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195 - Colossians: From End to End

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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May 11, 2024 1:00 pm

195 - Colossians: From End to End

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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May 11, 2024 1:00 pm

Episode 195 - Colossians: From End to End (11 May 2024) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink.

Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages. Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, if you had a friend who was in prison and they wrote you a letter, what would you expect to be in it? Kind of depressing, things are bad here, stuff like that. Yeah, things are bad here and I can hardly wait to get out, right?

Yeah, right, right. But Paul's letter to the Colossians is completely different than that. Did he write that from prison? He did.

He did. Well, let's see what he said that was so important here on More Than Ink. Good morning.

You've found more than ink. And I'm Jim. And I'm Dorothy.

Oh, I forgot who we were for a second. And we gather around our dining room table and we sit down and we read the Word together and enjoy each other's insights. By the way, we've recommended this before. When you read the Bible, it can be just really fun to sit down with someone else and say, Hey, let's just read this together and you tell me what you see and I'll tell you what I see and we'll collect our thoughts and just go through it. But there's also power in simply reading aloud the Word of God. Oh, totally, totally.

Because it's different than just reading it silently. Yeah, and so that's what we're going to do today. We are starting a new book.

Yes. We're starting Colossians. And Colossians is, frankly, it's in my top three or four. It's a favorite of mine, too. Of the little letters in the New Testament because it is just so big picture Christ-oriented.

It's just amazing. So what we're going to do today is we're going to read the entire thing through. And this is what we recommend to people. And so why do you read the whole thing through in one sitting? Well, first of all, it was a letter so it would have been read aloud to the church that it was sent to just like this.

But you always read aloud or read the whole thing first to get the big picture. What's it about? Context. How does it come? How does it end? Where does it start?

What does he cover? And just listen. So I encourage you listeners, get a pencil and paper handy. And we're going to read it to you and just jot down keywords that jump out at you, things that you hear repeated, anything that attracts your attention. Questions. Questions.

And we will address those in the coming weeks. Yeah, but you'll get the general gist of it just by us reading it aloud. It's a Bible study discipline that is seldom done.

Okay, and it's also a sin to bore people with the Word of God. So we're going to read it as well as we can. So we're reading on the ESV. I'd recommend you just sit back and listen. Just listen.

And see what pops out at you. So we're jumping into Colossians 1, verse 1. You want to start us out on the greeting?

Sure. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God, and Timothy, our brother, to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae. Grace to you and peace from God our Father. We always thank God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the saints because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you as indeed in the whole world it's bearing fruit and increasing as it also does among you. Since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant, he's a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, for by him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church.

He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of the cross. And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.

If indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven and of which I, Paul, became a minister. Now, I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you to make the word of God fully known. The mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints, and to them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone, teaching everyone with all wisdom that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you, and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding, and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments, for though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you receive Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of doubt that stood against us with its legal demands. This is set aside, nailing it to the cross.

He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in him. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with the growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations, do not handle, do not taste, do not touch, referring to things that all perish as they are used, according to human precepts and teachings.

These have indeed the appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. So if, then, you've been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, what is earthly in you, sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these, the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked when you were living in them, but now you must put them all away, anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here, there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free, but Christ is all and in all. So put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another.

And if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony, and let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you are called in one body, and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Con servants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye service as people pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord, and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ, for the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a master in heaven. Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us that God may open to us a door for the word to declare the mystery of Christ on account of which I am in prison, that I may make it clear which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I've sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts. And with him, Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you.

They will tell you of everything that's taken place here. Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, greets you. And Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, concerning whom you've received instructions.

If he comes to you, welcome him. And Jesus, who is called Justice. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

Luke, the beloved physician, greets you, as does Demas. Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea and to Nymphah and the church in her house. And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans. And see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, see that you fulfill the ministry that you've received in the Lord. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand.

Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Wow.

That's Colossians. That is a great letter. That didn't take us very long at all. Well, the best part about it is actually how comprehensible it is when read this way. Well, it's kind of dense. Yes, it's very dense. There's a lot in it. There's a lot there, but wow.

So much stuff. But it makes so much sense. When you read it, it sounds like Paul is just talking to people he loves. Yeah, yeah. And he's talking about the centrality of Christ in our lives. Yes.

Now we've come to him. Did you hear how often, Christ, Christ, Christ, in you, you in. Right. In Christ, in Christ, in Christ.

Right. So, you know, when I begin teaching through a new letter or a new book of the scripture, I always do this with the groups that I am teaching, read aloud the whole thing. Unless it's like 25 chapters. If it's an epistle, read the whole thing.

You're not going to read it. And just ask them, just listen and then jot down. And then I will ask them, what did you hear? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

There's a lot of things. You know, I forgot my pencil. I was going to write notes as we went. Well, it's too late now. I didn't do what we told everyone else to do.

I did. But there's so many great places in here. I mean, even when we got into chapter one, it's one of my favorite sections where he, there's so much to be favorite there. But I'm just so encouraged when he talks about the fact that we've been transferred into a kingdom.

Right? So in 13 it says he's delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Do you realize that you've been moved from one kingdom to another because of your relationship with Christ? And transferred from a domain into a kingdom.

Yes, yes. And a domain of darkness. That sounds pretty depressing. But that's not a bad description of the fallen world that we live in.

You're in a domain of darkness. And because of what he's done for you, he has moved you to a new kingdom, the kingdom of his son. You know, before even that, though, I have just always loved this prayer that Paul prays for. Yeah, it is. It's remarkable. It's kind of, it's almost a one size fits all prayer. Like if I am like, I don't know how to pray for this person, Lord, and I go here and just begin to pray for them. Yeah, I do too. They would be filled with the knowledge of God's will and all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Who doesn't need that?

Right? Always and every, so that the effect of that is to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord pleasing him and bearing fruit. Oh my gosh. So I don't know if I've actually ever said this to you, Jim, but there was a time in our lives when I adopted this prayer that I'm going to pray this for my husband every day. And I did for a long time, probably months. And I won't take credit for changes in your life, but I've seen God do things in you over those years that I can trace back to that season when I was praying this prayer over you.

Yeah. I remember one time I was in some context where I was praying with a handful of people and there was this younger guy, a student, I think kind of college age. And so we all bowed our heads and we're all contributing a little bit of prayer here and there. And all of a sudden he started saying these words and he didn't have his Bible open because I kind of peeked for a second to see. He had committed this to memory and decided, I'm just going to pray this.

And as it came out of his mouth, I'm just thinking, this is the best thing ever. I recognize these words. I also have this memorized. It's just really great.

But it's easy. Once you've memorized it then and you begin to pray it, then you have the freedom in prayer to expand on it as befits the people you're praying over. So this has just been a powerful effect in my life over the years.

Yeah. I've had people over the years ask me, how can I find out the will of God? Well, you know, right at the top of this he says, that's what I'm praying for you to find out.

Well, here it is. I'm praying that you be filled with the knowledge of his will. So that you'll walk in a manner. A manner worthy of him. Exactly.

A manner that is consistent with his character. Exactly. That his life will be worked out in the way you live. Yeah.

And I want to point out the obvious here. He's asking that God make this known to you. Yes. Rather than giving you clues about how you're supposed to second guess God to figure out as well.

Right. He's asking that God do that for you. So really great stuff just in the opening couple of sentences as he starts the thing out. And then he gets, in chapter one, he gets to verse 15. This is like, this is like a stellar high point in the entire New Testament. It's almost a poem.

Almost. I mean, talking about, you know, in our version it's entitled The Preeminence of Christ. And that's exactly right. That's exactly what it is. I can't think of a bigger description of. If you, if someone asks you, who is Jesus?

Go here. And, you know, don't just stop with, well, he's the historical guy that walked for three years. Right. No. I think we disagree about who he is. Well, who do you think he is?

Flip, flip, flip. Go to Colossians 1.15. Yeah. He is the image of the invisible God. Yeah.

What? Well, and then, you know, he works his way down through, right down to verse 20 when he says, and reconciling all things to himself, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. So you start in heaven, right? He's the image of the invisible God and come right down to, but he came to shed his blood to make peace with God.

Yeah. It makes sense because he starts off saying that he's also the creator. So you think about Eden. You think about the fall. So here's a picture in compact form of the creator whose intention was fellowship with man, but the fall happened.

And what is he doing now? He's come to reconcile, to buy back the ones that are fallen. I mean, this is the entire picture of Genesis to Revelation right here in these few verses almost. And this is his job.

It is. But he's the preeminent one. He's in charge of everything.

So the one in charge of everything came in order to reconcile back to himself the things that have fallen. Oh, so we'll spend some time on that. It's so encouraging. It's remarkably encouraging.

Wow. I mean, we're not going to have time to pick our way through the whole book. But the next thing that leaps off the page for me is around verse 27 and 28 of the end of chapter one when he begins to talk about this mystery that gives us hope. The mystery that God is unfolding.

It's in you the hope of glory. Yes. This one who he has described as the image of the invisible God. Yes.

And who's transferred you from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved son. This one takes up residence in you. Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. It's such a fascinating thing. I've told people in the past that says, you know, there's great mysteries in the Bible. What do you mean great mysteries? Well, mystery isn't like a murder mystery.

Right. It's a mystery. It's something that's not generally known that is uncovered. And he says, here's something that's not generally known, but now we're uncovering. And what is this mystery? And oh, by the way, it's not being revealed to the Jews. It's being revealed to the Gentiles. Go catch this.

And what is that mystery? Christ in you. Christ in you. Whoa.

Christ in you. Yeah. Well, and it's interesting because, and we'll get into this later when we study Colossians, but the Colossian church was under the influence of a kind of teaching that we call Gnosticism. And that covers a whole lot of bases. But part of that was these levels of mysteries that you had to kind of earn your way into. Hidden knowledge. Hidden knowledge that you had to kind of gain access to when Paul is saying, no, no, no. It's all in Christ. And the treasure of every, all wisdom and knowledge is in Christ. And Christ has taken up residence in you. Yeah.

And that is something that's operative tomorrow morning and not just at the end of the day. And not just at the end of the universe. Right. I mean, Christ in you. So many Christians I run into who don't really have any sense of the fact that what they do next has anything to do with Christ being in them. Well, because we have this sense, and it comes maybe out of the Jesus movement of the 1970s and 80s.

Yeah. You know, you've got to get Jesus into your life. Get Jesus into your heart. And so we kind of frame our salvation in those terms, getting God into us. But the New Testament actually, more than a thousand times, refers to Christ in you. Yeah. It's remarkable. That the real core of the gospel is, yes, you have been placed into Christ, but he has been placed into you. Yes.

And that has breath by breath impact. Yeah. Yeah. It's such a remarkable shift in understanding in the Bible.

I mean, this is why- It was a total shift in the way we think of ourselves. This is why it's New Covenant. Because if you were to ask a Jew at the time when the temple was there, you'd ask him, well, so can you tell me where God lives? And he'd point to the temple and say, well, he lives over there. That's his house. He lives over there. So when you come to something like this and someone says, can you tell us where Christ is?

You point to your heart and you say, he's in here. Because we have become the living temple. Right. And that's why Paul says we are his temple. That's the living place. And so here it is in the flesh.

I mean, it's just a remarkable newness. And the theology is so profound, and yet it has traction in our daily lives. And there was that fad for a while, you'd wear that wristband that would say, what would Jesus do? What would Jesus do? Well, I say, wait a second, he's in me. Let's say, what will he do right now? What will he do if I'm paying attention?

I'm not trying to imitate what he would have done 2,000 years ago. I can just say, well, Lord, take it. You're here.

What are you going to do now? And people kind of go, whoa, what do you mean by that? Well, he's in you. He's in you.

Well, okay. So if he's in you, Paul spends probably half the letter getting very practical about what life should look like for people in whom God dwells. And so he gives all this very practical instruction, be thankful, pray always, pay attention. Family relationships, master and servant relationships. This is the outworking of Christ in you, what it should look like on the outside of your life. And if your outside of your life doesn't look like this, maybe you haven't really surrendered that part of your life to the living Christ who's in you. Yeah, because look at the list of stuff he says now, lay these things down.

Anger, wrath, malice, slander, scene talk, right? Don't lie. Put off the old self.

You're being renewed after the image of your creator. Yeah. And he uses a language of putting off a coat and putting on a coat. It's a coat kind of take this off is what he says in three, take this off.

But then he doesn't leave you naked in 12, he says, but put this on. Clothe yourself with Christ. Yeah. And what you put on is Christ himself.

You're holy and beloved, compassionate. I mean, do these things. So yeah, it's imminently practical.

It's one of the greatest things about the letter of the Colossians is it's imminently practical on so many levels and yet it talks in soaring fashion about the big picture of Christ and where those intersect, Christ in you, the hope of glory. Yeah. Oh my goodness, we're out of time. Yeah.

Just about. Well, I'm looking forward to coming back to some of these passages. So we're going to take this in little teeny chunks. These are old friends and I look forward to coming back and reading them. Colossians, this is a great encouragement in terms of how to live life with the conscious understanding that Christ is in you. Well, so I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And we're glad you're with us. And we hope we've whet your appetite to come back and read the book of Colossians here on More Than Ink. There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website, And while you are there, take a moment to drop us a note. Remember the Bible is God's love letter to you.

Pick it up and read it for yourself and you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. Okay, I'll start. Okay, you want to start? Okay, here we go. This has been a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-12 02:25:18 / 2024-05-12 02:37:12 / 12

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