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Summary: While Paul was in prison in Rome, Epaphras came too Paul as he needed Paul's help, he explained to Paul that some new doctrines were being taught in Colossi and were invading the church and creating problems.

#7~ Col.2:16-23~ CHRISTAINS ARE NOT BOUND BY LEGALIZISM~ 1-5-14

* Let's review just a little to do with of study.

In 61a.d. - a devastating earthquake hit the area, destroying Colossae, Laodicea, and Heiropolis, probably just after Paul wrote his letters to the Christians of that area. -- According to historians, all three cities were destroyed.

Laodicea, and Heiropolis were rebuilt, but Colossae never was. It is never referred to in Christian or secular documents after 61a.d.

It was named for Laodice, the wife of Antiochus II (261--247 b.c.), - when the city was destroyed by an earthquake in a.d. 61 (along with Colossae and Hierapolis), it alone refused aid from Rome for rebuilding (compare the self-sufficient attitude of the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:17)-- The site of Laodicea is now a deserted heap of ruins that the Turks call Eski Hisar, or "old castle." -- The city was finally abandoned because of earthquakes. -- The greatest ruins are not in Colosse or Laodicea but in Hierapolis. --

The location of Colossae is known, but to this day the site has never been excavated apparently because no one thinks it's worth the trouble. -- Nothing significant is known to have occurred there.

* To do with our study of Colossians, Paul had never visited the church at Colossae, which was founded by Epaphras. (1:4--8; 2:1).

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~ Paul wrote all four Prison Epistles, as their often referred to, during his first Roman imprisonment.

Colossians, and Ephesians, and Philippians, and Philemon.

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~ While Paul was in prison in Rome, Epaphras came too Paul as he needed Paul's help, he explained to Paul that some new doctrines were being taught in Colossi and were invading the church and creating problems.

~ So Paul wrote this letter to the Colossians in order to refute these heretical teachings and establish the truth of the Gospel.

~ We've already talked some about these problems.

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~ In the little epistle of Philemon we have the account about Onesimus.

~ When Onesimus fled from his master Philemon to Rome, he met the apostle Paul. --- Paul witnessed to him, and Onesimus became a Christian.

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~ In his letter to Philemon, Paul spoke of Onesimus as "my own heart" (Philem. 12), indicating that Onesimus had become like a son to him.

~ Paul convinced Onesimus to return to his master Philemon. ---- He also sent a letter with Onesimus, encouraging Philemon to treat Onesimus as a brother rather than a slave.

~ Paul implied that freeing Onesimus was Philemon's Christian duty, but he stopped short of commanding him to do so.

~ Onesimus accompanied Tychicus, who delivered the Epistle to the Colossians as well as the Epistle to Philemon.

~~ This is how the epistle of Philemon comes about.

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~ The person referred to as a "slave" or "bondsman" in the New Testament was legally bound to a certain master, almost always for a limited period of time, until he could obtain his freedom. --- Onesimus was for some reason in debt to Philemon, and was considered to belonging to Philemon until the debt was paid.

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~ The heresy that threatened the peace and purity of the Colossian church was a combination of Eastern philosophy and Jewish legalism, with elements of what Bible scholars call Gnosticism (NOS-ti-cism).

~ This term comes from the Greek word gnosis (KNOW-sis) which means "to know." (An agnostic is one who does not know.)

~ These Gnostics were the people who were supposedly, "in the know" when it came to the deep things of God. --- They were the "spiritual aristocrats" in the church. -- Or so they said.

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~And so, Paul's letter, "Colossians" was to refute the trouble makers in showing that Christ is preeminent, -- He is first and foremost in everything--and the Christian's life should reflect that priority, because believers are rooted in Him, alive with Him, hidden in Him, and complete in Him.

~ Paul also wanted this epistle to be read in the neighboring church at Laodicea. (4:16).

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~ Colossians is possible the most Christ-centered book in the Bible.

In it Paul stresses the preeminence of the person of Christ and the completeness of the salvation He provides

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~ Every book of the bible has a key verse or verses, in Colossians the key verses are,--

> Colossians 2:9-10 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Also;

> 3:1-2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

> 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

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~ There are no Old Testament references in this epistle.

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