Living in Grace and Faith – Romans 1:5-13 – Week 2

Living in Grace and Faith

Romans 1:5-13

Week 2

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we explore Romans Chapter 1, verses 5-13, and progress deeper into Paul’s lengthy introduction to the Church at Rome whom he had never met. In the introduction in the last Session, we spent most of the time defining the context, the occasion, the history and the culture of the Church at Rome. In effort to save time, we will pick up the text in verse 5 and begin.

In verses 5-13, we see the following movements in the text.

1 – Grace empowers our ministries.

2 – Faith must produce transformation in our lives.

3 – We are loved and set apart as God’s people.

4 – The faith reputation of the Church at Rome was widely known.

5 – Pure ministry proceeds from being aligned with Christ.

6 – Spiritual gifts can be imparted to others.

7 – We should expect a spiritual harvest in our ministries.

Romans 1:5

a) In Paul’s introduction, he introduced himself as a servant of Christ first and then an apostle who was set apart for the Gospel. As we mentioned last week, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the narrative of how God worked salvation for humanity through His Covenants, through the prophets and revealed and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. We preach the Gospel today through the Word with demonstrations of power that prove the Word. Now in verse 5, Paul tells the Church in Rome the purpose of his apostolic ministry, which is to call the Gentiles to the obedience in the faith.

b) Notice that Paul mentions grace before his apostolic ministry. This shows us that all our ministries begin by receiving grace from God. Grace is not only unmerited favor from God, but grace is empowerment from God to be able to things for Him that we could not do in our own strength.

c) The mission or purpose of Paul’s ministry was to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom with the fruit being obedience to Christ in the people who received the Gospel. See Luke 6:46-49. d) Faith in Christ must produce change in us, considering who we are in relationship with through faith, God.

Romans 1:6-7

a) Paul encourages this church by including them in God’s family. When we consider being called to belong to Christ, we should see understand this in the context of the Omniscience and Omnipresence of God, who knows beginning from end. God knows those who will receive Him and those who do not choose Him. God desires all to know Him, and God knows who will choose Him, the called. 2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

b) Notice that we are loved by God. Greek – Loved – Agapētos – beloved, esteemed, dear, favorite, worthy of love.

c) Called to be God’s holy people, or people set apart for God. Many people focus on spiritual identities, like son, but avoid identities like disciple or holy people. d) Grace and peace – Grace will always proceed peace. When we find grace from God, our hearts become settled and we live in peace with Him and in Him. Peace in our lives is an evidence and an assurance of faith.

Romans 1:8

a) In our introduction, we learned that the Church of Rome had been started organically from Christians all over the Empire who first heard Peter’s message at Pentecost (Acts 2), and then by others who traveled to Rome from the east. Many of them would have been touched by Paul’s ministry, and as Paul equipped and released spiritual sons and daughters they ran with the Gospel and built the Church in Rome. This Church was perhaps the most diverse Body of Christ in the early apostolic era. They had been thriving for 20-25 years before they were touched by Paul or Peter’s ministry.

b) The Church at Rome had such an impact that their faith in Christ was known throughout the Roman Empire. Also note that Paul used the Greek word kosmos here for world indicating that they were known in the natural order, but also making impact spiritually as well. This Church suffered the first persecutions of the Empire at the hands of Nero, who was nicknamed the Beast, and their history is full of bravery, martyrdom and boldness in Christ. Archeologists believe that there were approximately 500,000 Christians martyred in Rome throughout the first 400 years of the Church.

Romans 1:9-10

a) Notice that Paul says that he serves God in his spirit, and not soul. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 – May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Humanity is a 3 part being, spirit, soul and body. When we come to Christ our spirit is made alive and should be the lead of our soul (thoughts and emotions) and our body (the expression of thoughts and emotions). Pure ministry is that which is influenced by the Holy Spirit, on our spirit, shaping the will, mind and emotions and expressed in our body. Ministry originating in the soul is devoid of purity and often expresses itself in religious posturing and works of man.

b) Paul prays for them without ceasing or “without an intermission”. We see the power of intercession in prospering and advancing God’s agenda in the world through the vehicle of prayer. Charles Spurgeon – “No wonder that they prospered so well when Paul always made mention of them in his prayers. Some churches would prosper better if some of you remembered them more in prayer.”

c) Notice that Paul is asking for God’s will and not his own. Paul did see this Church, but not on his terms, but under Roman custody as he waited an appeal
trial before Nero. See Acts 28:30.

Romans 1:11-12

a) Notice that spiritual gifts strengthen the Church. In 1 Corinthians 12:7, Paul says that spiritual gifts are for the common good of the Church. Spiritual gifts are the avenue by which God activates His people to serve one another, creating dependence and unity in His Church. These are supernatural abilities that are graces from God to enable to serve one another in powerful expressions. There are 20 spiritual gifts listed in Scripture. Notice that impartation is a method of transference.

b) Romans 12:6-8 – We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
1 – Prophecy

2 – Service

3 – Teaching

4 – Encouragement/Exhortation – stimulating faith, stirring up faith

5 – Giving – supernaturally empowered generosity (not obedient generosity required by every believer)

6 – Leadership – spiritual authority to lead others/supernatural leadership (may be expressed in the marketplace or the Church)

7 – Mercy

c) 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 & 28 (not repeating any gift previously mentioned in Romans)

8 – Wisdom

9 – Knowledge

10 – Faith

11 – Healing

12 – Miracles

13 – Discerning of spirits

14 – Tongues

15 – Interpretation of Tongues

16 – Apostle

17 – Helps

18 – Administration

d) Ephesians 4:11 – So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, (not repeating any gift previously mentioned in Romans or Corinthians)

19 – Evangelist

20 – Pastor

Romans 1:13

a) Paul wanted the Romans to know that he was concerned, loved them and
desired to see them. Paul modeled a mature expression of apostolic fatherhood.

b) Paul wanted to see a spiritual harvest in Rome. Spiritual harvest is the focus when we consider the mission of the Church. See Matthew 28:18-20.

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Living in Faith and Grace – Romans – Introduction – Week 1

Living in Grace and Faith

Introduction to Romans Week 1

Rob Covell

Introduction –
Author: The Apostle Paul – Scholars and Church historians have universal agreement that Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans There are many ancient Greek manuscripts entitled with headers that read, “the epistle to the Romans was written by Tertius and was sent by Phoebus from the Corinthians of the church in Cenchreae”. Tertius was the amanuensis (scribe) who wrote as Paul dictated and Phoebe was the female deacon who delivered this epistle to the Roman church See Romans 16. The date for this letter is approximately winter of AD56AD57.

Occasion: Paul wrote this letter to the Roman church as he spent the winter in Corinth just after the riot in Ephesus. The backdrop of the letter to the Romans is Acts 19 through Acts 20:1-2. Priscilla and Aquila had left Ephesus for Rome and Paul had a desire to travel to Jerusalem and bring a gift from the Gentile churches in Greece and the Roman Province of Asia, to the mother church in Jerusalem. From there Paul planned to visit the church in Rome and encourage them on his way to Spain.

From the Acts narrative we know that Paul did go to Rome not as a free man but was arrested in Jerusalem (Acts 21) and traveled to Rome under Roman custody as he waited his appeal trial before Caesar Nero. It is a Church History mystery if Paul ever made it to Spain.

The church in Rome began in the early First Century by Christians who traveled from the east and established Christian communities in Rome. Christianity’s start in Rome was very organic. The first believers in Rome were Jews who traveled to Jerusalem for Pentecost and witnessed the outpouring of the Spirit, they responded to Peter’s message to receive Jesus as Messiah, and then returned to Rome and started the first Christian communities. See Acts 2. Eventually Paul’s ministry throughout the Roman Province of Asia, Macedonia and Greece brought a harvest of Gentile believers from the merchant class, who traveled to Rome to trade and settle there. The church in Rome was a multi-cultural mix of Jews and Gentiles of all social economic spheres of society. Rome being the capitol of the Roman Empire was the intersection point for the people groups and cultures that lived in the Empire, and the Church in Rome reflected this demographic. This is what made the Roman Church unique in its founding and rapid growth, without the early influence of the apostles Paul and Peter. Their influence came to the Church in Rome approximately 20-25 years after its founding.

Since the church in Rome was made up of a social economic, multi-cultural mix of Christians from all over the Empire; they would have been familiar with Paul’s
apostolic ministry because they may have heard about him or may have been equipped and released by Paul in Ephesus, Corinth or any of the other city churches he founded. As Paul planned to visit them, he wanted to write the letter to the Romans as a clear introduction and explanation of what Christians should believe (doctrine), how they should live and how they should relate to one another. Paul had heard about the Roman Church from others like Priscilla and Aquila, so he knew their challenges as a Church Body in Rome. These challenges would have been divisions between Jews and Gentiles, matters of the Jewish Law versus the New Covenant, matters of morality and purity, and understanding the atonement that Jesus made for sins on the cross.

Romans is the most detailed and precise outline of apostolic theology and doctrine of any of Paul’s letters, or even any of the other apostolic letters from Peter, James, Jude, or John. The letter to the Romans was prized by the Early Church and there were many copies distributed throughout the Early Church age minus the personal addresses of Romans 16. The Early Church Father, Clement of Rome, wrote his Epistle of Clement to the Corinthian Church in AD96 and quoted Romans so much so, that scholars believe that Clement may have memorized Romans. The early Christian symbol of the anchor that adorns many of the early graves in the Roman catacombs comes from Clement being drowned by being tied to anchor and the Hebrews 6:19 verse.

Lastly, the letter to the Romans has inspired more revival and reformation in Church History than any other apostolic letter in the Scriptures. The great African Theologian Augustine (“take up and read”) was brought to faith by this letter as he read Romans 13:13-14, Martin Luther was born again by reading Romans 1:17 and meditating on its truth, Charles Wesley was born again in a small Bible Study while they were reading Martin Luther’s commentary on Romans. Augustine, Luther and Wesley describe their experiences in ways that Charismatics would call supernatural Holy Spirit encounters. We could say the letter to the Romans has brought the most impact that shaped Church History and Christian Theology than any other New Testament Epistle.

Brief Outline of Romans

1) Humanity’s fall from Edenic perfection explained

2) The frustration of the Law’s inability to transform humanity

3) God’s righteous judgment contrasted to God’s mercy, grace and love for humanity in Christ

4) Justification before God comes from faith

5) The life of the flesh versus the glory of a new creation life in Christ

6) Israel’s unbelief explained and the grace of God grafting Gentiles into Israel

7) Personal morality, integrity and Christian conduct in the world

8) Christian tolerance between Jewish brothers and sisters and Gentile brothers and sisters

9) Paul’s personal plans to visit the Roman Church

10) Paul’s commission of Phoebe as she delivered the Roman epistle, and personal
greetings from Paul for the Roman Church to receive and honor various Christian leaders

Romans 1:1

a) It is important to look at how Paul self-identifies himself to the Church at Rome because it gives us a revelation of his heart. How we self-identify reveals the condition of our hearts.

b) Servant – Greek – doulos – bondservant/slave, one who has been purchased for service to the one who bought them, metaph., one who gives himself up to another’s will, those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men, devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests. Paul first identifies as a person who has been ransomed by Christ, his heart being conquered by Christ, and his life being spent on Christ.

c) Called to be an apostle – Greek – klētos apostolos – divinely invited to be an emissary for God, a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders. Paul lived his life from a clear vision and purpose. One of the things we should expect as Christians is a sense of purpose, vision and realization that our lives impact others.

d) Set apart – Greek – aphorizō – to mark off from others by boundaries, to limit, to separate, in a good sense: to appoint, set apart for some purpose. Interestingly, this Greek word is the root word for Pharisee. Many scholars believe that Paul was alluding to his Pharisee background so that his words would carry weight to the Jewish brothers and sisters who were dividing from Gentiles. Paul, having been a former student of Gamaliel would have had tremendous influence on Jewish believers in Messiah.

e) Paul was set apart for the Gospel – The gospel is the salvation narrative that God used to lead people back to relationship with Him. It is a narrative of Covenants that promise and reveal a Messiah, Jesus, who would crush satan’s head, save, heal and deliver humanity from the effects and judgment of sin, and restore Edenic eternal life back to humanity. It is both the power of God’s Word and the display of spiritual power manifested in the natural realm that proves the message.

Romans 1:2-4

a) Paul presents the Gospel of Christ – our Christian message of salvation, healing, forgiveness and restoration as the fulfillment of God’s promises to humanity in the Old Covenant Scriptures. They all pointed to Christ who fulfilled their promises and fulfilled the Law as True Son, a Second Adam who obeyed God perfectly and restored the dominion to humanity that satan usurped.

b) A descendant of David – The genealogy of Jesus qualifies Him to have fulfilled God’s promise to David that he would have a descendant who would sit on his throne and rule eternally.

c) The resurrection of Christ proved His claims of being God’s Son and proved that Jesus was an acceptable sacrifice for the sins of humanity.

d) Jesus Christ our Lord – Greek – kyrios – he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord, the owner; one who has control of the person, the master, in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor, is a title of honor expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master, the title given to God in the Septuagint.

e) It is important to note that Paul called Jesus “our Lord”. Paul uses this title in the context of the overarching authority of Jesus, and in the context of His Divinity. Kyrios was a proper title for a sovereign; considering that, all of us who follow Christ, follow Him in the context of Jesus being our King, the ruler of our soul, the authority of our lives and the one we have willfully surrendered to.

Crowning Him King – Colossians 3:22 – Week 11

Crowning Him King

Colossians 3:22-4:1-6

Week 11

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will conclude our study of Colossians and explore Colossians Chapter 3:22-25 and Colossians Chapter 4:1-6. In these verses Paul continues his exhortation to the Colossian Church regarding their interpersonal relationships, and in Chapter 4, Paul stresses the importance of prayer as the vehicle by which we influence the reality that we live in through our relationship with God, by appealing to His goodness, power and authority.

It is important that we understand Colossians 3:22-25, and 4:1 in the context of the Roman socioeconomic structure that existed in the First Century. Paul brings an exhortation to those Christians who are under the bondage of slavery, and how they should conduct their lives in the context of an evil societal structure. In no way is Paul endorsing the injustice bond-servanthood, and human labor trafficking. Sadly, there have been some Christian teachers in Church history that have used texts like these to defend the evil institution of African slavery in Britain and the United States. I will expound more as we get into the text. However, it is also very important that it to mention that just as Christians defended evil through twisting of the Scriptures and ignorance of the Roman economic history; it was Christians began the anti-slavery abolitionist movements and succeeded in their mission to end it in the Western world. True social justice movements belong to believers in Christ, because we know the One who Just and True, the Lord Jesus Christ.

We see the following movements in the text:

1 – Paul’s exhortations to those Christians who were under the yoke of Roman slavery.

2 – Paul’s exhortations to Roman Christian slave owners.

3 – The power of prayer for advancing Christ in the world around us.

4 – The power of our actions and words as we relate to people who do not know Christ.

Colossians 3:22

a) The first thing we need to establish is that Paul in no way is condoning slavery of any kind. For us to properly understand these verses, we must first understand the ancient Roman economy and Empire. The Roman economy was built on the backs of slavery and 40% of the Roman Empire were slaves. Roman slavery was not racial in nature but was fueled by the conquest of the Roman Empire. Roman slavery was very different from the Institutional slavery of America or Britain. Roman slavery looked more like indentured servitude. There were very educated slaves who served in education, there were slaves that served in banking, there were slaves that served in very area of economy and service to society. Roman slaves could own land, accumulate wealth, and often would arrange payment for their freedom or services rendered by their owners. Male slaves did have some limited civil rights and protections under Roman Law. Slaves that obtained
freedom were a class within Roman society called “libertini”. Though this is still an evil oppressive economic foundation, is vastly different from the very evil Western slavery of the U.S., Europe and Britain. See Revelation 18:11-13 aptly describes Scripture’s condemnation of this institution and prophesies its end.

b) The next thing we should look at, is what other things did Paul say about Roman slavery. 1 – 1 Timothy 6:1, Paul calls slavery a yoke. 2 – Ephesians 6:9 and Colossians 4:1, Paul warns masters that they are accountable to God for their participation in Roman slavery. 3 – Philemon verse 15, Paul appeals to Philemon to free Onesimus (a Colossian slave – see Colossians 4:9) and relate to him as a fellow man and brother in Christ. 4 – 1 Corinthians 7:21, Paul encourages believers to buy their freedom, so they can prosper the faith.

c) Paul describes our relationship to Christ as slaves/bondservants who have been bought by the price of His blood and uses the Roman slave to master relationship as a metaphor to describe the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives. See Romans 6:6. Paul also uses the Roman slave metaphor to describe our bondage to sin and our freedom in Christ, being set free from sin, but slaves to His righteousness. See Romans 6:16.

d) We can appropriate these Scriptures and frame them in the context of our modern world and apply them to our interpersonal relationships with our employers. In verse 22, we should ask ourselves the following questions; 1 – Are we obedient employees who benefit our employers? 2 – Are we seeking favor from our employer by maintaining integrity in all things, or only when they are present in the workplace? 3 – Are we sincerely benevolent employees because our work is a testimony that speaks of the Nature and Character of the God we serve?

Colossians 3:23

a) Our identities in Christ always transcend our reality. Paul called himself a prisoner of the Lord, not a prisoner of Rome, though he was writing Colossians while being chained and incarcerated by Rome. See Galatians 3:28.

b) Our quality of work in the marketplace reflects our relationship with Jesus Christ. Our employment is an avenue of God’s provision in our lives. Our work ethic proves our heart. Are we working for God or for men?

Colossians 3:24

a) Our workplace performance has eternal weight and glory. We accumulate eternal rewards by serving the Lord well in our workplace. There is great power in our daily decisions that builds momentum that fulfills destinies and activates callings. Most of the great lessons of serving others, taking responsibility for our actions and learning leadership skills all come from the marketplace.

b) Genesis 2:15 – The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. – The Lord designed work because it mimics His eternal qualities of creativity, care and abundance.

Colossians 3:25

a) All of us will have to give the Lord an account for the course of our lives. 2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

b) What we sow in life, we reap in life. Galatians 6:7-9 – Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Colossians 4:1

a) The master or employer relationship to those under their influence will ultimately be judged by God. This is a warning to all of those who employ people to relate to them in fair and equitable ways. Knowing that prosperity always follows generosity, Christian employers should take note that blessing people is an avenue that activates God’s favor and abundance in their companies. The most prosperous companies in the United States are those who have generous salary and benefits packages.

Colossians 4:2-4

a) Devote – Greek – proskartereō – to adhere to one, be his adherent, to be devoted or constant to one, to be steadfastly attentive, to continue all the time in a place, to persevere and not faint, to be courageous in, to be constantly ready.

b) Prayer – Greek – proseuchē – prayer, offering to God, worship, a place of prayer/sacred space.

c) Watchfulness (metaphor for being cautious and active) and thankfulness are postures in prayer that move heaven and release heaven’s rule and reign on the earth.

d) The focus of Paul’s personal prayer request is for advancing the kingdom on earth and that Paul remains faithful to his call and mission as an apostle. Paul viewed his chains not as a hinderance, but that his suffering for Christ was part of destiny in Christ. Acts 9:15-16 was Paul’s personal prophetic word that prophesied his faithful service and suffering for the cause of Christ.

Colossians 4:5-6

a) The way we carry ourselves, and course of conduct influences the way people perceive and understand our faith. St Francis of Assisi – “It is no use walking anywhere to preach, unless our walking is our preaching”.

b) Our conversations reveal the conditions of our hearts. Jesus said, “for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart”, in Luke 6:45. Speaking to people with a heart of grace often gives us the opportunity to share Christ and His wisdom to others. “Seasoned with salt” is a cultural play on words that speaks of the preserving effect of the Christian message on a society and goodness that godly wisdom brings to peoples lives.

In concluding Colossians, I want to point out some important points as we end this amazing Epistle.

1 – Tychicus and Onesimus delivered this Epistle and read it out loud in the Church in Colossae, they also delivered a letter to the Ephesians and a letter to the Laodicean Church that we do not have. Many scholars believe that this “lost letter” may be the Epistle to the Ephesians.

2 – There was a female pastor in Laodicea.

3 – Just as Archippus (master of the horse) needed to take his ministry and calling seriously, we need to as well.

4 – We should receive the apostolic blessing of Paul, “grace be with you”. Grace is receiving that which we do not deserve, but also the empowering of God to do things we could not do on our own.

Crowning Him King – Colossians 3:15-21 – Week 10

Crowning Him King

Colossians 3:15-21

Week 10

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will continue in Colossians Chapter 3, and explore verses 15-21. There is so much depth to this section of text, that we will slow down and exegete in a way that draws out the nuanced truth contained in these verses.
In this section of Scripture, Paul has concluded his direct assault on the Colossian Heresy from the false teachers, and the spirit of religion, and now shifts his attention to building up interpersonal relationships in the Church, and in the family. Later in Colossians 3 and into Colossians 4, Paul deals with interpersonal relationships in the marketplace and society.

In Colossians 3:15-21 we see the following movements in the text.

1 – The transforming power of peace that can be accessed in a believer’s life.

2 – Carrying the message of Christ builds healthy lives, healed churches and healed nations.

3 – Thankfulness towards God builds contentment, peace, love and praise in our lives.

4 – Godly order in the family unit is a set up for societal success.

Colossians 3:15

a) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts – The peace of Christ is a holistic peace and comprehensive peace. It is a progressive peace that when yielded to, will release tremendous grace in our lives. It is a progressive peace in the following ways. 1 – Through Christ we have peace with the Father. 2 – Through Christ we have peace in ourselves, i.e. mental peace, health and a new innernature. 3 – We have peace with those around us because we live from the peace we experience in Christ and extend it to those around us. We have peace with those around us because their actions do not influence our hearts or the set direction of our hearts. 4 – We have peace with each other in our fellowships because we carry and manifest the Kingdom of God on the earth. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, so peace and love are present when the Lord is honored. 5 – We have national peace when the mass sum of Christians influence and begin to disciple the nation they live in through godliness being present in their lives.

b) Peace – Greek – eirēnē – a state of national tranquility, exemption from the rage and havoc of war, peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord, security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous), of Messiah’s peace – salvation, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.

c) The Greek word is the equivalent of the Hebrew word, Shalom.

d) Notice it is an act of our will to choose peace and yield to the peace that Christ gives us.

e) Thankfulness is a key to building contentment, peace, trust and praise in our
lives. Thankfulness in the doorway to honoring God in all things. It shifts our minds from the influence of the corrupt realm we live and stays our minds on God’s ability to provide, protect, heal, and guide us.

Colossians 3:16

a) Having the right narrative regarding the message of Christ produces a healed lifestyle and healthy churches. We should note that the occasion for the Epistle to the Colossians was to correct false teaching and encourage the Colossian Church to overcome the attack from the spirit of religion and empower them to love Christ in the freedom of faith.

b) The message of Messiah is the Apostolic Gospel; saved by grace through faith in the cross of Christ for the forgiveness of sin; the demonstration of spiritual power that confirms the message; Christlike character being manifested in those who carry the message, the re-ordering of society that flows from Christian influence, and the commitment to the teaching of the apostles.

c) Dwell – Greek – enoikeō – to dwell in, metaph. to dwell in one and influence a person for the good.

d) Notice that the message of Christ is manifest in all the ministries of the Church; teaching, admonish/warn, worship, psalms/prayers, songs from the Spirit (prophetic spontaneous songs), all done in the spirit of gratitude towards God because of who He is and how He has loved us and what He has done for us.

Colossians 3:17

a) Earlier in Colossians 3:3-4, Paul taught God’s people that Christ is our life. If our lives are truly hidden in the nail wounds of the Lamb, then the course of our lives reflect our Father. Do we live our lives, in His Name?

Colossians 3:18

a) Paul gave a very similar exhortation to the Ephesian Church in Ephesians 5:2133. These are perhaps the most abused and misappropriated Scriptures in our faith. Let’s break verse 18 down in sections so that we can properly exegete it.

b) Paul in Galatians 3:28, Paul teaches spiritual equality in Christ for all people; male, female, and all people groups. This was truly a radical concept in the context of Roman society. So, we must look at the subject that Paul is addressing, which is interpersonal relationships in the context of marriage. Paul never taught that women were subjugated to men in Scripture.

c) The word submit in the Greek is a borrowed military word that describes order in rank and position. This exhortation pertains to godly order in a family. The requirement is that a wife only agrees to be led by a husband as “fitting” in the Lord. Anything in a relationship that is not fitting in the Lord, godly, pure, or reflective of Christ is not to be yielded to.

d) The husband sets the tone in the family and according to the measure of his Christlike nature, his wife will come in agreement. It is actually the husband’s responsibility to seek the Lord, manifest Jesus’ nature and character to the pint where the husband can be trusted.

e) Single women should be evaluating their potential marriage partner by measuring
them to 1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5:22-23. Ephesians 5:21-33 and this verse, Colossians 3:18.

Colossians 3:19

a) Husbands agapaō (verb) – to actively seek the best for the object of that love, to contend for the best, and be contented with the object of that love. This is living love in action that promotes the well being of the other. This is love that reflects Christ.

b) Do not be harsh/bitter – Greek – pikrainō – to make bitter, render angry, indignant, to be embittered, irritated, to visit with bitterness, and to grieve.

c) There is nothing that reflects masculinity better than a godly man, who can be trusted, who protects his family, who loves his family, who serves his church, works hard and serves his society. Men set the tone of society. A society is either safe or dangerous because of the actions of men.

Colossians 3:20

a) In Ephesians 6:1-3, Paul links obedience to parents with a promise in Scripture that we would enjoy a long and blessed like. See Deuteronomy 5:16. Obeying the godly wisdom of Christian parents is a set up for a life free from the pain of poor decisions, the affliction of sin and the devil, and a set up reaping a blessed life.

Colossians 3:21

a) Just as men set the tone of a marriage and society; men possess the power to either encourage or discourage their children. Greek – embitter – erethizō – to stir up, excite, stimulate, to provoke. How fathers relate to their children have consequences that guide the condition of their hearts.

b) Just as husbands are to love their wives like Christ loved His Church, we are to reflect the nature and character of God the Father; who is benevolent, kind, patient, a redemptive disciplinarian, a provider, a healer, a lover, a warrior/defender, a promise keeper, and a teacher.

Crowning Him King – Colossians 3:1-14 – Week 9

Crowning Him King

Colossians 3:1-14

Week 9

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will begin Colossians Chapter 3, and explore verses 1-14. In Colossians Chapter 3, Paul begins to build a contrast between the futility of the spirit of religion, which has no ability to restrain the flesh, versus the fruit of true regeneration by the Holy Spirit in overcoming the flesh in the lives of believers.

Colossians 2:23 – “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence”.

In Colossians 3:1-14 we see the following movements in the text.

1 – Our identities in Christ should govern the everyday course of our lives.

2 – Our sanctified minds are powerful for setting the trajectory of our lives.

3 – When we partner with the Spirit we possess the power of the will to destroy the works of the flesh in our lives.

4 – All Christians are one in Christ and should have no divisions.

5 – Love binds all Christians together and releases the unity of faith.

Colossians 3:1

a) Earlier in Colossians 2, Paul uses the prophetic symbolism circumcision and baptism to illustrate the reality of the New Creation identity of the believer. Knowing who we are in Christ is possibly the most powerful truths of the Christian faith, because it is at the core of what we believe to be true about God and ourselves. Identity colors every aspect of our faith and either leads into God or away from Him when we have a broken or marred vision of who we are and whose we are.

b) Notice that Paul shows us that what we set our hearts on governs our thoughts. “Set your hearts” – Greek – zēteō – to seek in order to find, to seek [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to enquire into, to crave something from someone, to demand something from someone. The use of this verb shows us that we can actively partner with the Lord to produce the fruit of faith in our lives.

c) Jesus said in Luke 6:45 – “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks”.

d) Notice that the object of our focus is the Person of Christ and where He is positionally as One who is ruling and reigning. Paul uses a cultural reference, “at the right hand of God” which emphasizes the authority of Jesus over all things.

Colossians 3:2

a) Our mindset determines our victory. If we are focused on things above, then we view our world through God’s eyes, offering God’s solutions and strategies to our
problems and the problems of the world around us.

Colossians 3:3-4

a) “For you died” – When we received Jesus our flesh, our rebellious carnal nature that opposes the things of the Spirit, is reckoned as dead, having been crucified with Him and having been raised with Him in a new creation resurrection life.

b) Jesus said in John 14:6 – “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.

c) Jesus is the Life, in Him we access a blessed life and, in the life, to come, eternal life.

d) It is amazing to think that we will share the same glory with Jesus at His second coming when our mortal bodies are raised from the grave.

Colossians 3:5

a) Because of who we are and the new creation life we have access to, our motivation should be to align to the will of God. Living from the heavenly nature frees us from bondage.

b) Notice that Paul classifies sins of the flesh as idolatry. Anything that sits on the throne of our hearts, that is not Christ is an idol that is competing for preeminence in our lives. Luke 6:46 – “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

Colossians 3:6-7

a) NASB – Colossians 3:6 – “For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience”. Notice the emphasis on identity; whose sons, are we? The sons of disobedience or the sons and daughters of God?

b) Paul softens the exhortation in verse 7 by pointing out that we all used to walk in the ways of the flesh at times in our lives. Paul knew this to be true in his own life. He was a Pharisee religionist, who carried a spirit of murder and persecution against the Church of Jesus Christ. But Jesus saved him and showed him extreme mercy. 1 Timothy 1:16 – But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

c) God has scandalous grace for those of us who are ready to change.

Colossians 3:8-10

a) Paul lands on this powerful truth; that we are renewed in Christ, in the image of our Maker, in our minds. We can understand this powerful truth in 2 ways; 1 – The possibility exists that we can partner with original design grace that God gave humanity in the Garden. 2 – From the renewed mind, we can re-color our lives and our world by thinking God thoughts about all things and acting on them.

Colossians 3:11

a) When we see Christ in everyone, then freedom, justice, equality and love are born. If we love Christ and recognize Christ in all believers, then we will love all
believers. Jesus established true social justice because every person needs Jesus for forgiveness of sins, comfort, love, grace and mercy.

b) The early church was truly a radical family of acceptance in the midst of First Century Roman society that was organized by defined lines of social status. Callistus, was a Roman slave and early church father who was bishop of Rome in the Second Century. He was martyred in Rome in AD221 for the faith. Church history says he was thrown off a wall in Rome. He was a grace teacher who was greatly criticized by other Church leaders for his acceptance of the worst sinners of Rome into the Church. He was known for his extreme kindness to people, in burying the dead in the catacombs, accepting outcasts and serving lowest people in Roman society. It was only in the Church, where a Roman slave could be the highest authority in Church leadership.

Colossians 3:12-13

a) We are God’s chosen people in the sense that we did not earn the affections of God, but that He chose us and loves us because He is good and loves the whole of humanity.

b) We are holy, meaning we have been set apart for His purposes. We are dearly loved because we have been reconciled to Him and are objects of His love.

c) Knowing that we have been shown compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience and forgiveness from God, empowers us to extend these to others around us. We can only give away to others what we have experienced in God.

Colossians 3:14

a) Similar to Paul’s charge to the Corinthian Church to live in love, Paul encourages the Colossian Church to find the unity of faith in love. When we consider that the Colossian Church was being challenged by the false teachers of the Colossian Heresy, and having been only established for approximately 8 years, Paul identifies agape as the force that empowers the Church to survive its interpersonal challenges.

b) Agape love, is that which contends for the highest purpose of the object of that love. See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

Crowning Him King – Colossians 2:16-23 – Week 8

Crowning Him King

Colossians 2:16-23

Week 8

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will complete Colossians 2 and continue with Paul’s corrective encouragements regarding the Colossian Heresy that mixed Jewish Angelic Mysticism and the Law with the knowledge of Messiah, Jesus Christ. As we approach Colossians 2:16-23, we receive more information regarding the Colossian Heresy and its influence on the Colossian Church.

When we look at heresies in Church History, we see the following commonalities:

1 – They are born by the influence of the demonic spirit of religion that seeks to frustrate relational approaches to God, distort the knowledge of God and restrain theological truth by false teaching.

2 – They deny the Person of Christ as revealed by the Apostles on the First Century and in the Scriptures.

3 – Heresies promote works-based religious expressions.

4 – Heresies rob God’s people of identity and purpose and shackles them to religious structures that do not promote spiritual freedom.

5 – Heresies, in their most demonic manifestation can lead people to eternal condemnation because they are propagating lies about Jesus Christ. See. 1 John 4:1 – Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

We see the following 3 movements in the text:

1 – False expressions of religiosity rob God’s people of relationship with Him.

2 – The goal of the religious spirit that was manifesting in Colossae, was to disqualify believers from experiencing God.

3 – Religious structures do not deliver us from the sins of the flesh.

Colossians 2:16

a) “Therefore” connects the thought in Colossians 2:16 to verses 13-15 and reveals to us the thought; that because of what Jesus did in establishing the New Covenant reality of relationship with God, forgiveness of sins by the cross, and the authority of the believer, the religious structure of the Law is no longer binding on those who have confessed Christ as Savior.

b) Paul deals directly with the Colossian Heresy and tells the Colossian Christians to not let the spirit of religion judge them in their pursuit of Christ. The Colossian Heresy centered around Law-keeping, approaching God through Hierarchies of Angels, and Spiritual Asceticism.

c) One of the characteristics of the spirit of religion, is that it critiques and criticizes the spiritual freedom that Christians enjoy. The Christian reality of freely relating to God in prayer, our identity as Disciples, Sons and Bride, our endowment of spiritual gifts and graces, the forgiveness we experience when we repent, our authority over the enemy, our joyful grace-filled lives and the favor of God on us, is an unbelievable outrage to religious structures that strive to be noticed by God.

Colossians 2:17

a) The totality of the Law, the patterns of sacrifice and worship all prophesy the Jesus, the Messiah.

b) Notice that the reality is Christ, who is living, actively loving, actively forgiving, actively healing and delivering people and who is ruling and reigning. We have relationship with a Man, who is a living reality in our lives.

Colossians 2:18

a) In this verse, Paul gives us a glance at the nature of the Colossian Heresy, which taught that the approach to God was through a hierarchy of angels. The false humility is bowing and worshipping angel after angel until the worshipper breaks through to the highest spirit realms and ultimately accessing God.

b) False humility bows to things other than God. True humility recognizes the Person of God and aligns to His heart and lives from the revelation that the Scriptures and the Spirit give.

c) Notice that Paul describes the revelation that was coming from the false teachers in Colossae, as having its origin in themselves.

d) Paul describes them in the following ways; puffed up with idle notions and they possess an unspiritual mind. Puffed up – Greek – physioō (fü-sē-o’-ō) – to inflate, blow up, or cause to swell. To make proud and to bear one’s self loftily.

e) Unspirtual mind – Greek – sarx nous – unredeemed, fleshly, rebellious mind, or the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining.

f) The spiritual attach of the spirit of religion is focused on disqualifying the person who seeking God, by having them believe lies about God. The word in the Greek for disqualify is literally “to decide as an umpire against someone”.

g) True spiritual encounters always lead people closer to Christ and empower them to pursue on know Christ on their own. Any true apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher always ministers spiritual power through the Holy Spirit, and that releases freedom, love, joy, righteousness and relationship with God.

Colossians 2:19

a) Once we lose connection to Christ who is the Head, we have lost His leadership, we have lost access to His thoughts, we have lost the ability to grow spiritually, and grow the Church.

Colossians 2:20-22

a) Because the Christian has a new life and new nature by the Holy Spirit, through faith in Christ, Law-keeping is dead in terms of producing spiritual growth and manifesting grace in our lives.

b) Notice that Paul mentions that the Law was destined to perish. That is because Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the Law; the Law prophesied Him, and the Covenants that God made with humanity were fulfilled in Jesus. Paul’s statement here is shocking in the context of the culture, because the Temple in Jerusalem
was still standing. Having been separated from the Colossian letter by over 2000 years, we miss the radical and challenging message of the Gospel to that culture.

Colossians 2:23

a) The spirit of religion always seems to possess spiritual wisdom. But the fruit of having a true connection to Christ is looking like Him. Religious works will never set us free from the flesh. Only the Spirit gives us the grace to overcome the works of the flesh.

b) Galatians 5:15-16 – So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

c) Relationship with Jesus is always the answer to sin.

Crowning Him King – Colossians 2:8-15 – Week 7

Crowning Him King

Colossians 2:8-15

Week 7

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we begin Colossians Chapter 2 and explore verses 8-15, and continue with Paul’s corrective encouragements regarding the Colossian Heresy that mixed Jewish Angelic Mysticism and the Law with the knowledge of Messiah, Jesus Christ. As we approach Colossians 2:8-15, we will learn more about the Colossian Heresy and the nature of its influence on the Colossian Church.

When we look at heresies in Church History, we see the following commonalities:

1 – They are born by the influence of the demonic spirit of religion that seeks to frustrate relational approaches to God, distort the knowledge of God and restrain theological truth by false teaching.

2 – They deny the Person of Christ as revealed by the Apostles on the First Century and in the Scriptures.

3 – Heresies promote works-based religious expressions.

4 – Heresies rob God’s people of identity and purpose and shackles them to religious structures that do not promote spiritual freedom.

5 – Heresies, in their most demonic manifestation can lead people to eternal condemnation because they are propagating lies about Jesus Christ. See. 1 John 4:1-3.

We see the following 4 movements in the text:

1 – Paul identifies the religious spirit that is fueling the Colossian Heresy.

2 – Christ is God in the flesh and through Him we have a new life and a new nature.

3 – We see the goodness and kindness of God by forgiving our sins.

4 – We see the total and utter defeat of satan and his demons by the cross.

Colossians 2:8

a) Paul begins to outline the tactics of the religious spirit that separates people from their grace-based experiential relationship with Christ. The goal of false teachers who are being influenced by a religious spirit is to take people captive. Paul describes the nature of the religious spirit as hollow and deceptive.

b) Greek – hollow – kenos – an empty vessel, empty handed, without a gift, metaph. destitute of spiritual wealth, of one who boasts of his faith as a transcendent possession yet is without the fruits of faith.

c) Deceptive philosophy – apatē philosophia – deceit, dishonest, love of wisdom. In this passage – used either of zeal for or skill in any art or science, any branch of knowledge. Used here in Colossians regarding the theology, or rather theosophy, of certain Jewish Christian ascetics, which busied itself with refined and speculative inquiries into the nature and classes of angels, into the ritual of the Mosaic law and the regulations of Jewish tradition respecting practical life.

d) Notice that the Colossian Heresy depended on human traditions, i.e. those things taught in the oral Jewish tradition. The Greek words in this verse mean that which was taught by religious Jewish oral tradition.

e) Elemental spiritual forces – This section of verse 8, is difficult to understand because the phrase is does not literally say “elemental spiritual forces”. It literally reads, “fundamental principles of the cosmos”. What is difficult here is that the word for fundamental (stoicheion) can mean alphabet, or first principles of a subject of study. Our translators added “spiritual” because the Colossian Heresy was based in spiritual deception. It is also necessary to mention that stoicheion was also used of pagans who connected these words to interceding to the spirits that controlled the earth, wind, fire and sky. To boil it down Paul seems to be pointing out that the knowledge of Jesus is not based on steps, or progressive initiations, but on the simplicity of relationship.

Colossians 2:9-10

a) Paul destroys the religious spirit by pointing out that Jesus is God in the flesh, and in Jesus we have the full revelation of what God is like. We do not need religious works to receive revelation from God, we need relationship with Him to receive revelation.

b) In Jesus we have fullness. NKJV reads – and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. I like the NKJV here, because it captures the truth that we are complete in Christ. The atonement of Christ is totally sufficient for us. We are set free from the condemnation of sin, we are healed by the cross, we are sanctified by His blood, we are blessed with every blessing, every promise of God is activated by the cross, and we have access to the Father and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Fullness in Christ is available to all who activate it.

c) Jesus has all authority over all things, and this continues to point to the Deity of Jesus Christ. However, practically speaking, if Jesus possesses all authority, that means the devil possesses no authority. The exception is that the devil/demons only have authority in our lives by our agreements with him.

Colossians 2:11

a) Now Paul draws parallels between the Law of Circumcision (Leviticus 12:3), which was the sign of the Covenant between the LORD and His people, and the reminder of their identity as godly moral people, contrasted to the New Covenant reality that all believers have been freed from being ruled by the sins of the flesh through the cross of Christ. See Galatians 5:16-21.

b) All Christians have an appetite for the things that honor God, we have an appetite to love God, as we cultivate our relationship with Him by walking in the Spirit.

c) Positionally, the old man or flesh (sarx) has been removed. However, sanctification of the flesh is gained by engaging the process of living for God.

Colossians 2:12

a) Here we see baptism as the evidence of an inward change in us that was born in faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism symbolizes that our old life is now dead, crucified in Christ, buried in the grave. Emerging from the water, after being immersed symbolizes that we have been born again by faith and are now living the resurrection life by the Holy Spirit. Romans 6:4 – We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 8:11 – And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Colossians 2:13-14 a) Notice that all of us, before we knew Christ as Savior, are described as being dead and in need of being resurrected to life. In Genesis 3, the result of the Fall was the death of an intimate relationship with God and death in our physical bodies. But the tender mercy of God is displayed in Jesus’ life, and through the crucifixion, we have been made alive. Jesus’ death on a cross, means life to those who receive Him.

b) Notice that verse 13 ends with “he forgave us all our sins”. This captures the immensity of scope and the overwhelming power of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. All of our sins; past, present and future have been forgiven by Christ. None of us should live in shame, but we should live in freedom, drawing from the grace that has been given to us in Jesus. The Greek word for forgave is charizomai, meaning that God freely gave us forgiveness, because of His goodness. The word can mean to be kind, forgiving, to restore, to give as a favor.

c) Jesus cancelled the charges for the crime of sin and satisfied the Father’s outrage over the injustice of sin in our lives by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The Hebrew concept of Biblical justice is God making wrong things right. The Godhead, through the cross, has made us righteous, not by our works, but by Christ’s work.

Colossians 2:15

a) Paul plays on to the cultural context when the Roman Army would march their war captives down the Appian Way into Rome. There would be those running ahead of the Roman Army, the were called apostles, who would cry out the good news (gospel) that Rome has defeated an enemy, and the Roman Army comes with plunder from the defeated enemies. The whole of Rome would come out and mock and jeer the enemies, throwing rotten fruit and other things at them to shame them. This was called the “public spectacle”.

b) Paul uses this metaphor to describe the total and utter defeat of the devil and his demons by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The collective Church is in the place of spiritual authority, power, and identity in Christ.

Crowning Him King – Colossians 2:1-7 – Week 6

Crowning Him King

Colossians 2:1-7

Week 6

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we begin Colossians Chapter 2 and explore verses 1-7. In Chapter 2, Paul begins to address the Colossian Heresy straight away and brings clarity, correction and loving encouragement that only an Apostolic Father can give. In Colossians Chapter 2, we get a glimpse of Paul’s loving concern for the Colossian Church and his love for the Church in general. True Apostolic Fathers contend for Christ’s Body by teaching true doctrine, encouraging their spiritual children and casting vision that leads them to their high calling in Jesus Christ.

The Colossian Heresy revolved around false teaching regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ with a strict adherence to Jewish Law influenced by Essene Mysticism. In the First Century, Colossae was known for its Jewish angel cults that worshipped Michael the Archangel. This Jewish angel cult that was influencing the Colossian Church pre-existed Epaphras’ evangelism of Colossae. The mention of the Seven Sons of Sceva in Acts 19 was probably from this Jewish mystic movement based in Colossae.

We should note that Paul had never met the Colossian Church in person, but his spiritual son Epaphras (lovely) evangelized Colossae and Laodicea. Paul’s love for Epaphras extended to the faith communities that he evangelized and Paul in Colossians 2, expresses his Apostolic care for them.

Colossians 2:1

a) Notice that Paul describes his concern for the Colossian Church in graphic language that describes the intensity of the spiritual warfare that he is waging for their freedom. Earlier in Colossians 1:29, Paul uses a cultural play on words that originates from the Greek athletic contests. In Colossians 2:1, Paul continues with this metaphor to describe the contest between truth about the Person of Jesus Christ and the lies and spiritual deception that are coming from the proponents of the Colossian Heresy.

b) NKJV – For I want you to know what a great conflict (hēlikos agōn – how great the contest in the arena or stadium) I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, – The NKJV accurately describes the intense spiritual battle that Paul is waging in prayer and in his exhortations that are written in this Epistle.

c) Colossians 2:1 makes it clear that Paul had never visited this church or the Laodicean Church. However, he still contended for them as his own spiritual children. d) One of the most difficult battles any Christian leader has is praying for spiritual sons and daughters that are believing lies about God.

Colossians 2:2-3

a) The goal of the great contest of the spiritual battle that Paul was waging for the Colossian and Laodicean Churches are as follows. 1 – Encouraged in heart. Discouragement in the people of God robs them of having confidence in God, and steals hope, that ultimately kills destiny and calling in them. 2 – United in love. It is impossible to have unity without love. Divisions in the Church are a symptom of lack of love, not having grace for each other, and not having honor for one another. See 1 Corinthians 13. 3 – Full riches of completely knowing God as revealed in the Person of Christ. Jesus is the revelation of what the Father is like; so, when we look at Christ we see the Father. Knowing Jesus is door to knowing the Father.

b) Notice that in Jesus the treasures of knowledge and wisdom are found. The Colossian Heresy was fueled by the belief that were ascending levels of secret spiritual knowledge that was only revealed by submitting to the initiations of those who presided over the angel cults. Paul directly ruins this concept by teaching the Colossians that in the Person of Jesus we discover true spiritual knowledge and wisdom. Scholar F.F. Bruce – “Others might lead them astray with specious talk of mysteries; but there was one mystery above all others – the mystery of God’s loving purpose, disclosed in Christ alone – and Paul’s concern was that they should come to know this all-surpassing mystery, and know it as an indwelling presence.”

c) Paul mentions 3 mysteries that are revealed to us in Christ. A Biblical mystery is that which is only revealed to us by being in relationship with God. This is not an esoteric concept, but a relational truth, that those who know God, know His Person; His nature and character. 1 – The Church, the Body of Christ is a mystery revealed. Colossians 1:24-26. 2 – The Indwelling presence of Jesus in believers is a mystery revealed. Colossians 1:27. 3 – Jesus reveals to us all the treasures of the knowledge of God and the wisdom that accompanies those who know Him is a mystery revealed to us in Christ.

Colossians 2:4

a) Paul is contending for their freedom from the religious spirit. Religious lies are always dressed in fashionable words. The false teachers in Colossae were manipulating them with fine sounding spiritual language that was leading them astray from the simplicity of knowing Jesus.

Colossians 2:5

a) Colossians 2:5 and 1 Corinthians 5:3-5 present us with some very interesting thoughts regarding Paul’s intercession for the Colossian and Corinthian Churches. Paul describes that in prayer, he felt spiritually present and aware of their church struggles, to the point that he describes it as being present in spirit. It may be that Paul is describing his ability to see into the supernatural spirit realm as he uses the spiritual gift of discernment to receive revelation regarding these church bodies. The Greek text is clear that Paul considers himself present in spirit in their assemblies.

b) The end of verse 5 shows us that Paul was still convinced that though the
Colossian Heresy was damaging the Colossian Church, they were still in order and firm in their faith in Christ.

Colossians 2:6-7

a) Paul gives the Colossian Church excellent advice. We received Christ by faith, and it is by faith that we live our lives in Him. Faith is real spiritual substance that attracts the resources of heaven, so that they may flow into our lives. Hebrews 11:1 – NKJV – Now faith is the substance (hypostasis) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

b) Notice the effects of living in faith. 1 – Faith gives us a strong foundation that we build the knowledge of God on. 2 – Faith strengthens us as we are taught truth about Jesus. 3 – Faith releases overflowing thankfulness towards God in our lives.

Crowning Him King – Colossians 1:21-29 – Week 5

Crowning Him King

Colossians 1:21-29

Week 5

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will complete Colossians chapter 1 and we will look at the following movements in the text.

1 – The contrast between our lives without Christ and our lives with Christ

2 – The call to persevere in our faith

3 – Paul’s suffering for the Church

4 – The description of the fullness we have in Christ

5 – The purpose of Paul’s ministry to the Church

6 – The description of the power of Christ that was in operation in Paul

Colossians 1:21

a) Paul describes the condition of each one of us before we were reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Greek alienated apallotrio – to be shut out from one’s fellowship and intimacy. The contrast between a believer and non-believer is not simply forgiveness from God, it is one has access to fellowship and intimacy with God and the other has no access because they have been shut out because of sin. Sin is the great separator between humanity and God.

b) Through the Fall of Adam, all of humanity has been shut out from fellowship and intimacy with God through the corruption of sin. Sin affects us in our minds, where it is conceived and then is expressed through the actions of our bodies. James 1:14-15 – but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Colossians 1:22

a) But now he has reconciled you Greek reconciled – apokatallasso – to reconcile completely, to reconcile back again, bring back a former state of harmony. The physical Body of Jesus, beaten, flogged, pierced and abused on the cross was the reconciliation between God and humanity. Jesus’ death on the cross, means life with God for us.

b) The effects of the reconciliation we receive are holiness in God’s sight, without blemish, and free from accusation. Holiness in God’s sight means that God looks at us as His own and realize we have been set apart for Him and His purposes in our lives.

c) The Greek word for without blemish, refers to a Levitical priest that has inspected a sacrifice and deemed it without blemish and acceptable to God. The Greek word also means morally without fault.

d) The Greek words free from accusation means, that which cannot be called into account, or reprovable or unaccusable.

e) These 3 descriptions of the reconciliation we have received from God through the cross of Jesus Christ teach that we are truly in a state of freedom from the effects of sin through our faith in Christ. Knowing these wonderful things to be true should provoke our hearts to live in gratitude toward God and provoke us to love God in ways that build our relationship with Him. God is an all in Lover.

Colossians 1:23

a) If Paul clearly teaches the Colossians and us, that to remain in our reconciliation with God, we all must persevere in faith. We are not saved by our Christlike character but are obligated by our belief in Jesus Christ to live our confessions of faith. Authenticity in Christian living is an Apostolic requirement. F.F. Bruce – at the same time that the saints are those who finally persevere – in Christ. Continuance is the test of reality.

b) NASB – 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. The NASB captures the thought that Paul proclaimed the gospel to everything in the created order. This is direct reference to the Colossian heresy which proposed complicated and difficult approaches to God through angelic intermediaries, and by keeping parts of Jewish Law. Paul is basically saying; even all the angelic order has been told the gospel.

c) Paul describes himself as a servant. Greek diakonos – one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant, minister, a servant of a king. This is root word for our English word deacon. Every minister of the gospel is a servant to King Jesus and the servant to His Bride the Church. This is a tremendous responsibility and demands selfless living and interests in order to be an effective minister of Christ.

d) Paul also mentions the suffering in his body to disarm the ascetic spirituality of the Colossian heresy. Fruitful suffering is outward toward the Church. Ascetic suffering is individually focused and serves the self.

Colossians 1:24

a) Paul describes the type of service to God’s Church that he has lived out in his life. Paul’s suffering in the flesh for Christ’s Church is not connected to the atonement of Jesus’ cross. Paul is saying in plain words, I will pay any price for Jesus’ Church. Paul is writing to the Colossians under Roman house arrest in Rome. His life proves his message.

b) 2 Corinthians 11:24-29 describes the type of price that Paul paid as a faithful servant of Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:25-26

a) Paul’s commission from God was the Damascus road. b) Paul describes the fullness of the Gospel in the following terms. 1 God’s salvation narrative; His progressive revelation of the method of salvation through the Covenants that He made with humanity and Israel, have been fully revealed in Messiah, Jesus Christ. 2 The Gentiles have been included in the salvation that Messiah accomplished on the cross; that God desired relationship with all people, and Israel was the womb of Messiah and tree from which salvation to all people came forth. 3 Fullness is Christ in us. God is revealed to us in Jesus, as we abide in Him and He abides in us.

Colossians 1:28

a) Paul describes the purpose for his Apostolic ministry to the Church. Proclaim, admonish (Greek – counseling), teaching, with wisdom (the knowledge of God), so all believers would be mature or fully grown in their faith in Christ. This should be the one objective of all Christian leaders so that Christ’s Bride would walk in His ways and not in compromise with the world, or weakness, but in power as overcomers.

Colossians 1:29

a) In verse 29, Paul uses a play on words that corresponds to the ancient Olympic Games or the athletic contests of the Greeks. Paul is using this play on words to describe the type of focused endurance of his ministry through the agency of power of God that is working in him.

Crowning Him King – Colossians 1:15-20 – Week 4

Crowning Him King

Colossians 1:15-20

Week 4

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will continue in Colossians chapter 1 and explore verses 15-20. In verses 15-20, we have some of the most glorious and descriptive language about the identity of Jesus, the Son of God. We could say that this second portion of Colossians chapter 1, describes the divinity of Jesus Christ in ways that undeniably declare that Jesus is God in the flesh. Paul writes things, under the influence of the Holy Spirit to combat the Colossian heresy head-on and to protect the Colossian Church from the damage already done by mixing Jewish mysticism and angelology with the Apostolic Christianity that they received from Epaphras.

As Paul writes these verses under house arrest, and chained to Roman soldier, I wonder of the revelation that the Spirit gives Paul about the Person of Christ brought great encouragement to him. If the universe is Christ-centric, then even Paul’s suffering arrest would be reconciled in Christ and all things would work in favor for the cause of Christ in Paul. No hardship, situation of suffering is in vain, but redeemed and reconciled in Jesus.

Many scholars believe that Colossians 1:15-20 is a verse to ancient hymn or confession of the First Century Church. It is entirely possible that Paul either quotes or authored this hymn so that the Church would be safe from false teachers who denied the divinity of Jesus Christ.

The text is so rich in verses 15-20, that we need to proceed to the text for the sake of time.

Colossians 1:15

a) In Colossians 1:12-13, Paul gives thanks to the Father for giving the Son to humanity as the rescue and redemption from dominion of darkness for those who believe. Now Paul shifts the subject from giving thanks to the Father, to describing the Son, Jesus Christ, who worked salvation.

b) Paul gives us 2 descriptions regarding the nature of the Son, Jesus Christ. 1 – Jesus is the Image of the Father. The Greek word eikōn is used here and this Greek word possesses a 2-fold meaning. 1 – Likeness as in a mirror. 2 – Manifestation; implying that Jesus is the manifestation of what the Father is like. Jesus Himself says in John 10:38 – “the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.” John 8:29 – “I always do what pleases the Father.” John 5:19 – “Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” John 14:9 – “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” When we look at Jesus, we see the perfect character and nature of the Father revealed. Jesus makes the unseen, unsearchable Godhead knowable and relational to humanity that is made in His image.

c) The second descriptive is “firstborn”. This descriptive has nothing to do with
Jesus being created, but everything to do with Jesus being preeminent in all things created. The Greek word prōtotokos is used here and describes priority in time or supreme rank. This word communicates that Jesus was before creation, and Jesus being supremely set apart from the created order. This word is used as descriptive for the divinity of Jesus as the God the Son. This title, “firstborn” is used in Romans 8:20, Hebrews 1:6, and Revelation 1:5.

d) Interestingly, ancient rabbis used “Yahweh – The Firstborn of the World” as a title for God. Ancient Rabbi Bechai is quoted by the great scholar J.B. Lightfoot, using this title as a Messianic description of the God to Israel. Certainly, Paul being a former Pharisee Rabbi would be familiar with this thought and applies it to the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:16-17

a) In verses 16-17, Paul begins to attack the Colossian heresy as he describes Jesus in theological descriptions that clearly state that Jesus is God in the flesh. Paul describes attributes that only God possesses and applies them to Jesus.

b) Jesus the Creator. When we consider the process of the creation narrative in Genesis 1-2, we can say this; The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit were all active in the work of creation. The Father works in His Son, through His Spirit.

c) When we meditate on Christ being the author of creation, we are awed by the majesty and magnitude of space. We are awed by the intricate intelligent design of human DNA and the cell structures of plants and animals. We are awed by the science of physics, and we are awed by the consciousness of humanity and our self-awareness that does not exist any other species. Romans 1:20 – For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

d) The reference to thrones, powers, rulers, etc. is a direct attack against the intricate angelology of the mystic Judaism practiced in Colossae. Paul corrects this by teaching that Jesus is Deity incarnate.

e) He is before all things – This describes Jesus’ self-existence as God the Son. There was an ancient heresy from Arius (AD 256–336) who taught that Jesus was begotten by God the Father at a point in time, is distinct from the Father and is subordinate to the Father. Verse 17 destroys that position. The modern-day cults that hold the teaching of Arius are the Unitarians and JW’s.

f) In Him all things hold together – The thought here is that creation is Christ-centric and is sustained and preserved by Jesus. When we consider the high thoughts of Christ in verses 16-17, it should cause us to worship Jesus with more reverence and passion.

Colossians 1:18

a) Jesus is the Head – The thought here is that all things regarding the Church flow from Christ like rivers flow from headwaters. Jesus is the Source for all things in the Church. Paul describes the Church as the Body of Christ in Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, and Ephesians. The Church being the Body of Christ describes the Church being that which does the works of Christ in the world, reveals the Person of Christ in the world, and proclaims the words of Christ to the world. Our challenge is to align with Christ, who is the Head.

b) He is the beginning – The source or fount of creation.

c) Firstborn among the dead – This is the description of Jesus being the first to be resurrected. When Jesus raised others from the dead, they lived, and then died again later. However, the resurrected Christ is raised imperishable and is the example of what we should expect when we are resurrected to eternal life in our resurrection bodies. See 1 Corinthians 15 for a detailed description of what that will be like.

d) Supremacy in all things – We never have to be afraid of any circumstance because Jesus experienced all things and conquered all things. In Him we are victorious over the issues of life, satan/demons, sin and even death.

Colossians 1:19

a) In Christ is the fullness of God. Paul is using strong language against the Colossian heresy and forcefully declaring that Jesus is truly God. Fullness – Greek – plērōma – that which fills or with which a thing is filled. Dwell – Greek – katoikeō – to dwell in, inhabit, to always be present. We could describe Jesus being the always present fullness of God as the distribution point from which all heavenly access and resource flows.

Colossians 1:20

a) Reconcile – Greek – apokatallassō – to reconcile completely, to reconcile back again, bring back a former state of harmony. Notice that the atonement of Jesus Christ was a wide and comprehensive work. Jesus is the promised Messiah that redeems creation from the curse of the Fall and redeems humanity from their sin nature and the punishment for sin in the Law. Paul is not teaching Universalism, look at Colossians 1:21-23 and we can clearly see that Universalism is not a true doctrine.

b) The cross was God’s method of bringing peace to creation and people because the justice of God and the outrage of God over the crime of sin was satisfied in Jesus Christ as He suffered on the cross and was the acceptable sacrifice that pleased the Father.