Acts 27:1

Acts 27:1…”When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment.” It was determined by the counsel of God, before it was determined by the counsel of Festus, that Paul should go to Rome, because God had work for him to do there. A helpful exercise to build our trust in the Lord, is to trace all of the twists and turns in our life, and look at how the Lord has used them to grow us. Similarly, if we consider the circumstances surrounding our salvation in particular, it should give us reason to never complain. We were lost and in a very desperate place, and if the Lord had not revealed our absolute need for Him, we would still be there (Colossians 2:13). God’s history for each of His children is particular, and was planned before He even spoke creation into existence.

Ephesians 1:4
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.


Colossians 4:6

Colossians 4:6…”Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Christians should be the most engaging people on the planet. Paul’s instruction on Christian speech to the outside world in this passage is one of many texts that allows us to draw this conclusion. The Greek words that are behind “speech,” “gracious,” and “salt” (logos, charis, and halas, respectively) are used together in first-century literature to refer to speech that is gracious and attractive — winsome, even witty words that are also spoken in a humble manner. In other words, the apostle wants the presentation of the gospel to the outside world done in a manner that captures the gospel’s excitement and that is able to answer the unbeliever’s legitimate questions. The idea is similar to that found in 1 Peter 3:15, which commends gentle speech that respectfully presents and defends the gospel of Jesus Christ:

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

Colossians 4:4

Colossians 4:4…”Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” ‘It’ being the mystery of Christ, which is the gospel. This was a secret, which was hid in God from everlasting, and, during the Old Testament, was wrapped up in types, and shadows, and sacrifices, and is still hidden from the unbeliever. Only God, by his Spirit, makes it manifest in a spiritual and saving way. So we need to proclaim the gospel clearly, and pray that others in our church, especially pastors/elders would do the same. The gospel should be clear in evangelism, and from the pulpit in preaching, and in our church services. Evangelism without the gospel is not biblical evangelism. Sermons without the gospel are not biblical sermons. Churches which are not gospel-centered are not biblical churches.

Colossians 4:2

Colossians 4:2…”Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” This verse contains an admonition to diligent, thankful prayer, which at first glance seems to be an instruction on how we are to be as Christians in relation to God. Indeed, it is true that one of the marks of the believer is the resolve to pray at all times (Eph. 6:18), that is, in all circumstances; nevertheless, John Chrysostom notes how even the call to pray operates in relation to those who are not a part of the Lord’s people: “The devil knows, yes he knows, how great a good prayer is” (ACCNT 9, p. 54). We must be diligent in prayer because it is one of the most powerful weapons we have for tearing down the Enemy’s strongholds. How much stronger would the church be when facing its adversaries if it prayed according to the will of God, asking the Lord to show forth His power and grace on the behalf of His people (James 4:2b–3)?

Colossians 3:17

Colossians 3:17…”And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” As Christians, we really have no basis for complaining. We have been given far more than we deserve. In fact, if we got what we deserved, we would be under God’s eternal judgement right now. So, having this biblical perspective, we should be thankful for God’s abundant mercy in Jesus, and know that we don’t need anything else. He is sufficient, and is all we need to be satisfied. Our words and deeds should reflect grateful hearts, and we need to repent from dissatisfaction (i.e. prideful unbelief and selfishness). If we’re honest, we’re really just upset with God when we’re dissatisfied with our circumstances. This is an intellectually inconsistent position for the Christian, who is instructed to believe in a sovereign God who directs our circumstances:

Isaiah 48:17, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”

Colossians 3:1

Colossians 3:1…”Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Our desires need to be in line with God’s desires. We sin when our desires focus on ourselves and not God, with the root being prideful unbelief and selfishness. We need to look forward to heaven mainly because we’ll finally be with God, in perfect fellowship with him. We are foreigners here, and so our desires need to align with heavenly things because that’s where we’ll be for eternity. Holiness should be something we strongly yearn for in this life, because it will mark our eternal lives. Increasing holiness following salvation is proof we’re one of God’s elect (Romans 8:29-30). Conversely, the bible has a very clear warning for those who accept the gospel message, but bear no Christian fruit: Hebrews 12:14 – “Without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

Colossians 2:13

Colossians 2:13…”When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ.” How does a spiritual corpse save itself? Answer: It cannot, and needs to be brought to life by something or someone externally. This is what salvation looks like. God initiates, as the spiritually dead cannot bring themselves to life. The spiritually dead are brought to life by God setting His affection on them, placing His spirit in them, and sanctifying them. What about those who are not sanctified, but call themselves Christians? They were never saved, and the lack of fruit is evidence that they are still spiritually dead. James 2:26 says, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”

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.

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:

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.’