Summary: Christians in Colossae were losing sight of the supremacy of Christ as they listened to popular world opinion. Paul’s letter restores their confidence, and ours.
THE UNIQUENESS, SUPREMACY AND SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST Colossians 1:15-23
Have you ever considered how much an adventure is the Christian life? It could be likened in some ways to a good marriage. Whereas once we were on our own, after making covenant vows we begin a life together that becomes an adventure.
But our ‘partnership’ with Christ is in a different league. We are by no means equals with Christ. Nevertheless through Christ we have fellowship with God who leads us in the way.
That journey is not always like an exotic holiday. We often find ourselves on a mission – in training on the job – with the objectives of advancing God’s Kingdom, gaining territory for God and making disciples of Christ. And who knows where that may lead us?
The Apostle Paul refers in his letters to all manner of experiences including that of being imprisoned on account of his faith in Christ.
If you or I were imprisoned on account of our faith what would our letters from prison read like? What Paul writes is both surprising and revealing.
READING Colossians 1:15-23
Paul writes from his prison cell in Rome to a church in the town of Colossae (modern day Turkey) about the uniqueness, supremacy and sufficiency of Christ.
Far from being taken up with his confinement and circumstances, Paul’s focus is on Christ. It is Paul’s appreciation of who Jesus is that keeps him going,
and he is anxious that the Christians in Colossae appreciate just who Jesus is also.
How do we tackle the difficult situations of life?
When we appreciate just who Jesus is it helps
COLLOSAE - A ’small town’. A former centre of the woolen industry, now in industrial decline. (Motherwell)
Cosmopolitan = Jewish and Greek population.
A former trading centre.
The church was probably founded by Epaphrus who became a church planter after listening to the teaching of Paul in Ephesus.
A people who came under the influence of a variety of religious ideas.
Paul knew of the greatest danger to the welfare of the Christians in Colossae. It was the danger of their understanding of who Jesus is being corrupted by ideas and philosophies that were just not true.
The Christians in Colossae faced the twin dangers of being influenced by Eastern speculation and Jewish legalism.
e.g. They were being led to believe by others that evil lay in created matter and that only ‘spirit’ was good.
The outcome of this was that:
• Some would consider the body something to be treated harshly (like those who wore hair shirts or those who beat themselves.
• Others would consider that their spirit had been made pure by God and therefore they could do what they liked with their body (and be gluttons, drunkards and adulterers) without harming their spirit.
• Worse than this was the way their view of Jesus was affected. Since Jesus had a body he could be thought of as less than God – an inferior Jesus who had more of the status of an angel than the Son of God.
Our beliefs about who Jesus has a direct effect on how we go about living the Christian life.