Friday, June 6, 2014

The Book of Colossians: Jesus is enough

Colossians 1:26- 28 that isthe mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

Today's post aims to do an overview of Paul's letter to the Colossians. The proposed theme of this wonderful book of the Bible is: "Jesus is enough". As Paul wrote this letter under house arrest in Rome, there were many occasions presented to Paul to cause him to complain and be bitter. Yet Paul did not find his source of ultimate comfort and confidence in circumstances, or other people. Rather he found his fulfillment of faith and life in Jesus Christ. In the episode at the end of the book of Acts where Paul is under house arrest, we find this statement in Acts 28:30-31 "And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him,31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered."  That general overall thrust of Paul's preaching, while in the midst of trying circumstances, brought him to find his fulfillment and confidence in Jesus Christ.

The church at Colosse was situated East of the Seven churches of Asia Minor to whom John wrote the book of Revelation. A great link that summarizes Colossae's place in antiquity is found at:

Just type in the key word "Colosse" on the website and you will find all sorts of articles about the ancient city. 

What prompted Paul to write Colossians?

One of the reasons why the Holy Spirit prompted Paul to write this letter was to deal with a heresy that had arisen in that local church body. Among it's beliefs was a diminished view of Christ, an elevated view of angels, an emphasized view on keeping the law and a mystical view of seeking mystical knowledge in addition to Christ.

Besides having to deal with heresy, Paul was also urging this small congregation to find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. The city of Colosse in the ancient world was known for its cold refreshing water. Thus we can think of looking to Jesus Christ as a full glass of cold refreshing water that never runs dry in the midst of hot, parched and trying life.

Certainly Paul's own situations under house arrest in Rome drove him to see that nothing else and no one else could satisfy except Jesus Christ. Commentator Charles Quarles writes the following about Paul and his situation at the Roman prison:
"As Paul wrote to the Colossians from a Roman prison, he was absolutely captivated by the glory and majesty of Jesus Christ. He exalted Christ like never before. He exclaimed that Jesus is none other than God almighty in human form. He is the one who made every created thing and all that exists does so for His pleasure."1

When you try to find fulfillment in anything else but Christ, you will remain unfulfilled spiritually and emotionally
As Paul wrote the short letter of Colossians to the church of Colosse, he was under house arrest in Rome. (Acts 28:11-31) His letter was written to a church that was dealing with situations, threats and people who were trying to distract the church from their contentment and fulfillment in Jesus Christ. 

The people of this small church were living in an atmosphere where they were told that Christ is both inadequate and insufficient to meet their spiritual needs.  By tacking on ritualistic practice and pagan philosophies, only then - according to these teachers - could one attain some sense of fulfillment. (compare Colossians 2:21-23)

Point of Application: the Christian finds all they need and desire in Christ. 
Throughout this short letter such words as "fill", "fulfill" and "complete" appear, indicating Paul's main point: Jesus is enough.  Even where such words do not appear, the idea of the richness of Christ or His Word points to the chief point of Colossians: the Christian finds all they need and desire in Christ. 

Tracing the theme of "fulfillment in Jesus Christ" or "Jesus is enough" through Colossians
Below we will quickly jog through this short letter and show you how Paul communicates the idea of: "Jesus is enough".

1. Spiritual Maturity is fulfilled in Christ. 
Colossians 1:9 "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding"

2. Service to God is fulfilled in Christ. 
Colossians 1:24-25 "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. 25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God." 

Colossians 1:28 "We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ." 

Colossians 4:17 "Say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” 

3. Spiritual identity is fulfilled in Christ. 
Colossians 2:9-10 "in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority". 

Colossians 3:1-4 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 

Colossians 3:10-11 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.  

Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God".

4. Certainty of God's will derives from fulfillment in Christ
Colossians 1:1 "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother."

Colossians 1:27 "to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

Colossians 4:12 "Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God." 

Final thoughts
As you read through Colossians, note particularly Colossians 1:13-20, since it gives you a description of Christ Himself in all His fulness.  Remember the point of application for today: the Christian finds all they need and desire in Christ. When you realize just how sufficient He is, you can understand why Paul's little letter of Colossians is so powerful in communicating true fulfillment.


1. Charles Quarles in the Life Way January Bible Study 2014: Colossians - Christ is all you need. Life Way Publishers. 2014. Page 20

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