Colossians 1:29

Colossians 1:29…”To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” Paul is talking specifically about proclaiming Christ, and teaching and admonishing everyone with the end goal of the church body growing in spiritual maturity (sanctification). He says a very similar thing to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:13), and instructs him to devote himself to “the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” Does this correspond with what the pastors and elders in your church are doing? A healthy church will be marked by biblical church leadership, specifically elders and pastors who understand their primary responsibilities as preaching and teaching the flock. This may be public teaching or discipleship or small group leadership, or Sunday School teaching, but in any case the bible is clear regarding their essential role. Take time this week to encourage your pastors and leaders, as they are worthy of double honor (1 Timothy 5:17). Christ’s energy is in them according to this passage, so lovingly remind them of this, and thank them for their work.

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Colossians 1:28

Colossians 1:28…”He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.” Wrong theology will never produce spiritual maturity. A right understanding of God’s word is necessary for right living, and in particular the gospel, which is:

God – Is our creator and is perfectly holy and perfectly just. He made us to obey him as His creation.

Man – We have all chosen to disobey him and sin against Him. He punishes sin with eternal torment and separation from him in hell.

Christ – Jesus lived a perfectly obedient life and died on the cross for our sins. On the cross, he took on the punishment we deserve, was raised from the dead and is now seated at God’s right hand interceding on our behalf.

Response – We can be saved from God’s wrath and have Christ’s perfect life counted as ours, bringing us into a right relationship with God if we repent and believe in Him. Those who repent and believe will enjoy God forever in heaven.

False gospels do not bring about maturity in Christ, because they distort what God is really like, minimalize the human condition and/or misunderstand the object of our faith (i.e. health and wealth in this life). In all cases, when Jesus is not highly esteemed, and when He is not the object of our affections, then we will not grow in holiness.

Mike McKinley wrote a brief, but very helpful article related to this topic, and linked below:

http://www.9marks.org/blog/how-can-i-know-im-not-christian

Colossians 1:22-23

Colossians 1:22-23…”22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.” We have great comfort during trials in this life, knowing we will be with the Father forever in heaven. He set His affection on us before creation (Ephesians 1:4), reconciled us to Himself and made us perfectly holy through Christ’s atonement. There is one caveat though according to scripture; we have to persevere. The good news is that the elect will be preserved by God (Ephesians 1:13-14, Philippians 1:4-6, John 10:25-30). The elect will be actively obedient, because God’s spirit is in them, and He will sanctify them (Romans 8:28-30). The scary news is that the pseudo-gospel preached in many churches today distorts (or ignores) the doctine of election, and many church-goers may be headed to Hell in ignorance. Simply praying a prayer or walking an aisle during an alter call is not how the bible understands conversion. Certainly those moments could be in line with when God saves someone, but the bible’s description of conversion includes a changed life in line with scripture. According to Jesus, the elect will produce fruit, and an authentic response to the gospel involves more than just agreement with the message.

Matthew 13:18-23
18 ‘Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 when anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.’

Colossians 1:21

Colossians 1:21…”Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” At one time we only hated God, and could not love Him. But God, who is rich in grace and mercy, set His affection on us. He rescued us and placed us in right standing with Himself. This could only be done through the blood of a perfect sacrifice. Jesus lived a perfect life and died on the cross for our sins. He took on God’s wrath and was raised from the dead, conquering sin and death. We are now no longer alienated from God if we repent and believe in Him. The reward is eternal life, where we’ll be able to finally reciprocate God’s perfect love for us.

Colossians 1:17

Colossians 1:17…”He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Jesus took part in creation with the Father. He always was, and always will be. His eternal character is difficult for us to comprehend. However, our ability to fully understand something does not affect its truth. He holds all things together, which means He has authority over all humans. This was a claim He made (Matthew 11:27), which angered the religious teachers and leaders of His time. This authority is an objective reality regardless of your worldview. His resurrection was the ultimate proof of His authoritative claims. When someone who was raised from the dead after predicting it, makes claims like this: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6)”; then we need to listen and submit to Him.

Colossians 1:9-12

Colossians 1:9-12…”9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” Paul continues to give us an example of biblical prayer. We should pray constantly for other members of our church (this was written to those in the body of the church of Colossae). We are to ask that God helps them understand his word and obey it. Our prayers for others should also focus on an interest in their lives bearing fruit. This includes praying that they would be in His word more consistently, because we cannot know God apart from His word. Additionally, the emphasis on thanksgiving is important to remember. Our joy will increase when we begin to realize we’ve been give far more than we deserve if we’re in Christ. Anything else is an unbelievably gracious bonus given by a loving Father.

Colossians 1:3-6

Colossians 1:3-6…”3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people – 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you.” A great litmus test for spiritual maturity is prayer content. It also reveals how we view God. Do your prayers ever sound like this one Paul prayed for other Christians? A focus on thanking God for what he has done in other believers through Christ is a biblical model for prayer. It shows our love for Him and our interest in the spiritual well-being of others. When our prayers ignore spiritual things and focus only on asking God to give us what we want, it shows we misunderstand His word and character.

Job 42:8

Job 42:8…”My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly.” In the beginning of this book we had Job’s patience under his troubles as an example. Here, for our encouragement to follow that example, we have his happy end. His troubles began in Satan’s malice, which God restrained. His restoration began in God’s mercy, which Satan could not oppose. Mercy did not return when Job was disputing with his friends, but when he was praying for them. God is served and pleased with our warm devotions, not with our warm disputes.

Job 41

Job 41…”Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook or tie down its tongue with a rope?” A large description is here given of the Leviathan (sea creature), specifically the difficulty and danger of taming it. It is shown throughout Job 41 that God made this creature and is sovereign over it. From the several parts of him, his face, teeth, scales, eyes, mouth and neck, flesh and heart, to the terrible things said of him, and ascribed to him. God questions whether Job has this authority over creatures. This is a good reminder to us, that our Lord is mighty and sovereign, and that we aren’t Him.

Job 40:2

Job 40:2…”Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” After God had shown Job by his ignorance of the works of nature, how unable he was to question the methods and designs of Providence, he puts this convincing question to him (verse 2, Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?). Now Job began to melt into godly sorrow. When his friends reasoned with him, he did not listen, but God’s word is powerful. We must humbly submit to God and recognize that we are not Him. He is our Master, and we are His subjects. He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, and we are not. He is wise, and we are foolish. His path for us was planned before the creation of the world, and He set His affection on us before He made the universe. He chose us to be part of His plan of salvation (we did not choose Him; John 15:16), so our response should be grateful repentance and faith in His Son.