers (Matt. 5:9) reconciling others to God (2 Cor. 5:20)

The Theme of Colossians

Paul was ___________about the church in Colossae and had Tychicus carry an additional letter to them.

Paul’s goal, as stated in 1:28, was to “present every man ____________ in Christ.”

Paul had to correct a form of ___________ legalism and asceticism – 2:11; 16 & 21

Paul had to correct an early form of Gnosticism that was rising out of Greek ___________ – 1:22; 2:9-15

Paul corrected these heretical beliefs by showing the _____________of Jesus over every human system

Paul corrected their practices by calling believers to live _____________ to their calling

Outline of Colossians

I. Preeminence of Christ (Ch. 1 & 2)

A. Introduction (1:1-14)

1. Greeting (1:1-2)

2. Thanksgiving (1:3-8)

3. Prayer (1:9-14)

B. The Preeminence of Christ (1:15-2:3)

1. In Creation (1:15-17)

2. In the Church (1:18)

3. In Redemption (1:19-23)

          4. In His minister – Paul (1:24-2:7)

C. The Power of Christ (2:8-23)

1. Over Philosophy (2:8-10)

2. In Redemption (2:11-15)

3. Over Legalism (2:16-17)

4. Over Mysticism (2:18-19)

5. Over Asceticism (2:20-23)

II. Position & Practice of the Believer (Ch. 3 & 4)

A. Position of the Believer (3:1-4)

B. Practice of the Believer (3:5-4:6

1. Putting off Vices (3:5-11)

2. Putting on Virtues (3:12-17)

3. Personal Relationships (3:18-4:1)

a. Family (3:18-21)

b. Slaves & Masters (3:11-4:1)

4. Prayer (4:2-4)

5. Public Conduct (4:5-6)

C. Personal Notes (4:7-18)

1. Paul’s Messengers (4:7-9)

2. Paul’s Co-workers (4:10-14)

3. Paul’s Instructions (4:15-18)

Our study will ________ the Lord over every human religions and philosophical system

We learn and exhort one another to live as mature believers complete in Christ.

We can follow the example of Paul & Timothy to be __________to others as God uses us for His glory

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